COLUMBUS – Saturday night’s 6-5 loss to Ohio State was the “bizarro” version of Michigan’s 4-3 win the previous night. Everything was opposite.
On Friday night, Michigan fought back and scored the game-winning goal with 68 seconds left in the game. Saturday, Ohio State erased two multi-goal deficits and scored the game winner with 90 seconds remaining.
Nearly four minutes after Michigan sophomore Tim Miller magically tied the game at five with a goal from behind the goal line, Ohio State’s Mathieu Beaudoin ripped the game-winning slapshot from just inside the blue line for his second goal of the night.
Michigan had a 6-on-4 advantage for the final 40 seconds, but failed to capitalize.
The emotions of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry finally boiled over as the final horn sounded. Both squads got involved in a partial melee near the Buckeye goal.
Referee Steve Piotrowski physically removed Buckeye Zach Pelletier from the ice and the Wolverines left the rink without engaging in customary post-game handshakes.
Despite the loss, Michigan backed into second-place in the CCHA before the game ended because of Miami (Ohio)’s 4-1 loss at Northern Michigan.
Junior Kevin Porter scored the game’s first goal more than 13 minutes into the game.
As has been the case countless times this season, Porter benefited from a crisp T.J. Hensick pass. Porter received the puck at the Ohio State blue line, and skated in alone on Palmer and wristed the puck into the net on the blocker side.
Hensick’s assist was his 42nd point in conference play this season, virtually assuring the senior of his second CCHA scoring title. Nebraska Omaha’s Scott Parse was in second going into the night with 36 points. The Mavericks’ game at Alaska ended too late for this edition.
Michigan (18-9-1 CCHA, 23-12-1 overall) controlled the early pace, registering the first 10 shots of the game. In fact, Ohio State (12-12-4, 14-15-5) didn’t put the puck on Michigan goalie Billy Sauer until the 16:12 mark point of the first period.
Unfortunately for Sauer, Ohio State’s first shot crossed the goal line. Mathieu Beaudoin grabbed the puck in a scramble in front of the crease and stuffed it past Sauer to tie the game.
Travis Turnbull scored Michigan’s second goal less than two minutes into the second period. Palmer couldn’t handle Brandon Naurato’s slapshot from the right faceoff circle and the rebound dropped right to Turnbull’s stick at the goalmouth for an easy tally.
The Wolverines extended the lead to 3-1 during a two-man advantage. Mark Mitera fired a shot from the left point and Naurato deflected it past Palmer.
Refusing to go quietly, Ohio State responded less than two minutes later when defenseman Jason DeSantis fired a slapshot topshelf from the right faceoff circle.
It looked like the Buckeyes would have an excellent chance to tie the score when Michigan freshman Chris Summers took a penalty seconds later. But sophomore Danny Fardig scored on a two-on-one shorthanded rush to extend the Michigan lead back to two, 51 seconds after the Buckeye goal.
Ohio State’s victory rush began when Matt Waddell scored with 2:05 remaining in the second period. Twenty seconds later, Kenny Bernard tied the game for Ohio State.
The Wolverines now have 12 days off before they return to Yost Ice Arena for a second round CCHA playoff series.
Michigan’s opponent will be the second-lowest seeded team to win its first-round series.