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Ohio State men’s ice hockey splits series with Miami Redhawks

The nine-game winning streak is over, but the No. 4-ranked Ohio State men’s hockey team rebounded from its first loss in more than a month with an overtime victory against Miami Saturday night.

OSU fell to the RedHawks, 5-3, Friday night in Columbus, in the first game of a home-and-home series. The loss ended the Buckeyes nine-game winning streak and 11-game unbeaten streak. The Buckeyes rebounded from the loss Saturday by beating Miami, 3-2, in overtime in Oxford, Ohio, to clinch a series split.

After 60 minutes of even play, OSU and Miami went into overtime tied, 2-2, Saturday. Freshman forward Chad Niddery scored 2:38 into the extra period, giving the Buckeyes the win. Miami was called for a high-sticking penalty 37 seconds into overtime, and Niddery scored on a rebound one second after the RedHawks penalty ended.

Both teams scored goals in the second and third periods after a scoreless opening 20 minutes.

Freshman forward Tanner Fritz answered Miami’s first goal with a tally at 12:56 in the second. Senior forward Danny Dries tied the game with 9:28 remaining in the final period after Miami took the lead on a five-minute major power play at 8:21 in the third.

OSU junior goalie Brady Hjelle had 27 saves in the win, giving senior Cal Heeter a rest in between the pipes.

Friday night’s 5-3 loss was first defeat for the Buckeyes since being shutout, 3-0, at Michigan State on Oct. 20.

Buckeye head coach Mark Osiecki attributed part of OSU’s poor play Friday to it being the end of finals week.

“We felt it going into the week,” he said. “We were begging and searching … our preparation was tough and we tried to battle through it but it really showed tonight.”

OSU never had the lead Friday and was outshot, 38-30.

Miami dealt the opening punch, scoring 3:47 into the first period. OSU responded with a goal by freshman forward Darik Angeli 19 seconds later. The teams went into the first intermission tied, 1-1.

The RedHawks outscored OSU, 2-1, in the second period and led, 3-2, after forty minutes, with the Buckeyes lone goal coming from freshman forward Nick Oddo at 17:53.

Miami would score first again in the third period with a goal at 2:43. Sophomore forward Chris Crane answered for OSU scoring with 10:44 remaining in the final period, cutting the Redhawks lead to 4-3, but the Buckeyes didn’t get any closer. Miami scored at 14:20, and held on to win, 5-3.

OSU senior goalie Cal Heeter had 33 saves in 58 minutes of action.

Senior forward Cory Schneider said OSU was never able to take control of the game Friday.

“I think we felt like we were in it score-wise, but we never got an edge,” he said.

Schneider added that what was OSU was missing on Friday wasn’t something they could not work on.

“It’s things we can control as far as our work ethic we can improve on moving forward,” he said.

The Buckeyes are now 13-4-1 overall and remain in first place in the CCHA with a 10-3-1-1 conference record.

Miami is 9-9-2 on the year, 5-7-2-1 in the CCHA and in ninth place.

OSU returns to action on Dec. 30 against Robert Morris at 7:35 p.m. in Pittsburgh.

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