Two Plays of the Year Come from Columbus Athletes

Any week there are sports taking place, there are highlight reels to be found (so, pretty much always). Last week, however, had not just one epic play – but two. On Wednesday night, the Blue Jackets faced off against the Dallas Stars at Nationwide Arena in Columbus. The Jackets held the lead for most of the game, so there was never any sense of urgency, but hey, insurance goals never hurt, right?

With just under 11 minutes left in the third period, the Blue Jackets were positioning to clear the puck from their own zone. Rookie Jakob Lilja sent a pass to the boards where a patient Sonny Milano was waiting, nearly sandwiched between two Dallas defenders. The former Cleveland Monster didn’t hesitate and jettisoned his body and the puck forward, with both defenders enveloping him, but Milano wasn’t about to be stuffed. As he approached the slot and without much room to maneuver, Milano sent the puck backward between his legs along with his stick and took the shot.

The wobbly puck was airborne and went top shelf over goalie Ben Bishop’s right shoulder and everyone in attendance lost their minds in one collective release of adrenaline. Heck, I was watching from home and I lost my mind. I’ve seen the maneuver countless times in YouTube videos of forwards showing off. It’s impressive to say the least. However, that play is on a whole other plain when it’s at the NHL level and in a game that counts. Oh, and here’s the cherry on top…that was the game winner.

See for yourself…

Two days later, the Buckeyes faced off on a rare Friday night game against Big Ten adversary, Northwestern. Like the Blue Jackets game 48 hours earlier, the Buckeyes never played from behind. Not only that, they completely dominated a struggling Wildcats team. As the second half was winding down, OSU had the Northwestern offense pinned against its own end zone, ultimately forcing the black and purple to punt.

While scoring a safety wasn’t in the cards for the Buckeyes that night, the abysmal punt from Northwestern out of their end zone was. It instantly put Ohio State in excellent field position and they were already up 28-3 at the time. Unfortunately, the 1st and 10 withered away rather quickly and a penalty against OSU made it 3rd and 20. The next play was a pass Justin Fields completed for roughly 10 yards, not nearly enough to find their way to the end zone and far enough back to make a field goal attempt impossible, or would it?

With single digits left on the clock in the second quarter, head coach Ryan Day called out the field goal unit for what would be a 55-yard attempt. Buckeyes kicker Blake Haubeil waited for the snap, the set, and then, as if that ball was filled with pure evil incarnate, Haubeil kicked all the hell out of it sending it the blistering 55+ yards and splitting the uprights, making the score at halftime, 31-3. The Buckeyes, of course, went on to thwomp Northwestern, 52-3, yet somehow I remember that kick more than the final.

Well done, Mr. Haubeil. Well done.

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