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Men’s hockey: Ohio State splits series at Michigan

OSU junior forward Matthew Weis (16) tries to corral the puck during a face-off in a game against Michigan on Jan. 15, 2016. Credit: Kevin Stankiewicz | For The Lantern

After an offensive struggle last weekend against Wisconsin, the No. 11 Ohio State men’s hockey team (13-7-6, 4-5-1-1) split a weekend series on the road with the rivaled Michigan Wolverines (9-13-2, 2-7-1-1).

Game One:

OSU crawled back from a four-goal deficit in the third period to cut the Michigan lead to one, but could not overcome an early 3-0 hole to fall in Friday night’s opener, 5-4.

Freshman forward Tanner Laczynski, senior forward and captain Nick Schilkey and sophomore forwards Miguel Fidler and Dakota Joshua all netted a goal in the loss. Schilkey also added an assist for OSU, as well as two helpers from sophomore forward Mason Jobst, who extended his point streak to 11 games.

The Wolverines opened the game with goals from senior forward Evan Allen, freshman forward Adam Winborg and sophomore forward Cooper Marody to give Michigan a 3-0 lead with 13:13 left in the second. Despite Laczynski’s goal to cut the deficit to two, Marody added two more in the period for his hattrick, and a comfortable 5-1 lead for coach Red Berenson’s squad.

The Scarlet and Gray would make things interesting, however, as Schilkey and Fidler each scored just 17 seconds into the final period, and Joshua cut the Michigan lead to one with more than 11 minutes remaining. In spite of the comeback, the Wolverines early lead would prove to be too much, as the Buckeyes dropped Game One of the series.

Game Two

Coming into the weekend, the Scarlet and Gray entered the matchup with Michigan as the second ranked team in the nation for power play goals — and Saturday night, coach Steve Rohlik’s team showed just why that is.

A goal a piece from Joshua and sophomore forward John Wiitala, and two goals from Jobst and Schilkey propelled the Buckeyes to a 6-5 win over the Wolverines in the second game of the weekend series.

Schilkey opened Game Two with his 19th goal of the season on the power play, and second in two games to give the Scarlet and Gray the 1-0 lead just five minutes into the game, but soon was answered by Michigan’s Marody to bring the score level. Jobst notched the assist on Schilkey’s goal, his 24th of the season and 12th consecutive game with a point.

Joshua would add his second goal of the weekend in the period, but junior defender Sam Piazza tied the game at two just five minutes later. Wolverines’ freshman forward Jake Slaker tallied a goal with just over a minute remaining in the first to give Michigan their first lead of the game, and cap off an exciting first 20 minutes.

Just under seven minutes into the second period, it was Michigan again.

Freshman forward James Sanchez netted his fourth goal of the year to extend the lead to 4-2. The Scarlet and Gray came within one with 9:20 left in the period after Jobst redirected a shot from freshman defenseman Gordi Myer past Wolverines’ goalie Hayden Lavigne for the second power play goal of the night.

However, OSU would again go down a goal five minutes later when senior forward Max Shuart scored to make it 5-3.

With just under two minutes remaining, Wiitala found the back of the net from close range to cut the Wolverine lead to one heading into the final period. Laczynski and junior defender Matt Weis tallied assist on the goal.

Eight minutes into the third, it was the power play offense again.

Just as a five-on-three ended, Schilkey centered a pass to Jobst, and the sophomore pushed the puck past Lavigne to tie the game at five with his second point of the night, and fourth of the series.

As time ran down in the final 20 minutes from Yost Ice Arena, both sides looked for the game-winning goal  — and with under 60 seconds remaining, it was the Buckeyes’ captain to the rescue.

Schilkey slapped a rocket from the center of the attacking zone into the top right corner to give the Scarlet and Gray the 6-5 victory, and three points in the Big Ten standings.

OSU returns home next weekend for a possible top-10 matchup, as the No. 7 Minnesota Golden Gophers come to Columbus for two Big Ten clashes. Puck drop from the Schottenstein Center both Friday and Saturday night is set for 8 p.m.

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