No. 4 Ohio State hockey puts end to Robert Morris' streak
Colin South, left, celebrates his second goal of the first period Friday against Ohio State at Consol Engergy Center.
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Ohio State was bigger, stronger and faster.
After fending off a gritty Robert Morris attack for the first 30 minutes, it finally showed.
The fourth-ranked Buckeyes hockey team erased two early deficits in a 4-2 victory against Robert Morris in the sixth annual RMU Hockey Showcase Friday night at Consol Energy Center.
Sewickley native Colin South scored the Colonials' two goals -- both in the first period -- but the offense quickly went quiet.
Ohio State goaltender Cal Heeter made 33 saves, and the Buckeyes defense clamped down to limit Robert Morris. After the Colonials fired 18 first-period shots, they managed 17 over the next two periods.
Robert Morris goaltender Brooks Ostergard made 39 saves but was undone by a couple defensive letdowns and an untimely penalty.
Colonials coach Derek Schooley said he was pleased with his team's effort and thought the game was evenly contested.
"Unfortunately, we didn't get the bounce that we wanted or capitalize on the chances that we had," he said, adding his team will be successful if it puts forth that same effort in its remaining conference games.
The Buckeyes (14-4-1) feature five NHL draft picks, but the Colonials (9-7-2) had beaten them twice in previous seasons.
The loss ended Robert Morris' program-record eight-game unbeaten streak.
It was the Colonials' first loss in the event -- formerly the Pittsburgh College Hockey Showcase -- since 2008, when they lost to Ohio State at Mellon Arena.
The event Friday drew a Showcase record 4,927 fans and was the second-highest attended Robert Morris hockey game, outdone only by the Colonials' previous game at Consol Energy Center, which was part of the 2010 Winter Classic festivities one year ago.
"I think people are missing the boat on college hockey," Schooley said. "I think college hockey is a tremendous game. I think the speed, the physicality and the execution of college hockey is tremendous."
Ohio State took advantage of a 5-on-3 situation midway through the second period to grab its first lead when Devon Krogh ripped a slap shot than snuck past Ostergard.
The Colonials had sent two players to the penalty box in a 20-second span.
"When you give quality hockey teams and good hockey teams chances, they're going to bury them," Schooley said. "They're No. 4 in the nation for a reason."
Robert Morris had a few quality chances in the third period, most notably a breakaway by captain Trevor Lewis that ended with a pad save by Heeter.
"I didn't think that was our last chance," Lewis said. "I just thought that was probably one of the better ones we would get."
The Colonials and Buckeyes were tied, 2-2, at the first intermission.
South's first goal came on a Robert Morris power play. After a furious barrage, Colonials defenseman Tyson Wilson wristed a shot off Heeter's pads, settling near three players who had been battling for the puck in front of the net. South poked it into the net, giving Robert Morris a 1-0 lead.
His second goal was niftier. After a hard shot ricocheted off the back boards, South collected the rebound and wrapped it around the post -- behind Heeter.
Ohio State defenseman Curtis Gedig -- drafted by New Jersey in 2009 -- wristed the puck between Ostergard's right arm and the post, tying the score, 1-1, midway through the first period and less than three minutes after South's first one.
It took Ohio State less than 40 seconds to respond to South's second goal as Nick Oddo collected a rebound and tied the score, 2-2.
The Robert Morris women's hockey team lost to No. 8 Bemidji State, 3-2, in the opener of the three-game showcase. Bemidji State's Kimberly Lieder scored with less than nine minutes remaining in the third period to break a 2-2 tie.
Colonials freshman forward Rebecca Vint had a goal and an assist -- her eighth multipoint game in 16 career appearances. Vint's goal in the second period tied the score, 2-2.
Robert Morris sophomore defenseman Anneline Lauziere scored earlier in the second to put the Colonials (11-3-2) on the board. The Beavers (11-7-2) took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
In other showcase action, the Robert Morris club hockey team lost to Pitt's club hockey team, 9-2.
First Published December 31, 2011 12:00 am