Site: Columbus, Ohio (Value City Arena)
Score: #4 Ohio State 4, Michigan 2
Records: Ohio State (13-5-4, 6-3-3-2 B1G), U-M (8-9-6, 4-5-4-2 B1G)
Next U-M Event: Thursday, Jan. 24 — vs Penn State (Red Berenson Rink at Yost Ice Arena), 7:30 p.m.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The University of Michigan ice hockey team fell to the No. 4-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, 4-2, Saturday night (Jan. 12) at Value City Arena to split the weekend Big Ten series.
“First and foremost I thought we played hard this weekend,” said head coach Mel Pearson. “We competed hard and kept one of the best teams in the country to 23 shots last night and 22 shots tonight. We played well defensively this weekend and got good goaltending. It came down to a few simple breaks.”
Michigan tested the Buckeye goaltender several times early in the first period after killing off an early slashing call against junior forward Will Lockwood just 1:12 into the game. The Wolverines would go on a powerplay of their own halfway through the first period but couldn’t convert on several good looks.
Junior goaltender Hayden Lavigne was tested less than a minute into the second frame when OSU’s leading scorer and captain, Mason Jobst, was sprung on a short breakaway. Lavigne read the streaking Buckeye and extended across the crease to deny him with the blocker. Minutes later on the other end of the ice, the Maize & Blue applied pressure including several close chances and a diving wraparound attempt from junior forward Nick Pastujov that was kicked away by the Ohio State goalie.
With 12 minutes left in the period, it was the Buckeye captain once again testing the U-M goaltender with a close-range slapshot. Lavigne, the Brampton, Ontario native, came up big for the second time in as many tries with a shoulder save to deny the opportunity from in close. Shortly thereafter, the Wolverines would see two skaters sent off for successive hooking calls, giving the Buckeyes a 5-on-3 powerplay for almost a minute and a half. After several big stops by the Michigan goalie, the Buckeyes opened up the scoring with a one-time shot from below the dot that beat Lavigne’s surging glove 10:30 into the period. The OSU lead wouldn’t last long however, as U-M would soon tie the game at one apiece for the second night in a row.
As sophomore defenseman Quinn Hughes carried the puck into the OSU end minutes later, four Buckeyes convened on him. Calmly stickhandling through traffic toward the slot, Hughes dished the puck toward the dot where a gliding Lockwood was waiting to hammer home a one-timer. The junior made no mistake, picking the corner of a yawning cage for his eighth goal of the season to tie the game at one apiece with five minutes left in the second period.
The score would stay tied at one until freshman forward Jimmy Lambert picked up a rebound from his classmate, Garrett Van Wyhe, and beat the Buckeye goalie short-side with a wrist shot for his first collegiate goal with a bit over 11 minutes left in the period to put the Wolverines up 2-1. Just 28 seconds later, Ohio State tied the game at two when an OSU defenseman held the puck in at the blue line, walked into the slot, and ripped a shot top shelf to beat the sliding U-M netminder.
Minutes later with 6:57 left in the contest, the Buckeyes took a 3-2 lead with a wrist shot off a toe drag from the slot that snuck over Lavigne’s shoulder. Down a goal with two minutes left, U-M pulled the goalie for an extra attacker. The Maize & Blue had several grade-A chances as the Buckeyes sprawled around the crease to keep the puck out of the net, but couldn’t find an equalizer. With 24 seconds remaining, Ohio State found open ice to carry the puck into the U-M zone and flip the puck into an empty net to ice the game with a score of 4-2.
The Wolverines will have a bye-weekend before returning to conference action on Thursday, Jan. 24 when they host Penn State at Red Berenson Rink at Yost Ice Arena, with puck drop at 7:30 p.m. The two teams will then meet on Saturday, Jan. 26 in New York City at Madison Square Garden for the annual B1G Super Saturday. Game time from the Big Apple is 7 p.m.