Buckeyes Prevail over No. 7/6 Michigan, 3-2
Nappier makes 32 saves for Ohio State
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Behind 32 saves from Tommy Nappier, the Ohio State men’s hockey team skated to a 3-2 win over No. 7/6 Michigan Friday in Value City Arena. The Buckeyes led 2-1 after the first period and 3-1 after the second, on goals from Gustaf Westlund, Jaedon Leslie and Patrick Guzzo, with Layton Ahac picking up two assists.
The Buckeyes (6-14-1, 6-13-0-0-1-0 B1G) and Wolverines (11-8-0, 9-8-0-1-0-0 B1G) will close the weekend and regular season series at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. The game will be streamed through BTN Plus and on Ohio State Radio.
Ohio State 3, Michigan 2 – The Short Story
Gustaf Westlund scored just 1:51 into the game for the Buckeyes. The Wolverines answered with a power play goal at 7:22 but Jaedon Leslie put Ohio State back ahead at 12:05. In the second, Patrick Guzzo extended the Buckeye advantage to 3-1 at 3:37. Ohio State carried the two-goal edge until 4:21 of the third when the Wolverines found the back of the net. Michigan outshot the Buckeyes 13-3 in the final stanza, skating with the net empty for the last 1:55, but Tommy Nappier had 12 stops in the period and the Buckeye defense held to preserve the win.
Quoting Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik
“We just keep buying in. We keep working hard. I like our practice habits, it just hasn’t translated. Tonight we obviously played a really good hockey team. We just stayed more consistent tonight than we have in a really long time and I think that’s a key for us.”
Ohio State vs. Michigan
In the First … Ohio State opened the scoring in the first two minutes. To start the play, Mark Cheremeta dumped the puck in; the Michigan goalie went behind his net to get it, but was unable to control and Gustaf Westlund was able to come around and score into the vacated net at 1:51. Cheremeta’s assist was his team-best 11th of the year. At 7:22 Michigan’s Kent Johnson scored on the power play for a 1-1 game. Buckeye sophomore Jaedon Leslie broke the tie at 12:05, scoring on a long-range shot. Layton Ahac and Grant Gabriele assisted on the tally, Leslie’s second of the year. Shots were 10-6 in favor of Michigan in the period.
In the Second … The only goal of the stanza came at 3:37, when Patrick Guzzo tipped a shot from Ryan Dickinson. The assist was Dickinson’s first point as a Buckeye. Ahac had the second assist for a two-point night and his second career two-assist game. Michigan had the edge in shots, 11-10, and each team had two power play chances in the middle period.
In the Third … Michigan made it a one-goal game at 4:21 when Matty Beniers tallied from in close. The Wolverines outshot the Buckeyes, 13-3, in the stanza and spent the final 1:55 with the net empty, but Ohio State closed out the win. The Buckeye penalty kill was 2-for-2 in the period, starting the third with 1:47 of power play time carrying over from the second.
Shots … The Buckeyes were outshot, 34-19. Tommy Nappier played all 60 minutes and had 32 stops. Ohio State blocked 20 shots in the game – Evan McIntyre, Tate Singleton and Ryan O’Connell each blocked three and Ahac, Austin Pooley, Gabriele and CJ Regula each were credited with two. In all, 10 Buckeyes had at least one block.
Special Teams … Ohio State was unable to score on two power play chances and Michigan was 1-for-4.