ANN ARBOR, Mich. — With two goals from freshman Darik Angeli and a 29-save performance from Cal Heeter, Ohio State outlasted Michigan, 2-1, in the first of this weekend’s two-game set.
The teams exchanged goals in the first period, but it was a key penalty kill midway through the game that helped swing momentum the Buckeyes’ way.
With the game tied 1-1 at 12:10 in the second, OSU forward Tanner Fritz was called for hitting from behind and given a game misconduct. It was the way the Buckeyes responded to the penalty, said coach Mark Osiecki, that made the difference.
“They said it right on the bench right away,” said Osiecki. “They said that it’s not something that’s going to hurt us and I think that was their approach to it. They wanted to use that as momentum and see what they could do with it.”
Four minutes into the kill, OSU forced a minor penalty to UM’s Lindsay Sparks (goaltender interference) to negate the Wolverines’ power play.
“The one penalty that you really don’t like to take is a penalty when you’re on the power play, like when Sparks took that penalty on the goalie,” said UM coach Red Berenson. “That really hurts any momentum you’ve got going on the power play, but for the most part we tried to stay out of the part and I don’t think penalties played a big role in the game.”
The game was tied 1-1 after the first when the teams exchanged goals late in the period. Mac Bennett’s third goal of the season on a drop feed from Chris Brown gave the Wolverines a 1-0 lead at 15:26, but Angeli’s fourth of the year – picking up Ben Gallacher’s rebound – evened the score at 17:42.
After a scoreless second, Angeli found the net again at 7:53 in the third, a fluky goal from behind the goal line. Angeli skated hard into the right corner and shot back toward the Michigan net; the puck ricocheted off of UM goaltender Shawn Hunwick’s right leg and went straight back, through the five-hole.
“Coach just said, ‘Get it to the net,’ and that’s what our forwards are doing, just trying to put the puck on the net all night,” said Angeli. “Luckily, it just went in.”
Neither coach was particularly pleased with his team’s performance and the game did feel slow for most of the first 40 minutes.
“We were just okay,” said Osiecki. “I don’t think we played very well, to be honest with you. I thought Michigan played very well and their transition is outstanding and let’s face it, they’re tough to play against because of their speed and their transition.”
“I thought our first couple of shifts we were pretty good,” added Berenson, “but then the game kind of settled into a not-much-going-on game and we can’t play in that kind of a game.”
Both goaltenders played well, with Hunwick making 31 saves. Neither gave up a power-play goal; OSU was 0-for-5 and UM 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
With the win – the first for OSU in Yost Ice Arena since Nov. 30, 2007 – the Buckeyes (9-3-1, 7-2-1-1 CCHA) are now unbeaten in eight games. With the loss, the Wolverines (7-4-2, 3-4-2-1 CCHA) haven’t won in three.
The teams meet again Saturday at 7:35 p.m.