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Ohio State takes on Michigan on the ice in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals

The Buckeyes head to Ann Arbor looking to secure a spot in the Big Ten Tournament title game.

Faceoff on the Lake - Michigan v Ohio State Photo by Jaime Crawford/Getty Images

After edging Penn State in the best-of-three quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament last weekend, Ohio State heads north for the single-elimination semifinals tonight against Michigan. The Buckeyes will be trying to make it to the Big Ten Tournament final for the third time in school history. Ohio State and Michigan State are the only teams in the conference that have yet to win the Big Ten Tournament.

Ohio State was pushed to the limit last weekend by Penn State. The Buckeyes cruised to a 5-1 win on Friday, scoring the first four goals of the game. Stephen Halliday scored a goal and dished out three assists. Davis Burnside, Tyler Duke, Cam Thiesing, and Cole McWard added goals in the blowout.

Things tightened up on Saturday, with no goals being scored until the 16:03 mark of the third period when Penn State’s Ryan Kirwan broke the scoreless tie. With an extra attacker on the ice, Joe Dunlap scored two minutes later, and the game would go into overtime. Kevin Wall made a game three necessary when he scored the game-winning goal halfway into the first overtime period.

After ending Saturday night’s game, Wall opened the scoring in the second period of the elimination game. The goal must have woken the Buckeyes up, as six minutes later Cole McWard tied the game, and three minutes after Scooter Brickey netted his third goal of the season for Ohio State. Tate Singleton’s empty net goal with less than two minutes left sealed the series for Steve Rohlik’s team.


Now Ohio State heads to Ann Arbor to play Michigan for the third time in the history of the Big Ten Tournament. The Buckeyes won the 2018 semifinal in Columbus, while Michigan took a neutral-site elimination quarterfinal in 2021. Overall in the rivalry, the Wolverines hold a 92-51-15 advantage in the series, with a 47-20-8 record in Ann Arbor.

The teams played four games in the regular season, with the Buckeyes winning two of those contests in regulation and one in a shootout. The first two games took place in Ann Arbor, with Ohio State winning the first game 7-2 before Michigan regrouped to win the second game 4-2. In mid-February the Wolverines came down to Columbus and took the Buckeyes to a shootout, but Ohio State would wind up winning.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

The most notable game of the regular season matchups between the teams came a couple days later, when they played an outdoor game on the shores of Lake Erie at FirstEnergy Stadium. After a scoreless first period, Ohio State scored three goals in the second period, and held a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes of play. Michigan would inch closer with a goal from Eric Ciccolini in the third, but the Buckeyes responded a minute later when Stephen Halliday scored a power play goal.

Halliday is Ohio State’s leading scorer on the season, recording 39 points, with 30 of those points being assists. With his strong play throughout the season, Halliday was named to the Tim Taylor Award watch list, with the honor being given annually to the nation’s freshman of the year. Along with Halliday leading the team in points and assists, another freshman leads Ohio State in goals, as Davis Burnside has buried 14 biscuits this season.

While youth is running wild on offense for Ohio State, a veteran is doing a great job at keeping opponents off the scoreboard. Jakub Dobes has been named a finalist for Big Ten Goaltender of the Year for a second straight season, as well as a semifinalist for the Mike Richter Award, which is given annually to the best Division I goaltender. Dobes has been on the ice in goal for nearly 2,200 minutes this season.

Oddly enough, Ohio State might be even more dangerous when they are shorthanded. Of the 149 times the Buckeyes have been shorthanded this year, they have killed off 133 of those penalties, with the 89.3 kill rate being the best mark in the country. Ohio State doesn’t just kill penalties off, they are a threat to score when their opponents on the power play, as they have scored 10 shorthanded goals this season.

The Buckeyes have a tough task on their hands tonight when they try and slow down Adam Fantilli, who is projected to be the second pick in this year’s NHL Draft after Connor Bedard. Fantilli has 25 goals and 31 assists this season, with his 56 points being a team-high, 16 more than Luke Hughes has. Ohio State doesn’t have a skater with more than 14 goals this year, while Fantilli is one of three Wolverines with at least 15 tallies.

Date: Saturday, March 11
Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
TV: Big Ten Network