Friday, T 2-2, (SO, L)
As if last week's issues with Penn State weren't enough of a problem, the Wolverines had to play Friday's game against Ohio State without captain Mac Bennett, who suffered an upper-body injury against the Lions. Although the injury wasn't season ending, Bennett isn't expected back until possibly the Minnesota series. Michigan sorely missed his defensive expertise.
With Zach Nagelvoort back in the net, it was just 4:26 into the first period before Ohio State's Nick Schilkey got his 10th goal of the season after receiving the backhand assist by Chad Niddery. Going into Friday, the Buckeyes were 9-2-1 when scoring first. Would they be able to get win number ten? Yes, yes they would. Pffffff!
With Michigan's sloppy puck handling, it seemed pretty clear that OSU would be able to hold off the Wolverines, but they were able to tie the game with just 27 seconds on the clock after Alex Guptill got a bouncing puck through the Ohio State defender's legs.
The first half of the second period was quiet until Ohio State went up 2-1 on the power play and off the stick of Alex Szczechura and a bounce of the pad of Nagelvoort. The rest of the period would remain scoreless, but Michigan would strike back at the 14:44 mark of the 3rd period to tie the game at 2-all and give the team a little life.
As the clock ran down to zero, the mortal enemies remained locked at 2 going into an overtime session, where Ohio State brought a record of 0-1-3 on the season and winless in their last 16 OTs. Michigan brought a 3-1-3 record into the extra session, but OT would end with no one deciding the outcome.
The shootout was dull and pointless because Michigan couldn't score, so I'm taking my puck and I'm going home.
Saturday, W 4-3
Living in Madison means that I do not get Fox Sports Detroit, so I had to resort to listening to the game on the internet; a broadcast that suffered numerous technical difficulties throughout the day, which really affected my ability to enjoy the game.
Alex Kile got things started for Michigan, putting the Wolverines up 1-0 at 2:26 on an assist by Michael Downing. Luke Moffat followed up with a score of his own at 7:03 in the 1st on yet another assist by Downing, who stayed at two assists for the remainder of the game.
Both of Michigan's 1st period goals came off of power play opportunities, while Ohio State went 0 for their two chances. For the game, Michigan was a great 3/4 on PP chances, and the Buckeyes went 1/5. The lone Ohio State extra-man goal came at 17:42 in the second frame off the stick of Darik Angeli for his 9th score of the season.
Prior to Angeli's score, teammate David Gust brought the margin to 2-1 at 3:03 in the second, but Michigan's Derek DeBlois responded three minutes later with his fifth goal of the year to give the Wolverines another two-goal cushion until the aforementioned Angeli goal left the score at 3-2 Michigan going into the second intermission.
The Ohio State extra-man opportunity came off of a questionable Michael Downing penalty. Downing seemed to be the target of the officials on Sunday, as the radio crew and Twitter brought up just how it seemed that a statement was being made...
Michael Downing is having the type of day where he could try to hug his mother and the officials would still call a penalty.— Greg Garno (@G_Garno) March 2, 2014
Michael Downing is the new Jacob Trouba. Any hit becomes a penalty.— Children of Yost (@ChildrenOfYost) March 2, 2014
Kevin Clare assisted on the Phil DiGiuseppe game winning goal at 10:30 in the third period to give Michigan the 4-3 victory.
Steve Racine was the starter again, and saved 34 shots (as did Matt Tomkins); 14 of those in the 3rd period alone. With the win, Racine now moves to 6-3-1 on the year and should remain the starter for the rest of the season.
Michigan now has a home-and-home series with Michigan State on March 7 and 8 before taking on Minnesota at Yost leading into the B1G Tournament.