Mistakes and missed opportunities plagued Buckeye hockey this week. The men picked up a couple points against No. 13 Michigan, but really should have earned more. Let's get the postmortem over with.
Ohio State took two out of a possible six points from No. 13 Michigan in last week's series. While that sounds like a great accomplishment, the truth is they should have had more.
Though the Buckeyes prevailed in a shootout on Friday night, they were only in a position to do so because they had surrendered a 2-1 third period lead. Neither goal the team allowed that night was a good one.
Curtis Gedig wasn't able to get a hold on the puck on the first goal against. Neither was Matt Tomkins able to make what appeared to be a simple save on Alex Guptill's shot. Guptill struck again in the third period. He had all the time and space he wanted while the Buckeyes admired a thunderous open ice hit by Gedig.
Sunday's game was all kinds of strange. A pretty good crowd turned out in spite of horrible weather. The Buckeyes got stuck in a penalty death spiral in the first period. The penalty killers did not give an inspired effort and Michigan took a quick 2-0 lead.
Alex Szczechura and a referee both got stuck in the bad ice and left the game with presumed leg injuries. Nick Oddo got stuck on the end of Michael Downing's elbow, though this only resulted in a minor penalty. (Dark516Knight has a gif here for those missed the hit.)
The Bucks battled back into the game with goals from Darik Angeli, Dave Gust, and Sam Jardine but just weren't able to overcome their early mistakes. Michigan added yet another power play goal as well as an empty net tally to take the game 4-3.
Ohio State looked great at times against Michigan. They put themselves in a position to win Friday's game. They also created a chance to leapfrog the Wolverines in the standings with a win on Sunday. It's a little disappointing that they weren't able to take advantage of either opportunity.
Ah well. Darn Michigan to heck. This is still a good Buckeye team. They'll still have a pretty good shot in the Big Ten tournament.
The Buckeyes host their final home games of the season when No. 1 Minnesota visits the Schott. Game times are set for Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Be sure to arrive early on Saturday so you can participate in honoring this season's senior class.
Around the Big Ten
The Gophers swept the Nittany Lions in the only other conference series last week. Wisconsin had the week off. Michigan State scheduled an exhibition game against the US Under-18 teams, which they lost 4-3 in OT.
With four games remaining of each B1G team's schedule Minnesota now leads second place Wisconsin by seven points. The Badgers have a four point cushion over Michigan. Ohio State is fourth, five points behind the Wolverines and three points ahead of the Spartans. Penn State trails the field, twelve points back of Michigan State.
- Minnesota's Travis Boyd and Adam Wilcox are your first and third Big Ten stars of the week. Michigan's Alex Guptill earns the conference's second star.
- B1G weekly thoughts and recaps come to you from Jashvina Shah for CHN and Drew Claussen for USCHO. Sean Merriman recounts BTN's Frozen Friday action here.
- While they don't name any Buckeyes, Big Ten players are included in the finalists for the inaugural Richter Award as well as Chris Dilks' top 20 NHL drafted NCAA players and DJ Powers' top 10 NHL drafted NCAA defensemen.
Ohio State's AJHL commits wrapped up their regular season campaigns last week. Nick Jones and the fourth seed Sherwood Park Crusaders begin their playoff campaign on Thursday against fifth seeded Bonnyville. Kevin Miller and the second seed Fort McMurray Oil Barons take on Drayton Valley. That series also gets underway on Thursday. Tyler Busch and the top seed Spruce Grove Saints, after earning a first round bye, await the winner of Fort McMurray-Drayton Valley. All series this round are best-of-five.
- David McCoy talked with Tyler Nanne about carrying on his family's high school legacy at Edina and choosing a different collegiate path at Ohio State.
- OSU commit Dakota Joshua's awesome as-he-gets-tripped assist is one of the USHL's candidates for play of the week.
The big news of the week is that Ryan Kesler may be on the move before tomorrow's trade deadline. Numerous teams are rumored to be interested in acquiring the two-way forward including Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Someone floated the possibility of a return to Columbus, but Ben Kuzma nixed that idea. Justin Bourne writes about the high cost teams pay at the deadline for a player like Kesler. Sometimes they're worth it, though.
- Check it out, Michael Traikos chatted with gold medalist Natalie Spooner here.
- Bob Hunter reports that RJ Umberger will gladly trade a finger for a goal. There's no telling what he'd be willing to trade for a chance at the playoffs.
- Cal Heeter was recalled by the Flyers for a couple games over the weekend. He didn't see any ice time despite my wishing much sieve-ness on Steve Mason.
- Here's Bruins' coach Claude Julian on Matt Bartkowski and the team's other young defenseman.
- Former Bucks lighting the lamp this week include Nate Guenin's first of the season, Dave Steckel and Hunter Bishop in the same game, and CJ Severyn securing Orlando's 11th consecutive victory.
- The shorthanded assassin strikes again! John Albert notched a ridiculous sixth shorty of the season against Binghamton. He added an even strength goal and an assist just for good measure as the IceCaps defeated the Senators 6-2.