COLUMBUS, Ohio – A five-goal third period led the Ohio State men’s hockey team to a 5-2 victory over No. 7/8 Miami Saturday in Value City Arena. The victory gives the Buckeyes, now 12-8-1 on the year and 7-6-1-1 in CCHA play, a sweep of the RedHawks (11-8-3, 8-6-2-1 CCHA) and extends Ohio State’s winning streak to six.
Ohio State gave up a power-play goal in both the first and second periods to trail 2-0 after 40 minutes. Sergio Somma put Ohio State on the board at 2:21 of the third, and Brandon Martell tied the game just over three minutes later with his first career tally. At 9:55, John Albert gave Ohio State the lead for the first time in the game. Albert and Danny Dries scored empty net goals at 18:49 and 19:27 for the 5-2 victory.
With the win, Ohio State clinched the Ohio Cup, the traveling trophy sponsored by Buckeye Sports Bulletin given to the team with the best record against its instate opponents. The Buckeyes swept Bowling Green and Miami this season.
Albert had three points in the game to lead the Buckeyes, with Chris Reed and Shane Sims each chipping in two assists. Dries and Somma each had a goal and an assist for two points. Goalie Cal Heeter had 23 saves, including 13 in the second period.
The only goal of the first period came at 15:11 when Alden Hirschfeld’s shot went over the Buckeye goalie. The Buckeyes outshot the RedHawks in the period, 11-5, including 8-0 to start the game.
In the second, the RedHawks made the score 2-0 on a goal from Andy Miele. His shot appeared to hit the post, but the referees reviewed the play and video showed the puck went through the net for a power-play tally at 2:48. Heeter had 13 saves in the period, as Ohio State was outshot, 14-9.
Ohio State rallied for the win after trailing to begin the third period for the fourth time this season. At 2:21 of the third, Sergio Somma scored his team-best 13th goal of the season. Danny Dries found Somma at the far post, where he was able to convert, with Chris Reed picking up the second assist. At 5:24 Martell netted his first career goal to tie the game, converting a 2-on-1 with Albert. Chris Reed started the play and had the second assist. Albert scored a goal of his own at 9:55 to give Ohio State the lead, skating into the RedHawk zone down the left side and beating the Miami goalie high. Somma and Sims assisted on the goal. With time winding down, the RedHawks pulled goalie Connor Knapp for the extra attacker. Albert blocked a RedHawk shot at the Buckeye blueline and skated in alone on the empty net, sliding the puck in for his second goal of the night. Miami again pulled Knapp and Dries was able to convert after plays by Peter Boyd and Sims in the Buckeye zone. Shots were 14-6 in favor of Ohio State in the stanza.
The Buckeyes outshot the RedHawks, 34-25, in the game. Heeter played all 60 minutes and had 23 saves. Knapp played 58:57 and allowed three goals, making 29 saves.
The Buckeyes were 1-for-3 on the power play in the game, with Miami 2-for-4.
Mark Osiecki, Ohio State head coach
Thoughts on the first two periods
“As good as we played in the first period, we were just as bad in the second, so we said more than normal after the second in the locker room. We played well in the first but didn’t get the goal. Give credit to Miami. They turned the heat up and we didn’t handle it.”
On getting the sweep of Miami
“It’s another step – that’s really what we’ve been talking about. We told them to remember the feeling in the third and how it felt. But tomorrow we’ve got to start turning the page and get ready for next week.”
On the impact seniors and captains can have on a game
“The seniors and captains have to play within the team system. They have to be on the score sheet in a positive way. [John] Albert blocking the shot in a key moment is an example. I can’t stress it enough.”
Sergio Somma, Ohio State senior forward
On first-year coach Mark Osiecki
“Any time there’s a coaching change there’s going to be a new feel. We started off slow but we’re turning it around. We’re getting a feel for each other and starting to play well.”
Brandon Martell, Ohio State sophomore defenseman
On his goal
“It was four on four so there was a lot of open ice. We worked on that a lot in practice. I tried to put it upstairs and it went in. I guess it just worked out the way it did.”
John Albert, Ohio State senior forward
On what Coach Osiecki said during the second intermission
“He came in and told us to look in the mirror. He said the second period wasn’t good at all. He really gave it to us good which worked out well because it got us on the same page for the third period.”
Enrico Blasi, Miami head coach
On Miami’s third period performance
“We gave up a power play goal and away they [Ohio State] went. They clearly outplayed us in the third and made the most of their chances.”
On Ohio State
“They really took it to us in both the first and third periods. We made a lot of mistakes and a good team like Ohio State will make you pay for those mistakes.”
On the loss
“This is always a big game for us, so of course it stings a bit. We just need to refocus and regroup for next weekend.”
Ohio State last won the Ohio Cup in 2009. It is the Buckeyes’ seventh trophy in the 30 years of the award. Ohio State swept Bowling Green on the road (4-3 OT, 4-2) Dec. 10-11. The RedHawks and Falcons will meet next weekend to wrap up Cup play.
With three points, Albert took the team scoring lead with 23 points. He is on a six-game scoring streak with 4-5-9 totals in the stretch. It was his second two-goal game of the year and the third of his career.
Dries has six multiple-point games this season, with three in the last four games and four in the last six contests. He is third on the team with 21 points, ranking second with 12 goals.
Somma is second nationally with eight power-play goals and leads the Buckeyes with 13 goals, ranking second with 22 points.
Since Dec. 3 Ohio State has not allowed more than three goals in a game and has held opponents to two or less in eight contests.
Sims had his fourth two-assist game of the season. He is first on the squad with 15 assists and second among CCHA defensemen with 16 points.
The sweep was the Buckeyes’ third this season, along with two wins at the Catamount Cup.
Heeter dropped his goals-against average to 2.30 (from 2.43) and raised his save percentage to .919 (from .913) following the series.
Martell’s goal came in his 16th career game.
The Buckeyes will hit the road next weekend for two games at Western Michigan. The teams will meet at 7:35 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Kalamazoo.