COLUMBUS, Ohio — No. 3-ranked Michigan survived a furious Ohio State third-period rally as Mac Bennett scored the game-winner with 95 seconds left to lift the Wolverines to a 5-4 victory over the Buckeyes Monday evening.
Michigan led 4-1 midway through the third, but three Ohio State goals knotted the contest at four as the Buckeyes had the visitors on the ropes.
On a scramble play along the midwall, Mike Chiasson sprung a loose puck and found Bennett pinching in from the blue line. Bennett easily tapped the puck past Ohio State goaltender Logan Davis to give the Wolverines a 5-4 advantage.
The game-winner marked the Michigan captain’s first goal of the campaign.
“It was definitely a bit of a risky play,” Bennett said. “But I have to get all the credit to Mike Chiasson. All I had to do is put my stick on the ice. All I had to do was put my stick on the ice.”
Michigan coach Red Berenson said the mindset on his team’s bench was ‘not good’ after allowing Ohio State to tie the game.
“They had all the momentum in the third period and when you have a 4-1 lead, you have to play better than that,” Berenson said. “Give them credit, they played hard. We got lucky at the end to score the winning goal.”
Berenson questioned if whether the better team won Monday.
“I don’t know if we deserved the game, not in the third period,” Berenson said. “Maybe in other parts of the game. But it was one of those games, the best team does not always win.”
Ohio State coach Steve Rohlik saw Berenson’s outlook a bit differently.
“At the end of the day, they had more than we did,” Rohlik said. “They obviously did a few things better than us as the score would say, but as I told the guys, I am proud of the effort. I thought we played a pretty good hockey game and we never quit.”
Michigan is off to a 2-0 start in Big Ten play after defeating Ohio State in overtime Friday evening, but allowing seven goals in two games left a bitter taste in Bennett’s mouth.
“That last period is embarrassing,” Bennett said. “Especially a 4-1 to lead to a rival, giving up three goals like that is disappointing and Coach let us know in the locker room. We have to be better.”
Following Friday’s loss, Ohio State got off to a good start Monday as the Buckeyes outshot the Wolverines 11-1 early in the contest. Despite the start, Michigan was first to score as Zach Hyman scored his first of the season 14:04 into the first.
“They came out and took it to us,” Berenson said. “We knew they would after Friday’s game and we couldn’t do much about it.”
Ohio State answered as Ryan Dzingel scored his Big Ten-leading ninth goal on a breakaway to tie the game at one 3:57 into the second.
J.T. Compher responded with a pair of 4-on-4 goals off rebounds later in the second to give Michigan a 3-1 lead heading into the third period.
Michael Downing scored off a slapper from the blue line 2:49 into the third. The game appeared to be over as Michigan held a 4-1 third-period lead.
As Rohlik said, Ohio State did not quit, however.
A power-play goal by Max McCormick and a 4-on-4 goal by David Gust got the Buckeyes within a goal with 6:47 remaining.
After Michigan’s Andrew Copp was whistled for hooking, Tanner Fritz scored on a rebound in the slot on a 4-on-3 power play to tie the game at four with 5:29 left.
The remnants of an announced crowd of 5,353 tried to rally the Buckeyes to their first-ever win in the Big Ten, but Bennett’s goal denied them that chance.
Rohlik asked for his team to empty its gas tank before heading into a nearly month-long break. He said his squad had nothing left after the game.
“We never quit, our guys on the bench, even when it was 4-1, we changed up the forecheck a little, but guys kept going,” Rohlik said. “You walk into our locker room right now and those guys don’t have much left.”