Ohio State jumped out ahead on Michigan and rarely looked back in a pair of weekend rivalry games.
In Friday night’s contest at Yost Ice Arena, Michigan came out early in the first period where senior defenseman Sam Piazza scored his first goal of the season from the point to beat Ohio State junior goaltender Sean Romero. Michigan would begin the second period with a 1-0 lead.
Michigan and Ohio State waged war in a defensive struggle through the second period until Ohio State’s Freddy Gerard found the back of the net with a one timer to beat Michigan goaltender Hayden Lavigne to make it 1-1.
The game turned in favor of the Buckeyes in the third period when Ohio State’s John Wiitala scored from the point on the power play to tie the game 2-1. Ohio State once again capitalized on a Michigan turnover and Gerard would score his second goal of the game to make it 3-1.
Michigan’s Adam Wimborg had a great opportunity to bring the Wolverine’s within one, but his shot deflected off the crossbar. Freshman Josh Norris trimmed OSU’s lead with his third goal of the season when he hammered home a loose puck to make it 3-2, but the Wolverines didn’t get another chance to seal a comeback in the rivalry opener.
Ohio State continued to dominate the Wolverines Saturday, similar to what they did in the third period the previous evening. Buckeye Christian Lampasso opened the scoring with a slap shot from the top of the circle to beat Jack LaFontaine (4-3-0) and make it 1-0.
Michigan’s defenseman and alternate captain Joseph Cecconi evened the score with a wrist shot setup by Cooper Marody to beat Ohio State goaltender Sean Romero (7-3-3). For the Wolverines, that game-tying goal would be the only goal the Wolverines mustered on the Ohio State defense the rest of the night.
Michigan’s defense did itself no favors, letting up four unanswered goals to the Buckeyes. OSU’s Tanner Laczynski, Mason Jobst, Matthew Weis and Christian Lamposso all found a way to score on LaFontaine — Lamposso netted a second as well — and make it a 5-1 win Saturday night to sweep the weekend series at Yost.
One of the season’s biggest question marks coming into this season for the Maize and Blue was defense, and in the last six Big Ten contests the Wolverines have given up three goals or more (Minnesota, Wisconsin, OSU).
“There’s a lot of hockey left, they worked hard,” Michigan coach Mel Pearson said. “I think this is a good lesson for our team.”
Michigan will take a weekend off of Big Ten play and head to Plymouth to take on the U.S. Under-18 Development team for an exhibition game on December 2.
Coach Pearson said that he would look into changing up his lines and defensive pairings during the exhibition game.
Michigan then resumes its Big Ten play on Dec. 7 at Yost Ice Arena when they take on in-state rival Michigan State for their first home-and-home series of the season. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and 7:05 p.m. the following night at Michigan State.