It’s been a rough year for the Ohio State/TTUN rivalry, as a lot of Buckeye sports have taken the L — football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and men’s ice hockey just to name a few. However, the hockey Bucks are hopeful to change that when they host the No. 14 Wolverines this weekend in a two-game series.
This year, the men are 9-13-4, and 1-13-2 in conference play. Not good! This is a big switch up from last year, when they finished the season 21-16-3, and 10-9-1 in conference play. The struggle is somewhat expected, as the team did lose two of their star defenders to the AHL and NHL, and goaltender Jakub Dobes, the 2022 Big Ten Goalie of the Year, to the NHL.
Losing those players, combined with 15 new faces and a difficult schedule, has not fared well for the Buckeyes. One of their biggest problems has been the amount of goals they give up. Only five teams in the NCAA have given up more goals than Ohio State, largely due to the fact that they have a whole new defensive core and goalies.
Now riding a five-game losing streak, they have to square off against the No. 14 Wolverines. Seven teams in the Big Ten play NCAA men’s ice hockey, and Ohio State is dead last, while TTUN is fifth, with a 12-9-3 overall record and 5-7-2 record in conference play.
TTUN has been pretty mediocre all season, but are recently playing some of their best hockey. On Jan. 26, they took down No. 3 Wisconsin, then lost to them in overtime the following day.
One of the major things to watch in the Wolverines’ matchup with the Buckeyes will be the penalty kill versus the power play. TTUN ranks first in the Big Ten in power-play percentage at 36.6%. Meanwhile, Ohio State’s penalty kill has given up seven goals in its last seven games.
So, will this be the weekend the Buckeyes finally snap their losing streak? Anything is possible against TTUN, and it helps that the scarlet and gray will have home ice advantage. Hopefully this will be the turning point of the season for them.
The series begins on Friday night, with puck drop scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET with the game being broadcast on Big Ten Plus. Game two will be at 8:00 p.m. ET on Saturday night, and can be watched on Big Ten Network.