If you were Ohio State hockey’s coach and were given the option of outshooting your opponent by 19, having your goalie have a .957 save percentage and have the other team limited to one powerplay, you’d take it every day of the week. Coach Steve Rohlik took that option last night and Ohio State still lost 1-0 to Michigan.
Ohio State registered a total of 42 shots on goal to Michigan’s 23. Each team had only one powerplay and Ohio State hasn’t been shutout this year. So of course it happened now when the team sits perilously on the NCAA tournament at-large bid bubble.
One slip up isn’t going to cost them that bid, and the team will have an opportunity next weekend to further make their case as they host the Big Ten’s last place team, Michigan State, in Columbus.
But an overall season split with a team in Michigan that is 3-11-2-2 in conference play is not exactly going to give No. 12 Ohio State the best case for getting into the tournament. Furthermore, Ohio State is only 8-7-1-1 in conference play overall in one of the NCAA’s weaker power conferences. This ain’t Hockey East, folks.
The regular season ending series at Wisconsin will probably go a long way toward making or breaking Ohio State’s chances of getting into the tournament as it is fairly reasonably that only three Big Ten teams will be taken, with Minnesota and Penn State at the top. Wisconsin currently sits at 11-5 in conference play, so OSU has thier work cut out for them.
The lone goal in Saturday evening’s affair was Nick Pastujov’s first of the season for Michigan at 9:39 of the first. It came on a redirection, because of course it did. Zach Nagelvoort stopped all 11 Ohio State shots in the period, while Christian Frey stopped 10 out of 11. That’d be all that Michigan needed.
OSU outshot Michigan 11-5 and 20-7 in the second and third period, respectively, and still couldn’t find a way to get one in past Nagelvoort. Ohio State, which ranks first nationally on the powerplay at 29.8% after this game, had one opportunity in the second but couldn’t get one home.
Tanner Laczynski and Mason Jobst had six shots on goal each. Matthew Weis and Kevin Miller had five each. Nick Schilkey, Josh Healey, Janik Moser and David Gust all had three each. Only Dakota Joshua, John Wiitala and Luke Stork were held without a shot on net for Ohio State. And yet, the team couldn’t put one past Nagelvoort.
It’s the first time Ohio State was shutout at home since January 13, 2012 against...Michigan. Because, of course.
On the bright side, Ohio State dominated, and if they play like this every game, they can beat anybody in the conference on any given night. They started attacking and they kept attacking. They were unlucky for a night, but there’s a reason they haven’t been shutout yet this season before Saturday. Their offense is too good for this to happen again.
They’ll play their final regular season home series next weekend against Michigan State, before going to Madison to play Wisconsin the week after to close out the regular season.