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Men’s Hockey: No. 4 Ohio State defeats Michigan 4-2, claims top spot in Big Ten

Redshirt junior Wyatt Ege passes the puck down the ice during the first period of Ohio State’s hockey game vs. Michigan on Jan. 11. Ohio State lost 2-1. Credit: Nick Hudak | For The Lantern

Following a Friday night loss, No. 4 Ohio State (12-5-4) came back Saturday and defeated Michigan (8-9-6) 4-2, advancing the Buckeyes to No. 1 in the Big Ten.

After the Buckeyes and the Wolverines were tied after the second period, Michigan freshman forward Jimmy Lambert gave the Wolverines the 2-1 lead off a rebound with 8:48 to go in the match.

But it did not take long for junior defensemen Wyatt Ege to answer, scoring his first goal of the season 28 seconds later, assisted by junior forward Tanner Laczynski and senior forward Freddy Gerard, igniting a three-goal period for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik said his team responded well to the early Michigan goal in the third period, saying the deficit loosened up Ohio State to take the lead and eventually beat the Wolverines.

For Ege, he was just happy to record his first goal.

“I’m just happy I scored,” he said.  “Going last year without a goal and then Christmas break I still hadn’t scored.  I was just happy to finally put one in the back of the net. It felt great.”

Freshman forward Quinn Preston secured the Ohio State victory scoring on the short side on what would be the second of the three goals.

In the first period,  neither Ohio State nor Michigan got any of their shots past the goalkeeper, ending with seven shots for the Buckeyes and six shots for Michigan.

Midway through the second period, Michigan senior defenseman Nicholas Boka and sophomore forward Dakota Raabe were sent to the penalty box. Laczynski took advantage of the power play, scoring with an assist from both senior forward Mason Jobst and junior defenseman Matt Miller, bringing the Buckeyes to a 1-0 lead.

Moments later, the tides turned when Ohio State junior forward Sam McCormick was directed to the penalty box and Michigan junior forward Will Lockwood scored on a power play of his own, tying the game back up to 1-1.

But after Ohio State had taken the lead in the third period after scoring two goals, Michigan pulled its goalie, putting the pressure fully onto the Ohio State defense in a last-ditch effort to tie the game.  With 24 seconds remaining in the match, junior forward Ronnie Hein snuck the puck past Michigan cementing Ohio State’s win.

“The energy: that was there,” Rohlik said.  “These guys are not going to be denied. That’s what it felt like on the bench.  Even guys eating pucks at the end, blocking shots: that’s really what it takes to win hockey games.”

Ohio State will travel to University Park, Pennsylvania to play Penn State Friday and Saturday.  Both games will begin at 7 p.m.

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