ANN ARBOR, Mich. — With two goals from Alex Guptill, Michigan came back against Ohio State to tie the Buckeyes 2-2, but OSU prevailed in the shootout when Alex Szczechura was the only scorer to find the net, giving the Buckeyes the extra point in the game.
Given that Ohio State led 2-1 with five minutes to go in the contest, neither coach was completely satisfied with tonight’s result.
“We looked like we were 13 days off,” said Ohio State coach Steve Rohlik, as this was the Buckeyes’ first game in two weeks. “I thought that we’d be sharper and we actually had a really good week of practice. Give credit to Michigan, but I thought both sides in the first period, it was like a ping-pong match. They got their legs under them and they obviously had some chances, but we could just never get over the hump.”
“About from the midway point of the second period, we seemed to get going and we played a lot more in their zone,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “We started to get scoring chances. We had a couple that could’ve gone in that didn’t, but nevertheless, you can’t expect to win a game when you only play well for half a game.
“It’s a tough loss at home. Even though it’s a tie, you get one point out of it, it’s not good enough for a home game at this time of year against this team, a conference game. It’s disappointing to give that up.”
The game was tied 1-1 after the first, with Nick Schilkey netting his 10th of the season to get the Buckeyes on the board first at 4:26. Left of the net, Schilkey took a slick feed from Chad Niddery in the right circle and put the puck past Zach Nagelvoort on the short side.
For the rest of the period, it seemed that neither team wanted to score – Michigan led Ohio state 7-5 in shots on goal – but Guptill found the net at 19:21, stuffing in the puck at close range past OSU’s Matt Tomkins to tie the game.
“Neither team wanted the puck in the first,” said Rohlik. “It was just lose it, lose it, lose it. It was just really sloppy, I thought. Then I thought they got going and we could just never get going.”
The Buckeyes dominated the first half of the second period, holding the Wolverines to zero shots on goal through the first 10 minutes of the stanza. At the 10-minute mark, Szczechura scored from Same Jardine on the power play to give Ohio State the 2-1 lead.
From then until the end of regulation, the Wolverines registered 30 shots on goal.
Guptill’s second goal of the game came at 14:44. Evan Allen fished the puck out of the right corner and passed to Guptill near the right side of the net. Guptill’s first shot hit the post, but he picked up his own rebound to score.
Neither team had a shot on goal in overtime.
Szczechura’s second-round shot beat Nagelvoort upstairs.
“Both goalies are good,” said Berenson. “Both teams have good players, good skill, but you hate for it to come down to this.”
“It certainly wasn’t our best game, but good teams find a way to get points and we’ve kind of been talking about just getting points,” said Rohlik. “We’re on the road in this building, in this atmosphere – it was fun. For us to come away with two points, it’s big for us.”
The Buckeyes (15-10-4, 5-6-4-3 Big Ten) and Wolverines (15-10-4, 7-6-2-1 Big Ten) meet again Sunday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. That game begins at 1:00 p.m.