Near the midway point of its 2009-10 campaign, the Ohio State men’s hockey team will host the team up north.
This weekend, the Buckeyes (4-5-1 CCHA, 6-9-1 overall) will host the Michigan Wolverines (3-5-0 CCHA, 7-7-0 overall) in a vital CCHA rivalry matchup. The contests aren’t only significant because of the schools’ historic rivalry, but because they provide an opportunity for both teams to move up in the CCHA standings as both squads move closer to the main stretch of the season.
Ohio State trails the all-time series with Michigan, 29-64-11, and has lost six of the past 10 meetings.
Michigan currently sits near the CCHA cellar in 11th place, while OSU checks in at the eighth spot.
The Buckeyes will be storming into this series riding one of their finest victories of the season after defeating No. 6 Bemidji State in overtime 2-1 on Nov. 28.
OSU also improved its record to 5-2-1 in Saturday’s contests. The Buckeyes will look to turn around their abysmal 1-7-0 record on Friday.
Coming off of a 29-12-0 overall record and a 20-8-0 CCHA record, in which it led the CCHA in overall team offense and was tied for the best team defense, Michigan was skating into this season with dreams of a CCHA championship.
It looked as if the Wolverines would follow the coaches and media poll predictions of being in the top spot in the CCHA as they started 4-2. But contests versus elite opponents such as Miami University and Michigan State humbled Michigan as it fell in five consecutive contests.
However, the Wolverines have turned the page, as the team has won its past three contests while outscoring its opponents 13-3.
Both schools’ coaches have left a significant mark on their school’s program. Red Berenson is in his 26th year as the coach of the Wolverines. He has also accounted for two of Michigan’s NCAA-record nine NCAA Division I championships.
John Markell is in his 14th season behind the Ohio State bench. He has led the Buckeyes to the NCAA tournament five times, the only appearances in program history.
Michigan will enter this weekend’s contests hosting a number of the CCHA’s best offensive players. Junior forward Carl Hagelin leads the Wolverines with 12 points and seven goals. Fellow junior forwards Matt Rust and Louie Caporusso have scored 11 and 10 goals apiece, respectively.
Junior goalie Bryan Hogan has started between the poles every contest for the Wolverines and hosts an impressive .903 save percentage and a goals allowed per game average of 2.30.
Zac Dalpe is the Buckeyes’ lead scorer. The junior has a team-high nine goals and 17 points.
Ohio State has two goaltenders who stand in the crease every other contest. Sophomore Cal Heeter currently holds a superior record to senior goaltender Dustin Carlson, at 5-2-1 compared to 1-7-0. But Carlson actually holds a better save percentage, .908 to Heeter’s .907.
This weekend’s matchup between the two schools will add another chapter to one of the most historic rivalries in collegiate sports. OSU will host Michigan at the Schottenstein Center Friday at 7:05 p.m. and Saturday at 8:05 p.m.