If Ohio State played as well as they did tonight every night, they’d be unquestioned Big Ten favorites. They dominated throughout and and took down an inferior team just as they should. They didn’t shy away and fall into a shell just because they had a lead.
And because of all that, the No. 12 Ohio State mens hockey team came away with a 4-2 victory over Michigan. The Wolverines led throughout most of the first, but a late first period goal from the Buckeyes turned the momentum heading into the dressing room, and Ohio State wouldn’t give it back.
Evan Allen was the one who put Michigan up 1-0 12:12 into the first, for what would turn out to be Michigan’s only lead of the night. Joseph Cecconi went off with an interference call with 1:40 left in the first, and the Buckeyes would find a way to capitalize with just one second left in the first.
David Gust scored on the ensuing powerplay at 19:59, with assists going to Dakota Joshua and Mason Jobst. All of a sudden, despite Michigan having the lead for the last eight-plus minutes, Ohio State took it to the dressing room tied at one apiece.
In the second, the Millers took over.
At 2:41, Kevin Miller scored with the sole assist going to Matt Miller, and Kevin would strike again at 9:50, with the assists going Dakota Joshua and Gust. Ohio State turned momentum in the first and bombed Michigan back to the Stone Age in the second.
Allen cut the lead to one with his second of the night at 15:06, but Nick Schilkey decided a one goal lead wasn’t enough, and put Ohio State up 4-2 with just seven seconds left in the period. His 24th of the year put the game out of reach for Michigan and gave the game the score it would go home with.
OSU completely dominated in that second period, scoring three times, having a Christian Lampasso goal waved off for goalie interference and outshooting UM 14-9, following outshooting Michigan 20-11 in the first. The second was bigger as the team was in front and in front by multiple goals for much of the period, yet still attacked in a way they haven’t often this year.
And the most encouraging part was that they didn’t fold in the third when Michigan got desperate. Both teams had four minutes of powerplay time in the period, yet OSU was only outshot by two shots against a team trying to make a comeback versus its biggest rival.
That is a marked improvement from how this team has been shown to play in the third. Their strength is offense and they played to that strength for once. Few teams in the NCAA can keep up with OSU’s firepower, giving them an advantage at higher event levels of hockey, a strategy they usually don’t employ.
But whether they wanted to or were forced into it for whatever reason, Ohio State found a way to keep attacking and still didn’t allow another goal to Michigan. The Buckeyes will look to sweep the Wolverines on Saturday at 5 p.m. in Columbus.