After struggling in his last start against Penn State on Jan. 12, letting in 4 goals on 35 shots, Ohio State redshirt junior goalie Sean Romeo bounced back in a big way against his team’s biggest rival.
No. 6 Ohio State used a 32-save shutout from Romeo to claim a 4-0 victory against No.17 Michigan at the Schottenstein Center Friday night.
“You could tell that he was in it right away; comfortable, solid,” Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik said. “When you look down there and you see him playing that way, I think it gives a team that confidence and he has been doing that all year.”
The Wolverines (12-11-2, 7-8-2-0 Big Ten) had ample chances to score, outshooting the Buckeyes 32-20.
“I was happy with the way I played,” Romeo said. “Big credit to how the guys played in front of me. I had a lot of single shots and I could see everything, so it made my job easy.”
Ohio State (16-5-4, 9-5-1-0 Big Ten) opened the scoring late in the first period with a goal from senior forward Kevin Miller. The play was set up with a great pass from junior defenseman Tommy Parran to spring junior forward Dakota Joshua and Miller on an odd-man rush. Joshua slid the puck to Miller, who beat sophomore goaltender Hayden Lavigne for his third goal of the season.
The second period was scoreless until the Buckeyes took advantage of a power play. Sophomore forward Tanner Laczynski took a no-look backhand pass from senior forward Matthew Weis in the slot and blew a slap-shot past Lavigne.
The period ended with a 24-14 shot advantage for Michigan, but Ohio State held a 2-0 lead.
Early in the third period, sophomore defenseman Matt Miller sent Ohio State junior forward Mason Jobst on breakaway. Jobst fought off a check, made a move and scored on the backhand to extend the lead to three goals.
Jobst was a game-time decision due to a lower-body injury, but Rohlik said it didn’t keep him from making an impact.
“I could see in eyes the last couple days that he was going to be ready,” Rohlik said. “I had 100 percent confidence in him when [he] went out there. When the puck dropped, there was no question he was going to be there for us.”
Buckeyes added a power-play goal in the third period when Joshua tipped in Miller’s shot from the point to bring the score to 4-0.
That capped off a successful night for the special teams from Ohio State. The Buckeyes went two-for-three on power-play opportunities and the nation’s top penalty kill was successful on all four occasions.
“Usually, you win the special teams battle, you win the game. I thought our penalty kill was the difference, Rohlik said. “Obviously, we don’t look pretty at times on the power play, but when the puck ends up in the net, that’s the key. Again, we got to continue to get better in those areas, but certainly was a difference tonight.”
Ohio State has won all three of its meetings against Michigan this season by a combined scoring margin of 12-3.
The Buckeyes will have a chance to sweep the season series against the Wolverines with the final matchup of the year between the teams at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Schott.