Going into a weekend series vs. No. 11 Ohio State, the Michigan hockey team was 3-0-1 in 2020 with plenty of momentum on their side.
The weekend series at Yost Ice Arena provided mixed results for the Wolverines, but was still another step in the right direction overall.
The series vs. OSU was fueled by a recent article that didn’t include Michigan as one of the top nine student sections in college hockey. Michigan’s student section (The Children of Yost) showed up in full force for Friday’s game and made their presence known.
The Michigan team needed their fans behind them, as Friday’s game was a nail-biter. Goals by Michigan’s Cam York and Michael Pastujov put Michigan up 2-1 heading into the 3rd Period, but the Buckeyes were able to tie the game at 2-2 on a power play. With just 3:43 remaining, captain Will Lockwood gave Michigan the lead off an assist by Jake Slaker. Michigan would win Friday’s game 3-2.
After the game, Lockwood noted how the home crowd and student section inspired the team. “They bring it 110 percent every night,” Lockwoods said. “Guys were talking in the locker room that this is the best they’ve seen Yost, and we feed off that energy. It’s something the guys will remember forever, the Children of Yost coming every night.”
“In all fairness to the writer, I don’t know if he’s ever been to Yost Ice Arena. But if you saw that tonight and you can’t get ready to play in this game, whether you are on the opposition or the home team, then you shouldn’t play the game,” Michigan coach Mel Pearson said. “We all know who the best college hockey crowd is, student section in college hockey, we know that. Just come to Yost Ice Arena and you’ll experience it.”
Game two on Saturday featured the same type of energetic crowd, but it didn’t feature the same results on the ice for the Wolverines. Ohio State was able to get off to a 2-0 lead in the 1st Period, and then scored two goals in the 3rd, winning the game 4-1 despite Michigan outshooting OSU 36-to-21.
After the series split, Michigan is ranked No. 29 in the Pairwise Rankings and sit at 11-12-3 on the season. The Wolverines are 6-8-2 in Big Ten play, which ranks 6th in the conference. While Michigan started out slow this season, the team believes they’re going to finish strong.
“I think we’ve really turned the corner as a team in the second half. We’ve learned to finish out games,” Lockwood said. “I think our defense has been pretty great all year, and Strauss is has been great in net. That’s something we talked about from day one. We knew we were going to get bounces, and we’re fortunate they’re starting to go in. I don’t think it’s too late. We’re going to make a run.”
Next up for Michigan is a home series against Wisconsin this weekend.