Generally, when you’re playing the team with the third worst even strength shot attempts for percentage in the entire nation, you shouldn’t be outshot by them. You most certainly should not be outshot by them 33-15 over the first two periods alone. Even if they have Michigan written on their chests.
No. 11 Ohio State hockey lost to 8-12-2 Michigan by a score of 5-4 on Friday night at Ann Arbor. In any other year, that probably wouldn’t be too much of a big deal, but Michigan is just not good by any measure this season. They came in with just one Big Ten victory and are one of the worst teams in the nation in advanced stats.
Ohio State hasn’t exactly been a peach (and are looking more pumpkin-y every game), but they’ve been markedly better than Michigan this year. But Michigan played like this was any other year and took Ohio State to the woodshed, going up 5-1 heading into the third. OSU finally woke up in the third, but by then it was too late.
The Buckeyes came in second worst in the Big Ten in shot attempt percentage for at even strength, and rank halcyon traditional powers like Army and UConn at 46.8%. That’s downright horrible. Penn State ranks at 62.2% for, for comparison’s sake.
Luckily, Michigan came in with a mind numbingly awful 42.4% for at even strength, standing over only the true titans of college hockey, Arizona State and Alaska-Anchorage. So you’d think even possession-starved Ohio State, with Nick Schilkey back in the lineup, could dominate this team. Wrong.
Ohio State was absolutely outclassed for the first two periods. Michigan outshot them by 18 shots over those first two periods and went into the second intermission up four goals. Evan Allen and Adam Winborg put up goals for Michigan in the first, while Cooper Marody had a hat trick in the second period alone. The last two goals came on the powerplay. Cooper Marody now has three goals on the season.
Tanner Laczynski scored between the first and second Marody goals, on the powerplay, for his eighth of the season. Matts Miller and Joyaux had the assists.
It was about as bad a beating as you can get from an inferior team. Michigan’s a traditional hockey power and Ohio State’s not, but one has been ranked around the top 10 all season and the other is playing about equivalent to Arizona State. This shouldn’t have been a contest, much less a beating.
OSU finally woke up in the third, as Michigan wasn’t attacking at the same effective level. Matt Tomkins took over for Christian Frey, who was pulled after the second, and shut out the Wolverines in the third, at least giving Ohio State a chance for a comeback.
They outshot Michigan 14-5 in the third and finally took it to the Wolverines. Schilkey scored just six seconds into the third, on the powerplay, from Mason Jobst. It was Nick’s 18th of the year. Miguel Fidler scored just eleven seconds after that and suddenly it was 5-3. Jobst and Schilkey had the assists on Miguel’s third of the season.
Just over eight and a half minutes later, Dakota Joshua scored his fifth of the year, on the powerplay, from Gordi Myer and Schilkey, at 8:58. Now it was a 5-4 game.
But that was as close as the Buckeyes would get.
UM goalie Hayden Lavigne decided the game was getting too complicated and shut the door on the Buckeyes for the rest of the period. Joshua’s tripping and game misconduct penalties at 19:17 closed the door effectively on Ohio State, and the Wolverines held on for the 5-4 victory.
If there’s any lesson to be taken from this game it’s that you have to attack and play high event hockey when you’re playing an inferior team. Michigan hasn’t shown they can generate scoring chances this season and it’s up to Ohio State, the ostensibly better team, to take it to them and attack. They didn’t and got their doors blown off until they did.
OSU will get another chance to take down UM on Saturday as the two teams face off once again, at 7:30 in Ann Arbor. At least the beginning can’t possibly be as bad!