COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Michigan Wolverines knew they would get their chance at redemption.
After Ohio State earned its first sweep against Michigan in more than two decades, the No. 15 ranked Wolverines got some payback from that weekend in November shutting out No. 2 Ohio State 4-0 Friday evening.
Ohio State is winless in its last three games and has only scored three goals in its last three games.
Michigan is 6-0-2 in its last eight.
“I thought they had a great jump to start,” Ohio State coach Mark Oseicki said about his team’s first period. “I thought we played much better. Slowly getting back to where we were early on [in the season].”
Michigan goalie Shawn Hunwick put on a show stopping all 46 shots against for his third shutout of the season. He was significantly challenged early by the Buckeyes, but held strong.
“I didn’t think I had a good warm-up, didn’t see the puck well,” Hunwick said. “Once I was able to settle in and make some saves — I like to get a lot of shots. I would rather get 45 shots against than 15.”
“You just have to keep forging forwards and it is inevitable when things don’t go in with the opportunities we had, you’re going to try to do different things and you’re going to get too cute at times,” Osiecki said.
Despite Ohio State out-shooting and out-chancing Michigan in the first period, the Wolverines had a 2-0 first intermission advantage with goals from Lee Moffie and A.J. Treais.
“I think it was important the way the game started,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “We capitalized and scored the first goal. Shawn made a couple of big saves for us early and we finally got one.”
Moffie’s goal came 10:23 into the first when an Alex Guptill shot from point-blank bounced off the pads of OSU goalie Cal Heeter and drifted towards the left circle. Moffie took the loose puck and beat a diving Heeter on his stick side.
“You’re just trying to hit the net at that point when you see [Heeter] that far out,” Moffie said.
With 73 seconds left in the first, Treais scored on a slapper from the left circle that beat the stick of Heeter.
Mere seconds into the second, Phil Di Giuseppe’s shot came inches from being a goal as his attempt from the right side pinged off Heeter’s glove-side post. Later in the period, Michigan leading goal-scorer David Wohlberg found himself alone with Heeter, but Heeter turned away the breakaway opportunity.
Ohio State outshot Michigan 33-27 through two periods.
As the game wore on, the Wolverines’ defense wore down the Buckeyes’ offense, preventing Ohio State from getting good chances.
“If you look at Ohio State, they like to get the puck on net,” Hunwick said. “After we got the lead, I think they were shooting farther out than they would have liked. Our team did a good job of keeping it outside and preventing extra chances.”
In the third, the Wolverines went to the prevent defense which worked beautifully. OSU got 13 shots on net, but Michigan prevailed with two empty-net goals. Wolverines’ captain Luke Glendening and Guptill added the goals in the final 77 seconds to put the game out of reach.
“We have definitely improved over the last couple games,” Ohio State captain Sean Duddy said. “Michigan is a good team and we had a lot of shots on net and did a lot of things that were positive.”
Ohio State still has a chance to win the season series as the two teams rematch Sunday at Cleveland’s Progressive Field for the Frozen Diamond Faceoff. Michigan is participating in its third outdoor game in three seasons whereas Ohio State last played outdoors in 2006 against Wisconsin.
A coating of 6-10 inches of snow will greet the two squads Saturday afternoon when they practice on the rink setup along the first base line.
“These are all games that have their own life,” Berenson said. “The Big Chill [last season] was a big spectacle and Sunday will be. It sounds like it will be a real winter affair.”