No. 15 Ohio State (8-3-3, 3-3-0-0 Big Ten) took two crucial conference victories on the road against rival No. 17 Michigan (6-6-2, 2-4-2-1 Big Ten), winning a narrow 3-2 game Friday, then opening up the floodgates with a 5-1 victory Saturday.
Major scoring came from some unlikely faces for the Buckeyes. Junior forward Freddy Gerard scored two goals, including the game-winner, in the first matchup. Senior forward Christian Lampasso matched his teammate with a pair of goals in the second game.
The Wolverines started the game with some early momentum, and found the back of the net first on a shot by senior defenseman Tony Piazza. The shot came from the blue line, but a deflection off an Ohio State player allowed the puck to find its way past redshirt junior goalie Sean Romeo.
Michigan held its one-goal advantage through the end of the first period, and led 14-9 in shots. But the Buckeyes took only a minute in the second period to even up the score on a shot in front of the goal by Gerard. Sophomore forward Tanner Laczynski found Gerard right in front of sophomore goalie Hayden Lavigne, and Gerard buried the chance, knotting the score at one.
Ohio State increased the pressure immediately in the third period, and was rewarded with a power-play goal by junior forward John Wiitala less than 8 minutes into the final frame. Wiitala fired the shot from the point and beat Lavigne top shelf to give the Buckeyes their first lead of the game.
Less than a minute later, Gerard scored his second of the night, picking the pocket of sophomore forward Nick Pastujov right in front of Lavigne, and burying the easy chance. The two-goal performance was Gerard’s first career multi-goal game.
From there, the Buckeyes played solid defensive hockey and were boosted by great goaltending from Romeo, who had 31 saves on the night. Lavigne had 33 saves for the Wolverines. Michigan freshman forward Josh Norris scored a goal to pad the stats with under 15 seconds to go, but the Buckeyes held on for the victory and grabbed the crucial three points in the standings.
Ohio State won the second game in a more dominant fashion, but the game began relatively even. Lampasso gave the Buckeyes the lead on a slap shot from an off-angle that found its way past sophomore goalie Jack Lafontaine on an assist by junior forward Brendon Kearney.
Michigan tied the scoring in the second period on a wrist shot by junior defenseman Joseph Cecconi. Junior forward Cooper Marody and junior forward Brendan Warren earned the assists on the play.
From there, Ohio State piled on four unanswered goals, smothering any chance Michigan had to even the series. Laczynski started the trend with a goal less than a minute after Cecconi’s on a pass from behind the net by senior forward Matthew Weis.
Weis added another assist, this time on a one-timer by junior forward Mason Jobst on the power play that doubled the lead. Laczynski added the other assist on the play.
Laczynski returned the favor, assisting Weis’ goal off the faceoff, giving Ohio State a commanding 4-1 lead. Lampasso added another power play goal right at the end to secure the Buckeyes a massive 5-1 victory over their rivals up north.
Romeo played lights out in Game Two, giving up only one goal while making 34 saves, including all 21 Wolverine shots in the third period.
Ohio State returns to Columbus for a series against Penn State. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. Friday and 4:00 p.m. Saturday at the Schottenstein Center.