Editors Note: We sent Michael Wells, a local photographer in the Kentucky area to cover this past weekends Midwest Conference Tournament hosted by Ohio State. Mike returned with a boat load of info and some great photos. have at it.
GAME 1: Cincinnati vs Miami Ohio
The Bearcats of Cincinnati game into the 2019 Midwestern Invitational Tournament undefeated and in the DI NCLL Top 10. They quickly started to handle Miami by jumping out to a 4-0 lead. Miami was able to get on the board before the half, but would not score again for over twenty-five minutes of play. The Bearcats were simply too fast for the RedHawks to handle. The passing of the Bearcats, the communication, the defense, all was on point, as Cincinnati handed Miami a 9-2 lose to open up the tournament.
GAME 2: Louisville vs Ohio
Louisville started the day with #14 Summers on the sidelines. Summers suffered an ankle injury in warm-ups and the trainer decided that Summers would not be able to play the remainder of the day. This was a huge momentum shift for the Cards, as they entered the field of play very slow and not very excited.
Ohio took advantage of this lack of momentum and adrenaline and opened the game with a demanding 6-0 lead. #9 Brooks was winning faceoffs for the Cards, but the Ohio defense was too fast for Louisville. Not to mention the great stops being made by the Bobcats goalie.
#5 Porter would put the Cards on the board to make the score 6-1, but the Cards would not score again until the final minute of play. The Bobcats would add another two goals in the second half to make the final 8-2 in favor of the Bobcats. While the Cards started to get physical late in the game and start to come together as one, it was simply too late after letting the Bobcats get out to a 6-0 lead early.
GAME 3: Ohio State1 vs Kent State
Ohio State and Kent State battled for over 9:00 before a goal was scored. Solid performances by both goalies were the key to keeping the scoreboard clear. Finally, Kent State found the net and broke the silence, but Ohio State quickly answered back to tie the game at 1-1. In the second half, The Buckeyes came out and scored a goal right away to put them up 2-1. Both teams fought hard against solid defenses. No penalties gave neither team any advantage at any point throughout the game. In the final 5:00 minutes, Kent State tied the game at 2-2.
The Golden Flashes would then find the Buckeye defense napping on their next possession and regain the lead at 3-2. #31 would quickly answer for the Buckeyes and tie the game at 3-3. With :40 remaining, both teams found themselves with the ball and at least one shot on goal, but neither was able to score. The game was sent into overtime, where Ohio State’s #31 (again) found the net within the first minute, claiming victory for Ohio State 4-3.
GAME 4: Kentucky vs Ohio State2
After falling to cross-state rival, Louisville the previous week, and dropping to #22 in the NCLL DII rankings, Kentucky came in focused and prepared to make a statement. Not only were they already motivated, but the Wildcats were able to score first, completely shifting the momentum to their side. Any doubts that they had about not being fast enough or not being able to handle Ohio State were simply erased as the scoreboard read 1-0 in their favor.
Ohio State would answer in the coming minutes to tie the game 1-1. Before the half, the Buckeyes would score again to take the 2-1 lead. Kentucky was slowly losing the momentum as the Buckeyes had scored two unanswered goals on them. The defenses would step up in the second half, as both goalies were able to stop a number of great shots. However, the Wildcats were able to sneak one by the Buckeyes goalie to tie the game at 2-2. Tied at 2-2 with under 4:00 to play, the Wildcats would score again to go ahead by the score of 3-2. Great Wildcats defense by the poles, and wide shots by Buckeye players giving their last efforts to score were key to the Wildcats just getting by with the 3-2 win.
GAME 5: Miami vs Louisville
No other game of the day was bigger for the Louisville Cardinals or the Miami RedHawks. With both teams atop their conference, the winner of this game would not only be playing for a conference championship but would most likely be given home-field advantage for that game.
Miami came out hot! The RedHawks scored on their first possession of the game to take the 1-0 lead. The Cards were able to regroup and refocus quickly. Unlike earlier in the day where they simply fell apart, #5 Porter on offense and #35 Long in at goalie, were able to keep both sides of the field focused and hungry to score.
Louisville would tie the game 1-1 late in the first half, and the Cards would continue to apply good offensive pressure, but they were just not able to get one past the RedHawks defense. Three offensive possessions later, #5 Porter was able to give the Cards the 2-1 lead, but it would not last long. Miami would make the score 2-2 headed into the half
Miami would come out strong in the second half, just like they did in the first, but they were unable to score this time. They would turn the ball over, and Louisville would score to take the 3-2 lead. Then, shortly after that, the ref would make a call that Louisville goalie, #35 Long would argue for three minutes. Long made an amazing safe in goal with his left foot touching the red line. The ref had a clear view and called Long past the line and awarded the RedHawks the goal, bringing the score to 3-3.
With three minutes to play, #10 would find the net for Louisville to put the Cards up 4-3. The RedHawks would take a timeout. Whatever plan they came up with during the timeout must have just been pure magical, because Miami was able to win the face-off and take the ball into Louisville territory, work the clock, and score with just seconds remaining to send the game to overtime at 4-4.
The tension was high, as the winner would play again next weekend and the loser would have to face the reality that their season ends today. Just moments into overtime, #44 Buchbinder of Louisville would find #5 Porter in front of the net, and Porter would seal the victory with a quick juke off the Miami goal and a soft touch, placing the ball in the goal.
GAME 6: Cincinnati vs Ohio
Ohio came out strong! The Bobcats caught the Bearcats off guard with their speed and great passing. The Bobcats found the goal first, but the referee called the goal off, saying that the Ohio player was in the crease. However, that didn’t stop the Bobcats, as their defense was on point again some great Bearcat shots, and they were able to make some small adjustments and score on the next possession to take the 1-0 lead.
From that point, Ohio simply lost control of the game. The Bobcats gave up three straight goals to the Bearcats. The Bobcats goalie made some amazing saves to keep the Bobcats alive, but the Ohio offense was unable to produce any goals with bad passing and wide shots. Struggling to stay in the game, the Bobcats trailed the Bearcats 4-2 at the half. It didn’t look that bad on the scoreboard, but Ohio was struggling.
Ohio scored to open up the second half, and only trailing by one goal, the Bobcats were given hope; but that hope was short lived as the Bearcats were able to score four straight goals on the Bobcats in the second half, and the Cincinnati goalie became a brick wall, not allowing any more Ohio goals. The Bearcats continued their undefeated streak and claimed victory at 7-3.
More to come in Part 2.
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