COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State Buckeyes rallied with a pair of goals within 1:54 of each other to defeat the No. 11 Michigan Wolverines 3-2 in overtime in Value City Arena on Friday.
The Buckeyes were awarded a power play following a cross check from David Wohlberg on C.J. Severyn with 45 seconds remaining, and Buckeyes forward Sergio Somma netted the game-tying goal with 10.4 seconds left.
Alex Szczechura scored the winner 1:43 into overtime through the five hole of Michigan goalie Shawn Hunwick.
The frustration on Michigan players was obvious following the game. More than half of the Wolverines skated off the ice without participating in post-game handshakes and had to be chased by coach Red Berenson to get them back on the ice.
“That is never the way you want to end the game, especially when you have the lead,” Michigan forward Louie Caporusso said. “With 16 seconds left, you just want to put the game away and before you know it, you don’t play well for two minutes and you walk away a loser.”
“I thought we played a good game until the last two minutes when we had to play in our own zone,” Berenson said. “Until we got ourselves short-handed, I thought we played a good game. And then it was a travesty to give up the tie, let alone the win. It was just poor accountability on our team.”
Ohio State’s tying goal took several attempts. Michigan got a pair of clears before the Buckeyes gained the zone with 20 seconds remaining in regulation. Ohio State center Peter Boyd won a faceoff with 17 seconds left. Ohio State defenseman Curtis Gedig got the first shot into the crease, the puck bounced around and was up for grabs on the glove side of Hunwick. With a nearly wide open net, Somma flipped in a backhander.
“It is a little frustrating when you’re trying to get control of the puck on the faceoff — a key play in the game,” Somma said. “We got a good [faceoff] win and got the puck on the net and that helped me. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t and it ended up working that time. … You’re just trying to get guys to the net. That is how you score goals at the end of a game. They’re usually never pretty like that.”
Szczechura capitalized on the Buckeyes’ momentum by burying the puck from the left circle for the game-winner.
“I think that is the best sign about our team: We bounce back,” Ohio State coach Mark Osiecki said. “For the most part, we find a way. Guys certainly don’t sit back on their heels once something bad happens. At some point, it is going to happen.”
The Buckeyes struck first 4:34 into the second when John Albert scored his fifth of the season. Michigan defensemen Jon Merrill added two points with a goal and assist. Merrill scored 6:33 into the second for Michigan’s only power-play goal to tie the game at 1. Merrill assisted a goal by Caporusso 8:43 into the third to put Michigan up 2-1.
The Wolverines had their share of chances. Just minutes into the game, Kevin Lynch appeared to have given Michigan the go-ahead goal. After a lengthy review, the goal was disallowed by the officials. The Wolverines found the post twice in the first two periods of the game.
“That happens but sometimes you get great puck luck,” Caporusso said. “As the game goes, that is what makes hockey so much fun.”
Ohio State is looking to make history on Saturday. The Buckeyes have not swept the Wolverines in a weekend series since November 1989.
“Michigan is a hell of a hockey team,” Osiecki said. “Their talent top to bottom. They have guys that are sitting out that are unbelievable. And Red does a heck of a job.”