Everybody loves a good rivalry; NO. 9 ranked University of Michigan Wolverine’s ice hockey team (6-6-0, 4-6-0-1 Big Ten) went into their series against their rival, the Ohio State University Buckeyes (4-7-1, 4-6-0-0 Big Ten) Friday, January 15, 2021. They lead 84-47-14 all-time against Ohio; this began in 1964. Along with the winning record, Michigan also had the home-ice advantage heading into this series.
Friday, January 15, 2021
The Wolverines went into their second series back from the break, against the Buckeyes after a series against Michigan State University last weekend in which they went 1-1.
Things looked a little different for the Wolverines as freshmen netminder Erik Portillo was starting. Portillo’s first collegiate start, he finished the game with 19 saves for a Wolverine win of 4-2 against the Buckeyes.
Portillo was able to keep goals against the Wolverines down; that was not all that went into beating the Buckeyes. Nolan Moyle was able to get the rebound off a blocked dump in and capitalized on it at 6:47 of the second period, giving the Wolverines a 1-0 lead against the Buckeyes. Thomas Bordeleau had the lone assist on this one.
After two periods of play, the Wolverines led face-offs 20-9 and shots on goal, 21-14. They finished the 40 minutes of play, keeping the score in their favor, 1-0.
The Buckeyes Tate Singleton, on a power play, was next to light the lamp at 3:51 of the third period; the Wolverines only had 2 seconds left until they returned to full-strength. Dominic Vidoli and CJ Regula both got an assist on this goal.
At 10:51 of the third, Brendan Brisson (World Junior’s Gold Medalist) buried a pass from Bordeleau, bar down to give the Wolverines a 2-1 lead. Then, Eric Ciccolini scored at 13:13 of the third after Nick Blankenburg sent the puck to the front of the net; Johnny Beecher got a piece of it before Ciccolini got it in the back of the net. This goal brought the Wolverines’ lead to 3-1.
The Buckeyes pulled netminder Tommy Nappier after the Wolverines took a penalty with 3:24 remaining for a 6-on-4 advantage. This did not stop Moyle from getting his second goal of the game, burying the puck into an empty net with Matty Beniers picking up the assist.
The Buckeyes, not giving up even with a 3 goal deficit, scored with only 11 seconds left. Singleton netted his second goal assisted by Layton Ahac and Travis Treloar; he had both goals for the Buckeyes.
The game ended with a 4-2 win for the Wolverines.
Saturday, January 16, 2021
The Wolverines went back to their usual starting line-up for this game; Strauss Mann was back in net, recording his 3rd shutout for the season and 7th of his career in a 5-0 win against the Buckeyes. Strauss blocked 30 shots from the Buckeyes; none were good enough to get past the Michigan junior.
Johnny Beecher got the first goal of the game, at 2:23 of the first period; unassisted. Buckeye’s Jake Marooney took a boarding penalty at 7:30 of the first, making room for the Wolverine’s power-play unit, their first time of many on the ice this game. At 8:30 of the first, Owen Power fired one inside the blue line that put the Wolverines up 2-0; the assists from Nick Blankenburg and Matty Beniers.
CJ Regula got sent to the box for cross-checking at 7:19 of the second period. Michael Pastujov came in scoring his team-leading 6th goal of the season from a deflection in front of the net with just 33 seconds left in the Buckeye’s penalty. Cam York and Thomas Bordeleau got the assists on the Wolverine’s second power-play goal. Philippe Lapointe picked up his first career point as he had the primary assist, and Owen Power had the secondary on the Garrett Van Wyhe goal at 3:13 of the second. The Wolverines had a comfortable lead (4-0) as Keaton Pehrson took a shot from the point, with Kent Johnson tipping it in at 18:18 of the second.
As if this game was not full of enough penalties, each team went back and forth, taking them in the third. This period was scoreless through all 20 minutes, leaving the Wolverines with a 5-0 shutout, as they swept the series.
Michigan vs. Notre Dame Thursday, January 21, and Friday, January 22 at Compton Family Ice Arena in Southbend, Indiana.
Ohio State vs. Michigan State Saturday, January 23 and Sunday, January 24 at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing, Michigan.