The Ohio State Buckeyes went into Ann Arbor on April 13 and made sure that Michigan stayed in the cellar of the ECAC by beating the Wolverines 17-8. Ohio State held an 8-3 lead at the half, but pulled away in the third quarter, and never looked back. Michigan is now 0-12 (0-6 ECAC), while the #13 Buckeyes moved to 8-3 (3-2 ECAC). The win also gave Ohio State possession of the Creator's Trophy, which is awarded to the Big Ten school who has the best record against the other two.
The Michigan offense looked like it was ready to play when they scored two goals in the first 4:21 of the game. Thomas Paras scored first after an assist by Mike Hernandez, followed by a score by Kyle Jackson at 10:39 from about 10 yards out and on the away side of OSU goalie Scott Spencer. Ohio State then rattled off four consecutive scores; two each by Logan Schuss and Turner Evans. Evans intercepted a Michigan pass and ran in for the low-to-high score on a man-up opportunity. Schuss then added his third goal of the game with :54 to go in the first quarter. Michigan's Mike Hernandez shot low and away from Scott Spencer to bring the Wolverines to a very manageable 5-3 margin at the 10:02 mark of the second quarter.
Starting at 7:35 to go in the first half, Ohio State tallied seven consecutive goals led by Carter Brown's three goals and two more by Logan Schuss (who ended the game with 5 goals and 5 assists), along with Michael Italiano and Jesse King. Kyle Jackson stopped the OSU run with an 8 yard shot with his off hand, bringing the Wolverines to within eight points of the Buckeyes. Jesse King then scored a goal sandwiched in between Jackson's score and Thomas Paras' second of the game. Paras then ripped two more scores to no avail; the Buckeyes scored two more of their own to seal the game at 17-8.
Paras, the senior Midfielder, was the bright spot for the Wolverines by scoring four times and having one assist. Kyle Jackson threw in two more scores, two GBs, and two CTs. For Michigan, the problems were mostly on defense. However, their inability, or lack of interest, in attacking the crease also prevented them from staying in the game. I'm not sure if it was timidity or the Ohio State defense that made Michigan take most of their shots from outside the hash-marks, but this was one of a couple frustrating developments during the game. Shooting from the alley is great when it can be done effectively, but at some point attacking the crease needs to happen. If nothing else, then to at least let the other team know you're not afraid to get banged around and to keep their defense honest. Instead, the Michigan offense rarely attacked from the middle of the field, which allowed Ohio State to continue spreading them out, thus making their shots ineffective. On defense, the Wolverines were again spread out and were caught watching the ball. The other frustrating part of Michigan's game were the penalties. Pushing and slashing will happen, but one unsportsmanlike conduct and two unnecessary roughness penalties just won't keep the Wolverines in any game.
After watching this game, I had to keep reminding myself that Team Two is young. Of Saturday's starters, Rob Healy was the only senior; everyone else was either a freshman or sophomore. Given the fact that Michigan does have the ability to score in the second half (they've scored 11 more goals in the second half than in the first), the winning/losing by this team is just a matter of experience. An 0-12 record isn't good, but it isn't cause for doom and gloom, either. Remember they're young, remember they're young...
Michigan's next game will be a mid-week night game against the University of Detroit (2-8, 2-3 MAAC). Face off is expected to be at 7 p.m. at Michigan Stadium.