Coming into Friday’s game against Michigan, Ohio State men’s hockey coach Mark Osiecki said his players would be focused on the night’s contest and not looking ahead to Sunday’s “Frozen Diamond Faceoff” in Cleveland.
The Buckeyes might have played focused, but it didn’t result in a win, as No. 15 Michigan defeated No. 2 OSU, 4-0, on Friday night in Columbus in the first of a two-game set.
The Wolverines were led by senior goalie Shawn Hunwick, who had 46 saves, and their defense, which killed four Buckeye power plays.
“(Hunwick) played very well. He really did, and the guys in front of him played very well,” Osiecki said.
The game got off to an electric start, with both teams having good scoring chances.
After a frenzy of shots in the game’s opening minutes, it was Michigan who found the back of the net first.
Junior Wolverine defenseman Lee Moffie ripped one past OSU senior goalie Cal Heeter from the slot, scoring at the 10:23 mark in the first period. Moffie found the puck after Heeter kicked it out to the slot following a save, and Heeter couldn’t recover in time.
Michigan scored again before the opening stanza was over. Junior Wolverine center A.J Treais tallied a goal from the left circle with 1:23 remaining in the first.
The Buckeyes had their chances, outshooting the Wolverines 19-15 during the game’s first twenty minutes, but strong play by Hunwick left OSU trailing 2-0 after one period.
Osiecki said while his team was frustrated by not taking advantage of their scoring chances, they continued to fight.
“It’s inevitable when things don’t go in, with the opportunities that we had, you’re going to try some different things, and get too cute at times,” he said. “I thought for the most part our guys stayed with it.”
OSU’s defense kept them in the game in the second period. The Buckeyes killed two Wolverine power plays, and held Michigan scoreless in the middle stanza.
Hunwick continued to frustrate the Buckeye offense during that time.
OSU outshot the Wolverines 14-12 in the second, but none got by the senior goalie, and Michigan led 2-0 heading into the final period.
The third stanza was more of the same.
The Buckeyes had multiple scoring opportunities and got off 13 shots in the final period. Hunwick, however, remained to be a stone wall in front of the Wolverine’s net, and OSU was shut out for just the second time this season.
Michigan tallied their third and fourth goals on an open Buckeye net after Heeter was pulled to give OSU an advantage on offense.
Wolverine forward’s Luke Glendening, senior, and Alex Guptill, freshman, each scored with less than 90 seconds remaining.
OSU is now 14-5-3 on the year, but remain in first place in the CCHA with a 10-4-3-1-conference mark.
The Buckeyes have now gone three straight games without a win, which OSU senior defenseman Sean Duddy said is frustrating.
“It’s tough after a loss. We did some things better (tonight), but you never want to lose like that. There’s no such thing as a moral victory,” Duddy said.
Michigan improved to 13-8-4, 7-6-4-1 in the CCHA. The Wolverines are currently on a six-game winning streak and eight-game unbeaten streak.
OSU and Michigan will play the second game of the series, the “Frozen Diamond Faceoff”, on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. at Progressive Field in Cleveland.