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Men’s Hockey: Ohio State ties RPI 1-1 for the second straight game

Ohio State celebrates after junior forward Dakota Joshua’s goal in the second period of the Buckeyes’ 1-1 draw against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Oct. 13. Credit: Ohio State Athletics

Ohio State (1-1-2) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (0-0-2) fought to another 1-1 tie — the second in as many days — with the Buckeyes once again winning in the shootout after the tie had been decided.

RPI jumped on the Buckeyes early with a goal less than a minute into the game, but Ohio State tied the game up at one early in the second period. The battle between the pipes of the two goalies raged on the rest of the night as both teams failed to send a puck behind either netminder until the shootout.

The Buckeyes were forced to play comeback hockey early on, but Ohio State junior forward John Wiitala said the team stayed true to their normal game.

“I don’t think it changes anything,” Wiitala said.  “I think we always try to stick to our game plan, whether that’s up by five goals or down by five, it’s the same game plan throughout.”

The scoring started early for the Engineers with a goal by junior forward Evan Tironese just 56 seconds into the first period. Freshman forward Troy York fed a pass to the back post for an easy tip-in by Tironese that redshirt junior goalie Sean Romeo had no chance at stopping, giving RPI an early 1-0 lead.

The Buckeyes couldn’t find the back of the net in the first, then quickly knotted the score at one in the second period on a goal by senior forward Christian Lampasso. Wiitala tipped the puck away from the RPI defender, and senior forward Luke Stork found Lampasso wide open in the slot, giving Lampasso an opportunity to bury the shot past junior goalie Chase Perry.

“[Wiitala] just made a great play,” Stork said. “He back checked the puck really well and it just happened to come back on my stick, and I looked up and saw [Lampasso] wide open in the middle, and he put it away.”

Much like the previous night’s game, Romeo and Perry faced off in a goalie battle for much of this contest. The first big save came on the Ohio State end, as Romeo stuffed sophomore forward Jacob Hayhurst on a wide open shot in the slot.

Not to be outdone, Perry held strong on a tough Wiitala shot with an incredible save with six minutes to go in the third period.  Perry would end the game with 27 saves, Romeo had 22.

“[Romeo] got the game puck again tonight, head coach Steve Rohlik said. “At the end of the day you’re always as good as your goaltending, and certainly he was a backbone again tonight.”

The game headed into overtime deadlocked at one, with neither team able to create much momentum in the third period. Ohio State led in shots 27-20 going into the extra frame.

Stork created a strong chance early in the overtime, but Perry tracked the shot down with a kick save on his right pad. Junior forward Dakota Joshua had an opportunity off a pass from junior forward Brendon Kearney, but the shot went wide.

RPI’s greatest chance came on a breakaway by sophomore forward Patrick Polino, but his shot went wide with under a minute to go in the overtime.

The game went to a shootout where the Buckeyes won on a goal by sophomore forward Tanner Laczynski. Romeo made all three saves to secure another shootout victory. Shootouts are not counted in the standings for non-conference opponents in collegiate hockey, so the game went down as a 1-1 tie for both teams.

Ohio State continued to struggle on the power play, as their 0-for-3 tally in the game moves them to 0-for-20 on the season with a man advantage.

“It’s a work in progress right now,” Rohlik said. “We’re going to have to keep tweaking it before we find the right combinations.”

The Buckeyes travel to play a pair of road games against University of Massachusetts Amherst.  The games are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday and at 8 p.m Saturday.

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