The first night of Big Ten conference play on the Big Ten Network delivered a fantastic hockey game, with the hometown University of Michigan capturing a 4-3 overtime victory on a breakaway goal by Andrew Copp in front of a sellout crowd of 5800 people at Michigan's Yost Ice Arena.
The Wolverines held three separate one-goal leads in this game, but each time, Ohio State would answer back to tie the game, including Anthony Greco's goal at 16:47 of the third period to tie the game at three apiece and send the game to overtime. But in overtime, the Buckeyes could not contain Copp, who streaked in on Ohio State goalie Logan Davis and beat him low to the blocker side to give the Wolverines their first ever Big Ten conference victory.
Davis finished the evening with 34 saves in a losing effort, while Michigan goalie Zach Nagelvoort made 32 saves in the win.
Michigan moves to 9-2-1 overall on the season, while the Buckeyes drop to 8-5-0.
2:51 Travis Lynch from Alex Kile and Evan Allen 1-0 Michigan
Lynch took a pass from behind the net. He skated towards the front of the net, and spun on his backhand to shoot the puck. The low shot beat Davis low to the far side of the net.
Ryan Dzingel from Max McCormick (power play) 1-1 tie
Just seconds into an Ohio State power play, Dzingel took a pass from the center of the ice by McCormick and fired a one-time slap shot that Nagelvoort got a piece of the shot with his glove, but it deflected past him and into the net.
JT Compher from Luke Moffatt and (power play) 2-1 Michigan
Moffatt fired a shot from the left circle that was blocked by defenseman Justin DaSilva. The rebound popped right out to Compher in front of the net, who put the rebound into an empty net.
14:26 Max McCormick from Alex Szczechura and Tanner Fritz (power play) 2-2 tie
Ohio State worked the puck around the perimeter on their power play. Fritz took the puck along the left boards, passed it to Szczechura behind the net, who then passed it to McCormick standing in front of the net, who one-timed the puck between Nagelvoort's legs.
19:443Alex Guptill from JT Compher 3-2 Michigan
Compher won a face-off back to Guptill, who one-timed a perfect shot into the upper corner of the net.
16:47 Anthony Greco from Tanner Fritz 3-3 tie
Fritz made a beautiful pass out of the corner to Greco, who was streaking down the slot and directed the puck past Nagelvoort to tie the game.
3:38 Andrew Copp from Mac Bennett and Nolan DeJong 4-3 Michigan
Copp took a long stretch pass from Bennett at the far blue line and streaked in alone on goal. He fired a low, hard shot for the game-winner.
-This game was listed as a sellout, and the building looked pretty full. Alex Guptill said after the game that this was the first time since his freshman year that he looked up in the stands and couldn't see any empty seats(Which may be telling about what's happened to the atmosphere in Yost, but that's discussion for another day). With very few students around, it wasn't a particularly loud crowd, but still a good showing for opening night of the Big Ten.
-Ohio State goalie Logan Davis looked pretty shaky on the first goal he allowed tonight, but afterwards, settled down and made some really nice saves to give Ohio State a chance to steal some points on the evening. He made a couple important saves in the first period, including a glove save on Travis Lynch and a clear shot by Mac Bennett to keep it a 1-0 game. There wasn't much he could do on the other three goals he allowed. For a kid that was a Midget AAA goalie last year, and not a particularly noteworthy one at that, he did not look out of place at all on this stage.
Interestingly, after the game, Andrew Copp said Michigan's goalie coach said after the first period that shooting high blocker and low blocker were the best two places to shoot on Davis.
- Overall, it seemed like Michigan had the edge in play, but could never quite put the Buckeyes away. The Wolverines had multiple opportunities to go up by two goals in the first and second period, and could never quite do it; only to have Ohio State come back later in the period and tie the game.
-It looked like Ohio State would escape the second period tied at 2 with Michigan. The Buckeyes survived a few close calls in the final minute of the period, including a rebound attempt that was poked through the legs of Logan Davis, but slid just wide. But on the ensuing face-off, Alex Guptill fired a rocket of a shot into the upper corner to give the Wolverines the lead after 40 minutes.
-Michigan shot the puck from just about everywhere tonight. They finished the game with 93 shots attempted, including 30 of which were blocked by Ohio State. Red Berenson wasn't particular pleased about the number of blocked shots, saying after the game that his team needs to be better about being deceptive, and making plays quicker in order to get more shots through.
But overall, it seemed to be a pretty deliberate strategy by Michigan to get as many shots towards the net as they could, even if it meant shooting from poor angles, and then crashing the net and trying to bang home rebounds.
That reflects in the final Corsi numbers as well. Michigan had a 79-53 even strength shot attempt advantage, for a 59.8%- 40.2% advantage. Without checking, I'd say those 79 even strength shot attempts--73 in regulation--is by far the biggest number I've seen so far this year.
-Red Berenson wasn't particularly pleased with his team's effort, despite the win. He was disappointed in both the team's penalty killing and in giving up a third period lead like they did. He said he felt some of the players may have gotten caught up in the "expectations and hoopla" of Big Ten play, and that they needed to settle down and play their game.
-The best player on the ice tonight was Ohio State's Ryan Dzingel, who was a terror on both ends of the ice. His power play goal was his only shot on goal of the game, but he was dangerous in the offensive end, and great defensively. He broke up a number of passes in the neutral zone, and did great work on the penalty kill.
-Michigan's overtime winner was a great play by two of Michigan's captains in Mac Bennett and Andrew Copp. Copp said that Michigan focused a lot in practice this past week on keeping the center high, and that they felt Ohio State kept their defensemen spread out wide, and there may be an opportunity to exploit that. Bennett made an absolutely perfect stretch pass to Copp, who caught the puck in stride, and was able to beat the two defenders.
-More trivia than anything, but Michigan's game-winning goal was scored by Copp, who is a native of Ann Arbor, on Logan Davis, who is a native of Columbus. I can't imagine that has happened too many times over the course of the Michigan/OSU series.