ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan freshman goaltender Bryan Hogan didn’t know he was going to get his first collegiate start until the team’s pre-game skate on Saturday. If he suffered from the inevitable case of nerves, he didn’t show it.
Sidelined for the greater part of the season’s first two months with mononucleosis, Hogan stopped 26 of 28 Ohio State shots, including a penalty shot, to lead his Wolverines to a 4-2 victory over the Buckeyes Saturday night at Yost Arena.
“The nerves got to me,” said Hogan of his anticipation of the start. “I don’t think I’ve played a game in about six months, so, I was really nervous getting out there.”
“I liked his game,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson of Hogan. “I don’t think you would want a goalie to play his first game when the second shot of the night is a penalty shot, but he was up to it.”
“He looked good,” continued Berenson. “I thought it was good to put him in, play him a game at home and see where he is. It was a big game for our team and he sensed the importance of the game.”
In addition to the stellar freshman goaltending, all four Michigan goals came off the stick of a first-year player. Max Pacioretty scored two for the Wolverines, while Carl Hagelin and Matt Rust each added a one. Another freshman, Aaron Palushaj notched three assists.
“It was a great day for the freshmen,” said Pacioretty. “In terms of Hogan, he has to have a lot of confidence after a great game. Then, in the lineup, we had Rust and Hagelin and they played unbelievable. They had two quick goals that got us going.”
Clearly taking to heart the previous night’s upset loss to the Buckeyes, Michigan took advantage of their first period chances, jumping out to a 3-0 lead after the opening stanza.
Rust got the Wolverines started with a wraparound move, beating Palmer to the left corner of the net at 4:30.
A nifty give-and-go between Hagelin and Palushaj at 8:01 extended the Michigan lead to 2-0. Hagelin slid the puck to Palushaj in the right corner, Palushaj flipped a backhand pass back to Hagelin, who used a backhand of his own to solve Palmer.
At 10:23, Ohio State’s Tom Goebel had a chance to pull the Buckeyes right back into the game when Tim Miller incurred a delay of game penalty for closing his glove on the puck in the crease, giving Ohio State a penalty shot.
Goebel skated in on an aggressively pressing Hogan and pulled the puck to his backhand, but shot high over Hogan’s stick to miss the choice opportunity.
“I just tried to calm myself down,” said Hogan. “I couldn’t believe what was happening. I told myself that it was just a penalty shot and that I’ve taken them before.”
On a power play of their own, Michigan struck right back at 12:01. Max Pacioretty took a feed from Palushaj at the top of the left circle and snapped a shot past Palmer.
Ohio State pulled to within two of Michigan at 8:25 of the second when John Dingle skated down the right side alone on Hogan, cut to the front of the net and slipped the puck between the netminder’s legs.
Kevin Porter set up Michigan’s reply at 16:01 when he grabbed a loose puck at his defensive blue line, sped down the ice and spotted a trailing Pacioretty, who one-timed Porter’s pass for a 4-1 Michigan lead after two periods.
Sergio Somma scored the third period’s only goal for Ohio State, but Hogan held off the Buckeyes for the remainder of the period.
“At 3-1, I thought we had built some momentum, but their goaltender played well,” said Ohio State coach John Markell. “You can’t expect to win in this building with only two (second period) shots.”
Next up for the Wolverines (14-2-0, 9-1-0 CCHA) is a two-game home-and-home set with resurgent Bowling Green next weekend. Ohio State (4-11-1, 2-8-0 CCHA) returns home to Columbus next weekend to host St. Lawrence for a pair of contests.