No. 6 Michigan Icers Force Split

On Saturday, the No. 6 Michigan ice hockey team took to the cold floor of Yost Ice Arena for the weekend conclusion of a two-game series against the Buckeyes of Ohio State. After a hard fought loss on Friday night, the Wolverines rallied behind senior goalie Noah Ruden in a tight 3-2 come from behind victory.

It was a tale of two nights. Despite the fact that the Wolverines outshot the visiting Buckeyes of Ohio State by an eight shot margin, the Maize and Blue dropped a tight one 7-5 to the Buckeyes on Saturday night. One night later it was Ohio State on the offensive. On Saturday, the Buckeyes outshot Michigan 41-25, but 39 saves from U-M goalie Noah Ruden and two third period goals carried No. 6 Michigan past Ohio State 3-2.

"A lot of goalies will say that when you get a lot of shots early, it gets you in the game. If you get too few, you get cold. So as a goalie, you don't really mind it," said Ruden after the game when reflecting on the number of shots put on the Michigan net. "Especially since they weren't top quality shots like they were last night. There were a lot of outside shots and not a lot of rebound shots. You can get 30 to 40 shots as long as they're on the perimeter and you can see them the whole way."

Ohio State opened the scoring at 6:42 of the contest. Tom Fritsche put OSU on top after the Wolverines coughed it up just outside of their own blue line. Fritsche, one of the Buckeyes talented sophomores, pounced on the loose puck and deked into the Michigan zone before flipping the puck up past Ruden into the net.

One minute later, Kevin Porter would threaten to pull the Wolverines even on the breakaway, but Ohio State goalie Dave Caruso sent Porter's shot up over the goal and into the back nets behind the boards to keep Michigan off the board.

Ohio State outshot Michigan 13-7 over the first 20 minutes of play.

In the second period, Ohio State continued to apply the pressure. A flurry of shots on the Michigan net were gloved or pushed aside by Ruden until the Wolverines drew even at 8:16. Chad Kolarik, the Wolverines hottest offensive weapon over the past 10 games, took control of the puck along the centerline. After coasting into the OSU zone, Kolarik let rip a shot from the right circle. Caruso made the save, but the puck came into the slot to Tim Miller who tapped the puck in along the left post to tie it 1-1.

However, it didn't stay tied for long. As was the case last night, the Buckeyes had an answer to the Wolverines offense. 31 seconds after the Wolverines tied it up; Sean Collins put Ohio State back on top with a rocket from the top of the left circle that beat Ruden's glove. But that was all the Buckeyes would get as the second period ended with the visitors on top 2-1.

12 seconds into the final period, Brandon Kaleniecki scored his fifth goal in as many games to tie the game 2-2. After struggling on the forecheck in the first two periods, a mid-game adjustment did the trick for the Wolverines as a lock along the left boards by Andrew Ebbett created an Ohio State turnover. Ebbett grabbed the loose puck and found Kaleniecki on the right post for the game-tying goal.

"Coach came in and changed the forecheck up a little bit. They were breaking out way too easily in the first two periods," Ebbett said afterwards. "It was a good coaching move in the second intermission."

Two minutes later the Wolverines went on top for good. Travis Turnball's shot from the right faceoff dot trickled through the legs of Caruso to give Michigan their first and only lead of the night.

Ohio State would have one last chance in the final minutes, but an outstanding effort by Noah Ruden kept the puck out of the net.

"At first, I was a little concerned when we didn't score an empty-netter. I thought we had some time down there," said Ruden. "I'm thinking to myself when we miss the net with 30 seconds left that they are going to come back down the ice and get a chance. That's just life. It was a mad scramble and I was just trying to cover the puck anywhere I could. I think I finally got my skate on it."

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