|Michigan (10-18-2) at Ohio State (13-12-7)|
|2/22/13 - 2/23/13 at Value City Arena|
|6:35pm (BTN) - 7:05pm (Comcast)|
Here we are, I'll make this short and sweet. Our last CCHA series with Ohio State is kind of like the playoffs for us, to salvage any kind of pride and dignity we must win this weekend. It's OSU so we have to win anyways, but the added importance to this series is that we are fast approaching "Worst Ever" territory for the Berenson era.
After last weekend's disaster in South Bend erased any optimism, it's time to see if this team has any fight left in them.
Cumulative Offensive Statistics
Team Offense 2.34 GPG, 44th NCAA
Powerplay 18-132, 13.64%. 51st NCAA
Ohio State is not good on offense, but it is something you would expect when you bring back most of a team who was also not very good on offense from a year before. The Buckeyes have one unit that does almost all of the scoring before a huge production drop, which explains the Ohio's record. When you're depending on four guys to carry the team, eventually when they cool off you get stuck in a lot of one goal nights.
Last week Michigan did a good job containing the feared Irish transition game, but what got them in trouble were the neutral zone turnovers that Notre Dame took advantage of and crushed Michigan. If Michigan can get mistake free hockey from Serville, Chiasson, and Mac Bennett than I'm confident that they can limit Ohio State's big line and give us a chance to win.
Defense and goalies after the break
Cumulative Defensive Statistics
|Scoring Against||OPT SOG||OPT SH%||+/-|
Team Defense 2.22 GPG, 9th NCAA
Penalty Kill 104-121, 86%. 9th NCAA
It's a shame seeing the CCHA filed with outstanding defensive groups that can't buy a win because the offense is horrible, Ohio is close to the top on that list. The Buckeyes come into the series #3 in the CCHA just a shade under two and a quarter goals per game, despite losing a three year starter in net.
If Michigan is going to have an chance this weekend they're going to have to grind it out, the good news is that Boo Nieves is red hot and doesn't seem to be slowing down. DeBlois and Copp are also creating offense which is exactally what the Wolverines need because that cute stuff isn't going to find the net, they need to get back to basics.
With the graduation of Cal Heeter on the horizon Ohio State took a bit of a gamble and brought in UMD transfer Brady Hjelle. To this point he has been nothing short of spectacular as his play in net is the reason why Ohio State isn't sitting at the bottom of the conference standings.
Looking at his stats it's obvious that scoring chances are not going to come easy tonight, Michigan needs to take advantage of every opportunity they get and get to work fast. The last thing we want is for a goalie like this to get comfortable, otherwise it's going to be a long weekend in Buckeye Land.
I haven't had one correct prediction this season, but something has to give eventually.
Michigan 3 - Ohio State 2
Michigan 2 - Ohio State 4