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Three Rivers Classic: Pennsylvania win battle over Ohio

by Bill Davidge / Columbus Blue Jackets

Photo Courtesy:  Miami University Athletics

  Blue Jackets TV analyst Bill Davidge is one of the most plugged-in sources for information on college hockey, and he breaks down the action from Ohio's CCHA teams in this blog.

Miami Trips Up Buckeyes AGAIN

Freshman goaltender Jay Williams stopped all 29 shots he faced and the No. 5 Miami hockey team scored a third-period goal to overcome a slow start as the RedHawks topped Ohio State, 1-0, Friday night at CONSOL Energy Arena in the inaugural Three Rivers Classic. With the win Miami improved to 2-0-1 this year against the Buckeyes facing OSU for the third straight time.

“This is nothing new to us. We see Jay, and I'll throw Ryan McKay in as well. We see these two guys go at each other every day in practice. This is nothing surprising to us," Miami head coach Enrico Blasi said.

"Now you still have to play the games. Jay's done an unbelievable job. Ryan got hurt earlier in the season; Jay had to carry the mail. He's the reason why we're at where we're at now. He continues to work hard."

"I thought Ohio State played great. I thought the first 40 minutes they were the better team in fact. If it wasn't for Jay, they might have been up one or two and maybe we were out of the game," Blasi said. "We seemed to find our legs in the third period. McKenzie scored the big goal right off the bat. I think that gave us a lot of energy and then we started to play our game, which was nice to see."

Miami also moved on to Saturday night's championship game of the Three Rivers Classic against host Robert Morris.

Championship: Robert Morris Slips past Miami in 1-0 Trophy Game

With Sean Kuraly and Riley Barber representing the USA at the WJC in Russia, the RedHawks still sent a season-high 51 shots on target while limiting the Colonials to just 21. Barber, who leads the NCAA Freshman in scoring, certainly could have been a difference maker against pesky Robert Morris. Eric Levine, who finished with 99 saves on the weekend after a 48-save shutout against Penn State Friday, replicated the effort en route to tournament MVP honors. RedHawk senior captain and defenseman Steven Spinell and freshman defenseman Matthew Caito each joined Levine on the Three Rivers Classic All-Tournament Team.

"You have to take your hat off to their goaltender, he played great tonight," Miami head coach Blasi said. "In tight games like that, hopefully we'll be in a lot down the stretch; you just have to match that. We broke down for one second and they were able to score a goal and that can't happen when you're playing against a hot goaltender."

Consolation: OSU Falls Short to Upstart Penn State

For the second consecutive game without the services of Head Coach Mark Osiecki (WJC Team USA Assistant Coach), the Buckeyes fell one goal short of trying to win the third place game against Penn State. Despite a hat trick from sophomore Ryan Dzingel, the Ohio State men's hockey team fell to Penn State 5-4. Ohio State outshot Penn State, 40-37, in the contest. Olson had 32 saves for the Buckeyes and Matthew Skoff had 36 saves for Penn State.

Dzingel leads the Buckeyes with a career-best nine goals and 17 points. The five goals scored by Penn State were the most allowed by the Buckeyes since the season opening 6-3 loss at Minnesota Duluth. The Buckeyes matched its season best with four goals, scoring more than two goals for the sixth time this year. It will be an uphill road for the Buckeyes in the second half of the 2012-13 season, but after the struggles last year, Osiecki and his staff realize the needs for success with his squad.

And oh yes: Bowling Green Slaps a Zero on Niagara at Home

The Bowling Green State Falcons shut out No. 17 Niagara Saturday night, defeating the Purple Eagles, 3-0, at the BGSU Ice Arena. Juniors Bryce Williamson, Cam Wojtala and sophomore Dajon Mingo scored for the Falcons, while senior netminder Andrew Hammond turned away all 38 of Niagara’s shots in the contest. Bowling Green dominated the special teams in the game, going 2-for-5 with the man advantage while holding Niagara scoreless on two power-play chances.

Coach Chris Bergeron was extremely pleased with his special teams and he feels the extra work and emphasis the past month finally paid dividends in the single game matchup. It will be the hope that the Falcons can continue with their solid team play after the New Year, the final year of the CCHA.

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