TOLEDO, Ohio – The No. 12/14-ranked Ohio State men’s hockey team scored late to tie No. 14/12 Western Michigan, 2-2, Friday in the first round of the Ice Breaker Tournament in the Huntington Center.
After a five minute, 5×5 overtime period, the game was officially a tie for NCAA purposes. The game then went to a five minute 3×3 overtime period, but neither team was able to score and a sudden victory shootout was held. The shootout took five rounds, with Tommy Nappier making a save and Quinn Preston tallying in the final round to send the Buckeyes to the championship game.
Ohio State will play RIT at 5 p.m. Saturday for the Ice Breaker title. The Tigers beat host Bowling Green, 3-2 in overtime, Friday.
The Short Story – Ohio State 2, Western Michigan 2 OT (OSU shootout win)
Miguel Fidler scored for the Buckeyes just 2:11 into the game, with the Broncos tying the contest at 16:30 of the first. Tommy Nappier made 20 saves on 21 shots in the opening 20 minutes for a 1-1 game. Western Michigan had the only goal of the second to carry a 2-1 lead into intermission. In the third, Matt Miller scored on the power play for the Buckeyes with less than five minutes remaining to deadlock the score. Neither team was able to score the rest of the way – through the end of regulation, five minutes of 5×5 OT and five minutes of 3×3 OT. In the shootout, WMU scored in round four, with Carson Meyer responding for the Buckeyes. In round five, Nappier made a save and Quinn Preston sealed the shootout victory with a goal. Nappier ended the game with a career-high 44 saves. Miller led the Buckeyes with a two-point night.
Quoting Buckeye head coach Steve Rohlik
“As the game went on we got a little bit better and started to jell a little bit. We came through with a big power play goal in the third and then it was anybody’s game after that. It was certainly nice to get a win there in the shootout. It’s a new team, lots of different personalities – the first time playing against a big-time team like that. We have a lot of work to do but I liked some of the things I saw.”
Full Rohlik postgame interview
Quoting Buckeye redshirt senior defenseman Wyatt Ege
“It was a long, hard game and it was nice to finally have all the work we put in over the summer pay off. Napes had a huge game and everyone chipped in. It was a good team win.”
Ohio State 2, Western Michigan 2 OT (OSU shootout win)
In the First … Just 2:11 into the game Miguel Fidler put the Buckeyes on the board. He collected a Matt Miller shot that had gone off the back wall and the back of the net and was able to slide it home inside the post before the goalie could cover. Wyatt Ege also assisted on the goal. The Broncos tied the game at 16:30 on a Lawton Courtnall tally. Buckeye goalie Tommy Nappier had 20 saves in the period, as the Buckeyes were outshot 21-8.
In the Second … The Broncos scored the only goal of the middle period, with Brett Van Os tallying at 11:59. Shots were 11-10 in favor of WMU in the stanza.
In the Third … Western Michigan carried its one-goal advantage until less than five minutes remained in regulation, when Miller’s one-timer got through on the power play. Gustaf Westlund and Tanner Laczynski assisted on the tally. The Broncos again had the edge in shots, 12-10.
In 5×5 OT … The first overtime saw four penalties (two minors/one major/one game misconduct) and power play chances for each team, but no goals. A Buckeye major penalty eight seconds into the OT gave the Broncos the first advantage, but WMU took a tripping penalty in the Ohio State zone at 2:15 for 4×4 and then a slash at 3:19 to give the Buckeyes a 4×3 advantage. WMU put two shots on net, Ohio State one, in the sudden victory stanza. The game was officially a tie for NCAA purposes after the five minutes.
In 3×3 OT … The teams went to a five minute 3×3 overtime (which started with a player in the box for each team) to determine a winner to advance to the tournament championship. WMU had five shots on goal, Ohio State two, but the goalies were up to the task.
In the Shootout … The sudden victory shootout ended up going to five rounds. Neither team scored through the first three before WMU tallied to open round four and Carson Meyer answered for the Buckeyes to extend the shootout. Nappier had a save to open the round and Quinn Preston converted his shot for the Buckeye shootout win.
Shots … Ohio State was outshot, 46-29, in the game. Nappier had a career-high 44 saves (49 if 3×3 OT is included, plus three in the shootout) in 64:30. Western Michigan’s Brandon Bussi had 27 stops in all 65. The Buckeyes blocked 11 shots, led by Gordi Myer with three and Matt Miller and Grant Gabriele with two each.
Special Teams … The Buckeyes were 1-for-6 on the power play, with the penalty kill 5-for-5 and limiting the Broncos to seven shots.
Buckeye This and That … Redshirt freshman Kamil Sadlocha and freshmen Layton Ahac, James Marooney, CJ Regula and Tate Singleton all saw their first game action in the Scarlet and Gray … Ohio State and Western Michigan, former CCHA foes, met for the first time since November 2014 … Ohio State is looking for its first in-season tournament title since the 2016 Florida College Classic and is looking to win the Ice Breaker for the first time in four total appearances … Ohio State is now 30-23-4 all-time in season openers, with a 4-2-1 ledger under Rohlik.