Ohio State men’s hockey skates north this weekend to renew its most heated rivalry.
The Buckeyes (15-8-3, 8-6-2-0 Big Ten) travel to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan (10-11-3, 5-7-2-1) in a two-game series Friday and Saturday.
“I don’t think I need to say too much to our guys about The Team Up North,” Ohio State head coach Steve Rholik said. “The rivalry — I think that’s one of the big reasons we come to Ohio State, to enjoy the greatest rivalry in sports, and we’re part of that. We’re just really excited about getting up there playing a really good hockey team.”
After dropping two games against the Gophers this past weekend, Rohlik is picking his team up and searching for ways to avoid a similar result against the Wolverines.
“Nobody wants to get swept at home or on the road; we lost two games to a good hockey team,” Rohlik said. “The learning experience is that we don’t want that to happen again, and how do you do that? You do that by coming back to work on Monday and getting a good practice in giving that effort in.”
Ohio State beat Michigan Nov. 1 and 2, when the two schools met earlier this season.
“We’ve really been working hard in practice this week –– making some adjustments after a pretty tough weekend,” senior forward Carson Meyer said. “But at the same time refocusing and getting ready for how we’re supposed to play against Michigan.”
This game will put the Buckeyes on the road for their third and fourth consecutive games.
“It’s definitely a little bit tiresome mentally and physically traveling a bunch,” Meyer said. “Coach gave us some rest here and there so we’ll be recharged and ready for the weekend.”
The Buckeyes dropped out of the top 10, but Rohlik said he isn’t concerned with that number.
“From the beginning of the year, it doesn’t matter to me where we are at until the end,” Rohlik said. “I’m just concerned about getting better today and getting better tomorrow. If we can do those things, at the end of the year, then we’ll take care of where we need to be.”
Ohio State senior forward Ronnie Hein is focused on getting business done in his home state.
“It’s always special playing Michigan, but the fourth year around, it’s all about business,” Hein said.
The Wolverines are coming off a 4-1 exhibition loss against the United States National Development Program Under-18 team this past weekend, but they’ve gone 4-1-1 in the six previous games.
Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday, followed by an 8:30 p.m. start Saturday.