Who: #19 Michigan (12-7-0) at Ohio State (7-10-2)
Where: Value City Arena, FS Detroit+
When: Friday, January 16th. 7:05pm
About Ohio State
The Buckeyes are a tough team to gauge this season. They started with a brutal home schedule that featured Providence, Miami, Nebraska-Omaha and Bowling Green. Then the injury big hit.
Still, the Buckeyes are only 3 games away from .500 and at 27th in the RPI rankings, this team is better than their record indicates.
Ohio State is a transition team; they have quite a bit of skill at forward to open up the ice and push the pace but like last season, the Bucks are top heavy. Upperclassmen Tanner Fritz, Anthony Greco, Matt Johnson and sophomore Nick Schilkey form a lethal scoring punch, but secondary goal scoring has been hard to come by.
On the blueline Ohio State is led by standout Sam Jardine. The Buckeyes rank 47th in team defense allowing 3.21 GPG and have dealt with injury for most of the year, as Janik Moser is banged up, Blake Doerring has just returned and Drew Brevig is playing at forward.
Returning both goalies from last year, Matt Tomkins and Christian Frey have split starts with ok results. Tomkins has been solidly average and Frey has been much of the same save a few spectacular performances. Both goalies see a shot workload usually in the high 20's range; Frey had a 60 save game against Miami and a 53 save game against Penn State. The blueline doesn't always do them many favors, but both goalies have shown that they can put the team on their backs and steal games.
Everything about this feels like a trap game. Michigan is 8-0-1 in their last nine games against the Buckeyes and winners of ten of their last twelve games this season, but have only played 1 game away from Yost since November and boast just one win on the road this season.
The top line guys, Zach Hyman, Dylan Larkin and Andrew Copp continue to carry the offensive workload but to get a road win they'll need to tighten up the blueline. Last week Berenson talked about guys who are hungry getting into the lineup and if Racine isn't ready to go, it's Nagelvoort's chance to get back in net.