No. 4 Ohio State (12-4-4, 5-2-3 Big Ten) will take on Michigan (7-8-6, 3-4-4 Big Ten) this Friday following a tie and a loss against Michigan State this past weekend.
Ohio State is the No. 1 team in the Big Ten heading into its weekend series against Michigan, which is tied for third in the conference with Minnesota and Notre Dame. The Wolverines also received 20 votes in the latest USCHO.com Top 20 rankings.
Ohio State and Michigan both know how to keep a game moving. The Buckeyes have scored 62 goals and allowed 44 this season. The Wolverines have allowed 66 goals, but scored 63 this season.
Despite Michigan’s losing record, Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik recognized the talent and potential of his team’s rival.
“They’re loaded with talent, loaded with skill,” Rohlik said. “Certainly there are a couple of high-end players, but when you go through their lineup, there’s a ton of NHL picks on their team. They get the pick of the crop sometimes up there and you’ve got to be ready for it.”
The Wolverines are led by sophomore defenseman Quinn Hughes, who leads the team with 20 points and 17 assists.
Hughes was the No. 7 pick for the Vancouver Canucks in the 2018 NHL Draft, and Rohlik said it’s easy to see why.
“If you just watch him for five minutes, you’ll understand why. I mean, he’s a pretty unique individual. He’s phenomenal,” Rohlik said. “He’s a special player, and obviously we’ve got to be aware of him on the ice.”
Ohio State junior forward Ronnie Hein, a Michigan native who has scored seven goals and six assists in 19 games, is looking forward to competing against the university he grew up close to.
“Being from there, it’s always fun going up against these guys,” Hein said. “Them coming here, it’s a great time. Especially after last year with the record we had against them. We’re going to love to carry that again into this year and hopefully keep that going.”
During the 2017-18 season, Ohio State won all five games against Michigan — the first time the Buckeyes have defeated the Wolverines five times in program history.
After scoring seven points against Michigan State and being named First Star of the Week by both the NCAA and the Big Ten, given to the best performer in college hockey that week, senior forward and team captain Mason Jobst said he is feeling great going into the upcoming match.
“It definitely helps my confidence a little bit,” Jobst said. “Michigan week is exciting for all of us, so I think we’re just really looking forward to it. Last weekend is over and it’s time to move on.”
Ohio State will take on Michigan Friday and Saturday at the Schottenstein Center. Both matches will start at 7 p.m.