Win with defense; then win with offense.
That seemed to be the Ohio State men’s hockey team’s motto for its weekend series against Miami.
The wins didn’t come easily as the Buckeyes won 1-0 Friday night behind goalie Cal Heeter’s 40-save shutout performance, and 5-2 Saturday with an aggressive five-goal third period.
The sweep brings the Buckeyes’ winning streak to six games and puts them undefeated against in-state rivals for the season.
“We had a slow start, but I think we are starting to turn it around,” said senior forward Sergio Somma. “It was special for us to get back at these guys.”
OSU coach Mark Osiecki said the wins were a step in the right direction for the team.
“It’s another step for us,” he said. “Tomorrow they got to start turning the page, getting ready for next week.”
On Saturday things weren’t looking good after the first two periods for the Buckeyes (12-8-1, 7-6-1-1), but five goals in the third period put the game out of reach for the RedHawks (11-8-3, 8-6-2-1).
OSU is no stranger to putting together high-scoring periods. Saturday night was the second time the team put away five goals in one period; the first was against Army on Jan. 2.
In Saturday’s game, OSU started on the attack early with 11 shots on goal in the first period, but came away with nothing to show for it. Miami was able to strike first with a goal less than five minutes into the game.
The RedHawks added a controversial goal that appeared to go through the net and had to be reviewed to extend their lead 2-0 in the second period.
“That’s what the replay is there for,” Osiecki said. “Hats off to the system. That’s how it should be.”
The third period is when the Buckeye offense decided to show up and tie the game in the first 5:34.
The Buckeyes added another goal less than five minutes later, sophomore defenseman Brandon Martell’s first of the season.
Senior forward John Albert “put it right on the platter,” Martell said. “It found its way in there; I’ll take it.”
Two late empty-net goals rounded out the scoring for OSU.
In Friday’s game, a lone goal in the second period from Somma and 40 saves from Heeter were all the Buckeyes needed to squeak out the victory.
The Buckeyes will look to extend their winning streak through practice.
“The last couple weekends here on this winning streak, I think our practices have been pretty good,” Albert said.
OSU won’t be back in game action until Jan. 14 and Jan. 15 when it travels to Kalamazoo, Mich., to take on Western Michigan. Both games are scheduled to start at 7:35 p.m.