After falling behind 2-0, three unanswered goals led No. 13 Ohio State men’s hockey (5-1-1, 1-0-0 Big Ten) to victory Friday against Michigan (3-3-1, 0-1-0) at the Schottenstein Center.
The final two goals came within four minutes of the start of the third period, the latter proving the eventual game-winner.
“I thought our guys played hard tonight and I could see that from the drop of the puck,” head coach Steve Rohlik said. “Even when we went down 2-0 all I heard on the bench is, ‘We got this.’”
Michigan senior forward Nick Pastujov found the back of the net in the first period on the first power play of the game as the Wolverines took a 1-0 lead.
The Wolverines added to their lead as they had a rush into the Ohio State zone and redshirt junior forward Luke Morgan snuck a pass behind the Buckeye defense where redshirt sophomore forward Emil Öhrwall put the puck home for his first goal of the season.
Ohio State cut the Michigan lead in half before the end of the period as freshman forward Tate Singleton was able to score a power play goal as he capitalized on a cross ice pass from sophomore defenseman Ryan O’Connell.
Ohio State immediately got another power play opportunity as Michigan freshman center Johnny Beecher ran into Ohio State junior goaltender Tommy Nappier, which earned him a two-minute minor.
Ohio State took advantage of the opportunity as sophomore forward Quinn Preston scored from in front of the net to equalize the game with 18:37 left.
“It’s a difference maker, you could see it when you walked out onto the bench, the glow sticks and the crowd,” Rohlik said. “It was an entertaining game and they were into it and you could feel it on the bench.”
The Buckeyes gave them more to cheer for as they were able to score the go-ahead goal and eventual game winner as senior forward Ronnie Hein sent a puck out in the slot where it was deflected by junior forward Austin Pooley for his first point of the season.
Getting the second assist on the game-winner was freshman defenseman CJ Regula who recorded his first point of his college career.
“We knew we were playing well. Everyone was playing well, we were doing the right things,” Regula said. “You come off the ice and everyone was like ‘don’t worry about it, you got it, we’re good, we’re good, keep going and I think that’s part of the reason we ended up coming out in the third real hot and real strong.”
Ohio State was able to hold on to the one goal lead for the final 16 minutes as Michigan threw everything they had at the Buckeyes to try and tie the game up.
“That’s when you just kinda got to come together and you gotta do whatever you possibly can for 30-45 seconds to get that win,” Hein said. “Guys were blocking shots, diving around. You know, they hit the post once but we settle back in and at the end there you just gotta do whatever you can to not let that puck in.”
The Buckeyes and Wolverines will meet Saturday at 5 p.m. for the second game of the series.