Michigan took back-to-back thrillers from Ohio State in a Friday/Monday home and home series to keep their momentum rolling.
Friday Night: Michigan 4, OSU 3 (OT) Zach Nagelvoort got the win Friday when Mac Bennett passed an absolute seed through the neutral zone onto Andrew Copp's stick who broke in and buried it for the W.
- Another one goal lead given up late, only to reclaim momentum and win it late.
- All credit to Andrew Copp for burying it. But the feed from Bennett was absolutely great. Long live the one-man breakout wearing 37. Bennett waits for the OSU forecheck to clear, then splits the 2 D men, right onto Copp's stick from a good 10 feet behind his own blue line.
- It was a nice bit of redemption for Copp, who failed to convert in alone late in the Third on a similar chance.
- Nagelvoort was solid, but gave up a soft one to his glove side early. He stopped 32 of 35 shots, which is over that 90% mark that goalies are fairly or unfairly measured at. That's a good solid game from the Freshman, who has been surprising and outstanding so far in relief.
- JT Compher is going to be a freshman all-american. He does everything right with a little sandpaper, as they say. His first of two goals this weekend came from being the first guy going to a loose puck in front of the net. That's the place to be. He also made the play to get the puck back to Guptill for his snipe, winning a faceoff clean right into Guptill's strike zone.
- Guptill was a horse this weekend. Other than those forwards above, he and PDG stood out to me. The shot he snapped off to take the lead with 17 seconds to go in the second was what he's best at. That goal was huge for 'M'.
- Brendan Morrisson was in the house accepting a Hobey Baker Ring. You just have to love that 'stache.
Full BTN Highlights:
Monday Night: Michigan 5, OSU 4. Michigan coughed up a 4-1 lead in under 4 minutes of game time in the 3rd period. Only to, once again, win it late. Mac Bennett crept in from the blue line on a solid rush and tapped in a beauty of a back-door feed from Mike Chiasson. Steve Racine got the start and the win. Although he gave up 4 goals, he made all the stops he should have made.
- Racine was pretty good. Boy does he give up some juicy rebounds, though. Good enough to get the W. All 3 of the goals OSU scored in their flurry aren't on him, but I had the feeling any one of those stops and OSU folds up shop. He made the game saver at 4-4 with 2 minutes to go when an OSU forward busted in alone on the backhand after walking through the Michigan Defense. Great left pad save.
- Bennett. GWG, best player Michigan has on a team with a lot of very good players. He's the team MVP right now and given the forward and goalie (!!!!) depth, the most indispensable Wolverine.
- Mike Downing on the other hand had the most up and down game of any wolverine. He scored a bomb from the left point to put Michigan up 4-1, but he gets the lion's share of the blame for the game tying goal. On a 4 on 3 penalty kill, he slid to take away a pass and removed himself from the play, leaving a forward alone 1 on 2 buckeyes. 4-4. Then, with Michigan up 5-4, he tried to flip the puck clear from his own red line. Whups. He fans, OSU has a glorious chance to send it to OT, but squanders. The slapper he put high glove for the goal though...that was a rocket. Freshmen gonna freshmen.
- Compher had 2 goals that were not emblematic of how much skill he has. Both were a nice combo of skill and grit. For his first, he fought for position in front of net and flipped home a rebound on his backhand on a really sharp angle to put Michigan up 2-1. On the second, he got position in front of net, and fought the puck with his skates to the open end before sliding it home. He had to be strong on his skates for both. When high skill players are high motor players, it's the BEST.
BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
- OSU was on a nice little streak going 8-1 over their last 9 games prior to the series with Michigan. However, they were starting a 3rd string walk-on baseball player goalie. So, while playing well, this was not their best team.
- All caveats aside, it is a good skating team that is heavy on upperclassmen, specifically their Junior class. It was an even series outside of a few spurts here and there. Add to that this is a rivalry, albeit not a very good one as Michigan pretty much owns them. You'll recall from last spring Michigan starting its late season charge with a sweep against OSU. Michigan should feel good, if not a little fortunate, to be 2-0-0 in B1G conference play so far.
- Next up (other than last night's exhibition loss to the USNDTP) is a single game against Ferris St. on December 11th, then the GLI. It's been an excellent start to the year so far.