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Men’s hockey drops 2 to Miami in Steve Rohlik’s opening series as coach

In its first series with Steve Rohlik at the helm, the Ohio State men’s ice hockey team fell to Miami (Ohio) twice over the weekend.

The Buckeyes traveled to Oxford, Ohio, Saturday for their first road game of the season and the second of the two-game home-and-home series with the No. 2-ranked Redhawks, falling 6-3.

The Redhawks took an early lead in the first period off two goals from sophomore forward Riley Barber. The first came just 14 seconds into the game, and the second was scored at 4:27. OSU senior forward Alex Szczechura narrowed the gap with a goal of his own at 18:03 to cut the lead in half.

In the second period, Miami sophomore forward Sean Kuraly opened up the gap with a goal at 13:34, but Szczechura pulled the Buckeyes within one with his second goal of the game. At 18:34, Barber scored his third goal to complete the hat trick, giving the Redhawks a 4-2 lead after the second.

The third period saw two more Redhawk goals, one from junior forward Austin Czarnik and another from Barber. Sophomore forward Tyler Lundey scored the final goal of the game at 17:31 for the Buckeyes.

The first of the two-game series was played in Columbus Friday, and the Buckeyes fell to the Redhawks (2-0-0), 6-2.

Miami scored its first two goals when it held a 5-on-3 advantage — one from Czarnik at 7:47 and another from junior forward Alex Wideman at 8:51 — thanks to two Buckeyes being in the penalty box. Those two scores gave the Redhawks a 2-0 lead after the first period.

OSU senior defenseman Curtis Gedig said playing shorthanded because of the penalties had a big impact on the outcome of the game.

“With all the penalties, we didn’t give ourselves a great opportunity to win the hockey game, so that’s about what we’ve got to take away from it,” Gedig said.

The scored stayed the same through the end of the second period, but OSU tied the game by scoring twice in the first three minutes of the third.

Junior forward Darik Angeli took advantage of Miami goalie, sophomore Jay Williams, being out of position, putting OSU on the board 20 seconds into the period. The second goal came from the stick of junior forward Chad Niddery, who scored at 2:53 with help from sophomore defenseman Craig Dalrymple and senior forward Travis Statchuk. Miami soon broke the tie with a goal from junior forward Cody Murphy at 3:22 to regain the lead, 3-2, and three more Redhawk goals secured a 6-2 victory.

The Buckeyes were outshot in the game, 38-28. Sophomore goalkeeper Collin Olson recorded 32 saves for OSU.

Angeli said the team wasn’t playing like itself, which contributed to the team’s loss.

“We were just playing simple,” Angeli said. “At first, we were just kind of running around, and then we kind of settled down, got the jitters out of us and just started playing our hockey.”

In his first game as a collegiate head coach, Rohlik still saw some positives aside from the loss.

“I’ve said this before ­— it is very humbling and an honor to walk out here and lead this program,” Rohlik said Friday. “I know what we have and I know the character we have. When the game is over, the first person I look at is myself. I’ve got to continue to get better, and the one thing we’ve talked about is we’re going to win this thing together. It’s just one step at a time.”

Rohlik took over in April for Mark Osiecki, who was let go after three seasons as coach.

The Buckeyes are slated to return to action Tuesday in a non-conference matchup at Bowling Green State University. The puck is set to drop at 7:07 p.m.

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