After scoring three goals in the third period to beat its arch rival on Friday night, the No. 3 Michigan hockey team (14-6 overall, 7-5 Big Ten) started sluggish in its second game against No. 17 Ohio State (10-6, 9-4). Although it found its rhythm late in the second, a poor third period performance ended its chances of sweeping the Buckeyes.
The Wolverines ultimately lost, 6-1.
Ohio State found the back of the net first on a power play in the first period. Buckeyes forward Travis Treloar came from behind the goal and guided the puck around sophomore goaltender Erik Portillo.
Michigan struggled offensively as Ohio State dominated in shots on goal. Halfway through the first period, the Buckeyes scored again. Slotting the puck center to an open forward, Buckeyes forward Eric Cooley buried it for the back post finish.
“We spent a lot of energy last night,” Michigan coach Mel Pearson said. “We dug ourselves a hole right out of the get go with the penalties. We had three in a row in the first period and it took guys out of the game.”
The game was chippy from the first puck drop. When sophomore forward Brendan Brisson fell to ice after getting tripped, his skate put a gash in the ice that forced the teams to break with 2:27 left on the board. The Wolverines headed into the locker room outshot 16-8 and trailing 2-0.
Coming in after the break, Michigan had a power play advantage. It didn’t last long, though, as freshman forward Mackie Samoskevich entered the penalty box after an interference.
Michigan earned only its second powerplay of the night in the second period but it wasn’t productive, either. The Wolverines had their chances, most notably when senior forward Michael Pastujov went one-on-one with Ohio State goaltender Jakub Dobeš and freshman forward Dylan Duke tried the wrap-around finish. Still, Michigan couldn’t score.
“We couldn’t get anything going offensively,” Pearson said. “Our power plays have to have skill and execution. We weren’t very good there tonight and a lot of that is mental.”
Penalties and stoppages slowed the game as the Wolverines racked up four in the first period and three more in the second. The pace had to change if Michigan wanted a goal.
It found it late in the second period when senior defenseman Nick Blankenburg found the inside lane and hit the close range one timer. Ending the period down one, the team had the momentum going into the break.
But the Buckeyes continued to outshoot Michigan in the third period and scored their third goal with 11 minutes left.
“The third goal is a big turning point,” Pearson said. “We expended so much energy because of the bodies, penalty killing and the power plays. We made a couple mental mistakes and once the third went in, it gave them life and deflated us.”
Less than 10 seconds later, Ohio State scored another when junior forward Mark Cheremeta ripped a shot into the netting. The Wolverines couldn’t stop the Buckeyes, who scored their fifth of the game and third goal within a minute of game time.
For the second game in a row Michigan was hampered by the absence of a defenseman, with sophomore defensemen Jacob Truscott leaving the ice early in the first period.
But even if they had Truscott, it would not have made a difference. After Friday night’s gutsy performance, the Wolverines couldn’t close out the weekend on a high note.