Icers Snowed Under In Ann Arbor

The Ohio State hockey team ran into a buzzsaw Saturday night, and it didn't make things easier on itself on the way to a 6-1 loss to No. 8 Michigan in Ann Arbor's Yost Ice Arena.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The era of good feelings for the Ohio State hockey team – which entered a two-game series against No. 8 Michigan having won two of three games, including one against the No. 2 team in the nation – came to a swift and dramatic close in Ann Arbor Saturday night.

The Buckeyes showed none of the resilience that had marked their recent play and all of their youth as Michigan rolled to a 6-1 win in front of 6,889 vociferous and eventually gloating fans in Yost Ice Arena. Michigan (6-2-0, 3-1-0-0 CCHA) swept the series by virtue of its 4-3 win in the series opener.

Michigan built a 6-0 lead, received two goals from sophomore Louie Caporusso and chased Ohio State freshman goaltender Cal Heeter. The Wolverines did it every which way, netting three power-play tallies and a shorthanded goal.

"I thought they had more jump tonight, Michigan did, and we were flat in the first period," OSU head coach John Markell said. "We were still in it at 2-0, but bad mental decisions that I don't know where they come from, but obviously we have to address them. It's costing us games."

The bad mental decisions bore an eerie similarity to the ones the Buckeyes committed during Friday night's loss. But unlike the series opener, in which the Buckeyes' energy helped carry play and stay in the game, Ohio State (2-5-1, 1-4-1-1) didn't have many answers on this night.

Part of the problem might have been youth of Ohio State, which received its only goal from Zac Dalpe. The Buckeyes have five just upperclassmen and brought only four – goaltender Joseph Palmer didn't make the trip – to Ann Arbor. And those players – seniors Zach Pelletier, Nick Biondo and Corey Elkins and junior Mathieu Picard – combined for a single goal, one assist, 18 penalty minutes and a minus-4 rating on the weekend.

"Those guys have to learn that if they're going to be seniors they have to start acting like seniors," Markell said. "Zach is one of the captains. He has to be a part of it in the dressing room, off the ice getting guys ready. So that flatness is in part to them."

The mistakes started 2:32 into the game when Biondo took a boarding penalty. On the ensuing power play, Caporusso snuck a shot from the right boards through Heeter's legs at 4:13 for the start the Wolverines, who were outplayed Friday night, needed.

"We started better tonight and we built on that," U-M head coach Red Berenson said. "That was probably our best team effort of the season thus far."

Ohio State didn't have any shots on net until past the 10-minute mark, and the lack of offense finally came back to haunt the Buckeyes at 17:32 when Tim Miller, Friday night's hero, finished a purposeful rush by putting Caporusso's centering pass by Heeter.

But the real killer came 8:23 into the second period after Ohio State had started to build some offense and earned a power play. A man up, defenseman Shane Sims thoughtlessly gave the puck away behind his own net to U-M freshman David Wohlberg, who wrapped it around and by Heeter for his first collegiate goal.

"The shorthanded goal killed us," Markell said. "What a thing to do to a kid. All the kid had to do was move the puck."

It was essentially game, set and match from there. Moments later, captain Peter Boyd fell along his attacking blue line, allowing U-M to earn an odd-man break that ended with senior Travis Turnbull's wrist-shot goal from the slot at 10:45.

Heeter's night ended there in favor of Dustin Carlson, who started Friday night, and the sophomore was powerless to stop the first U-M shot he faced. With Michigan on the power play, nifty passing from Greg Pateryn at the top of the slot to Brandon Naurato in the right circle to Aaron Palushaj in the left circle allowed the "toe" in the tic-tac-toe to rip his seventh goal of the year past Carlson at 12:00.

Caporusso topped him with his eighth goal of the year and sixth point of the weekend with a power-play tally at 6:27 of the third. Michigan's first line of Palushaj, Miller and Caporusso finished with seven goals on the weekend, while the Buckeyes' top unit of Boyd and classmates Sergio Somma and John Albert finished with zero tallies.

"I think we had one goal from our top three lines this weekend," Markell said. "You're not going to win very many games like that. They have to learn how to generate in a game like this."

Dalpe netted his goal, the fourth of his freshman campaign, on the power play from a sharp angle at 10:35 of the third. Elkins assisted.

Heeter, who earned his first career win last Saturday night at second-ranked Denver and earned the start this weekend because of it, made 12 saves, while Carlson had seven. Michigan's Bryan Hogan was equal to the task of 25 of OSU's 26 saves, stopping the rare organized Buckeye attack with ease.

U-M was 3 for 8 on the power play while OSU was 1-9.

The sweep was Michigan's first over the Buckeyes since Jan. 9-10, 2004, in Yost. OSU went on to win the CCHA tournament later that season.

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