OXFORD, Ohio - Ohio State scored twice in the second period to break a scoreless contest and the No. 3 Miami hockey team could not recover, falling to its in-state rival, 3-0, Friday night at Steve Cady Arena in the penultimate game of the regular season.
The RedHawks dropped to 21-9-5 overall and 16-7-4-4 in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA), while the Buckeyes improved to 14-14-7 and 13-9-5-1 in league play.
Miami, which still sits in first place in the conference, needs just one point (tie/shootout loss) to clinch a share of the final CCHA regular-season title and two points to capture the championship outright. The 'Hawks are two points ahead of Western Michigan and three in front of Notre Dame, both of which won Friday night.
MU hosts Ohio State in its final CCHA regular season game ever on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. Six RedHawk seniors will be honored prior to Saturday's regular-season finale as part of Senior Night.
"You just got to go out and play. There's no secret to the game now," Miami head coach Enrico Blasi said.
The RedHawks have already clinched a first-round bye and home ice for the second round of the CCHA Tournament, which begins Friday, March 15.
The Buckeyes opened the scoring on the power play 1:14 into the middle frame. Devon Krogh ripped a shot from the blue line that deflected off the body of Chris Crane, who was standing in front of Miami freshman goaltender Ryan McKay. Alex Szczechura also tallied an assist on the play.
The RedHawks finished 2-for-3 on the penalty kill but went 0-for-4 on their own power plays. MU was whistled for three penalties for six minutes while OSU had five penalties for 18 minutes.
Ohio State struck again with 6:40 left in the second period as Tanner Fritz's blocked shot from the far circle ended up in the wheelhouse of Szczechura. The junior forward quickly knocked in the rebound from the near post after McKay stopped Szczechura's first try.
The RedHawks pulled McKay, who finished with 12 saves, after a timeout with 1:37 remaining in the contest for the extra attacker but Max McCormick sealed the victory for OSU soon after, as he scored on the open net with 1:19 remaining to cap the 3-0 contest.
The loss marked Miami's sixth shutout of the season and first since Feb. 8 at Western Michigan. It was also just Miami's second loss at home all season. The RedHawks are now 2-1-1 against the Buckeyes this season and 4-2-0 in their last six games overall.
MU outshot the Buckeyes, 29-16, and had countless opportunities to score, but were unable to beat OSU netminder Brady Hjelle, who earned his third shutout of the year with 29 saves.
"We just didn't execute. They did a good job of getting their sticks in lanes. We didn't make good plays, good decisions," Blasi said. "We didn't make any good decisions on the power play and when we did Hjelle was there."
Miami takes another shot at claiming the program's fourth CCHA regular-season title Saturday when the two rivals square off for the fifth time this year.