A week before the final series of the regular season, Ohio State men’s hockey moved into a tie for second place in the Big Ten standings with a sweep on the road.
The No. 12 Buckeyes (18-10-4, 11-8-3-1 Big Ten) shut out Michigan State (14-17-1, 10-11-1) 1-0 Friday and ended Saturday with another victory, winning 4-2.
It was Ohio State’s second sweep of the year against Michigan State, as the Buckeyes won the Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 matchups in Columbus earlier this season.
A 25-save shutout from Ohio State junior goalie Tommy Nappier led the Buckeyes to victory Friday in a 1-0 defensive struggle at Munn Ice Arena.
After a scoreless first period, Ohio State senior defenseman Matt Miller broke the ice with his fifth goal of the season, assisted by sophomore forward Quinn Preston and junior forward Eugene Fadyeyev.
It proved to be the game’s lone score.
Ohio State won the shot differential 34-25, blocked 15 Spartan shots and went 2-for-2 on the penalty kill Friday.
Nappier’s shutout was the third this season and eighth of his career, putting him in fourth place in Ohio State history.
Michigan State received a chance to tie it up early in the final period, when Ohio State sophomore forward Gustaf Westlund was whistled for a tripping penalty in the third minute.
The opportunity proved fruitless though, and the Spartans pulled sophomore goalie Drew DeRidder in favor of an extra attacker for the final 1:46 in a last stand that also failed to yield a score.
A third period comeback led Ohio State to victory Saturday, as the Buckeyes scored three goals late to win 4-2.
A Buckeyes giveaway in the waning seconds of the first period turned into a Spartan score from freshman forward Joshua Jagger that gave Michigan State a 2-1 lead.
The score didn’t change until the final five minutes of the third period, when freshman forward Jaedon Leslie sparked a rally for the Buckeyes with a score to tie the game 2-2.
In a little over a minute, senior forward Tanner Laczynski scored to give the Buckeyes their first lead of the game at 3-2.
Michigan State opted for an empty net in the final two minutes, but for the second straight game it provided the Spartans no tangible reward.
Preston scored his second goal of the game to ice it at 4-2 for the Buckeyes.
Preston had the first and last goal for Ohio State, as he also found the back of the net with less than four minutes remaining in the first period to tie the game 1-1.
Michigan State senior forward Patrick Khodorenko put the Spartans on the board first in the 13th minute of the game.
Ohio State heads home to take on Wisconsin in the final series of the regular season next weekend.