ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Every time Michigan had a scoring punch, Ohio State replied with a counterpunch, and just a little more.
The Buckeyes punched and counterpunched their way to a 6-5 Saturday night victory over the Wolverines, sweeping their weekend two-game series with Michigan in Ann Arbor at Yost Ice Arena.
The game marked the seventh straight between the two rivals decided by a lone goal.
The Buckeyes won the opening tilt of the series on Friday night, 2-1, in a defensive battle with the Wolverines.
The last time Michigan was swept at home was in November 2009, when Miami won a weekend series at Yost Arena.
“We take pride in all of our games, but Yost has been a special place,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “To give up back-to-back games to anybody is a big disappointment. To win these games, you have to play better. Whether it is penalty killing, goalkeeping, special teams, or defensive zone play.”
“A game like that reminds you of the late ’80s, wide-open, high scoring,” said Ohio State coach Mark Osiecki. “It was a very interesting game.”
Saturday’s rematch was a totally different game than the series opener, with up-and-down play, great offensive flourishes, and a large amount of special teams success.
After going a combined zero-for-nine on power plays in the series opener, Ohio State and Michigan combined to score six of the game’s 11 goals on special teams.
“I thought Michigan made some nice adjustments in moving the puck,” Osiecki stated, explaining the special-teams bonanza. “For us, our key (on the power play) is just getting pucks down toward the net and then try to win some battles. It wasn’t anything fancy.
“That’s our mentality. We’re worried about ourselves and not worried so much about who we’re playing. We want to take care of ourselves. That’s the only way we can get better as a group.”
Both goaltenders had good moments despite the frequent scoring. Ohio State’s Cal Heeter stopped 26 Michigan shots. Wolverines netminder Shawn Hunwick made 31 saves, 14 alone in the third period.
Chris Crane and Heeter successfully worked both ends of the ice for the Buckeyes in the first period, giving Ohio State a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.
Crane scored both Ohio State goals in the opening period. Heeter used his 6-4, 195 pound frame to stop 15 of the 16 shots thrown his way by the Wolverines.
Michigan opened the scoring at 2:56 on a power play. After failing to click with the man advantage in four tries on Friday night, the Wolverines’ freshman defenseman Mike Chiasson scored his first career goal on a screened shot after he snuck in from the right point to receive Chris Brown’s pass from the left corner.
Crane’s pair of first period goals in reply were his seventh and eighth of the season. At 6:25, the Buckeyes sophomore right wing converted from Hunwick’s doorstep after a long period of sustained Ohio State pressure in the Michigan zone. Less than three minutes later, at 9:04, Crane took a pass from freshman Ryan Dzingel and whistled a shot from the slot high toward Hunwick’s glove. The Michigan netminder got a piece of the shot, but not enough to stop its momentum from carrying it into the net.
In a second period chock full of special teams play, Ohio State parlayed a five-minute advantage into two of their three goals in the period to take a 5-3 lead into the final period. Michigan also connected on a power play on one of its two tallies in the middle stanza.
Luke Moffatt tied the game at 2-2 with a beautiful solo effort at 1:54 of the second period
Brown received a boarding major at 4:17 for driving Ohio State blueliner Devon Krogh into the half boards in the Buckeyes zone. Although Ohio State didn’t get a shot on Hunwick in the first 3:30 of the power play, Ryan Dzingel made up for it with two quick goals 16 seconds apart near the end of the advantage, one on a deflection and the other with a quick shot.
Alex Guptill replied on a power play for the Wolverines at 12:03 to draw Michigan within one, 4-3.
The Buckeyes re-established a two-goal lead at 15:58, 5-3, on freshman Max McCormick’s second career goal, after Hunwick had several saves on a flurry of Buckeyes forays.
Michigan closed to within one goal again early in the final period on a Derek DeBlois short-handed goal at 1:46.
True to form, Ohio State replied three minutes later at 4:48 on Alex Lippincott’s power-play goal extending the Buckeyes lead to 6-4.
Not quite finished, Guptill pulled the Wolverines back within with his second goal of the night with only 1:40 to play.
Despite pulling Hunwick for an extra attacker, Michigan couldn’t put an equalizer past Heeter.
“That’s nice to get the results,” said Osiecki of the road sweep. “It’s more important for us to get better. That’s been our approach. We’ve got 10 freshmen in the lineup, and for a young team to be able to make some strides and take another step, it’s very important for our team.”
Michigan (7-5-2, 3-5-2-1 CCHA) gives thanks next holiday weekend with home games against Northeastern on Friday and Union College on Saturday.
Ohio State (10-3-1, 7-2-1-1 ) gets a holiday break from action, resuming play again when it hosts Lake Superior on December 2-3.