Phil Di Giuseppe
Feb. 24, 2013
Site: Columbus, Ohio (Value City Arena)
Score: Michigan 6, Ohio State 3
Records: U-M (12-18-2, 8-15-2-2 CCHA), Ohio State (13-14-7, 12-9-5-1 CCHA)
Next U-M Event: Friday, March 1 -- vs. Ferris State (Yost Ice Arena), 7:05 p.m.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- With the end of the CCHA regular season just one week away, the weekend sweep of Ohio State appears to have the University of Michigan ice hockey team rounding into playoff form just in the nick of time.
Saturday night (Feb. 23), two goals by Phil Di Giuseppe (Maple, Ontario) and a highlight-reel winning goal by Alex Guptill (Newmarket, Ontario) in the third period led the Wolverines to a 6-3 win and a sweep of the Buckeyes in the two-game weekend series at Value City Arena. It is only the second two-game sweep the Wolverines have been able to muster this season, and both have come in the month of February. The Wolverines beat Michigan State on Feb. 1 and Feb. 2 for their first sweep.
The Buckeyes came out hitting, but U-M's forechecking kept OSU off balance. Still, it was Ohio State scoring the first goal when Tanner Fritz scored the first of his two goals in the opening 20 minutes on the power play.
U-M answered quickly when Andrew Copp (Ann Arbor, Mich.) scored his seventh goal of the season just 21 seconds later. He found himself wide open at the left side of the net after a Guptill shot attempt deflected off an OSU defenseman to Copp. Justin Selman (Upper Saddle River, N.J.) made it 2-1 Michigan on possibly the easiest goal he will ever score. Buckeye Brandon Martell lazily slid the puck to Selman in front of the net, and the U-M winger fired it home from point-blank range for his third goal of the campaign.
Fritz scored his second goal of the period on a shot from the blue line as U-M goalie Steve Racine (Williamsville, N.Y.) was tangled up in front of the net with a Wolverine defenseman and an OSU forward. The goal was reviewed, but Racine was out of the crease, and the marker counted for the Buckeyes.
Michigan put the red light on first in the second stanza as Di Giuseppe got his first of the night when he tried to pass the puck from behind the goal line to Cristoval 'Boo' Nieves (Baldwinsville, N.Y.), who was cutting to the net. The puck hit a Buckeye defenseman, bounced off the OSU goalie and into the net to give U-M a 3-2 lead.
This time it was OSU that came back quickly. A turnover at the Michigan blue line gave Ohio State's number one line a three-on-two break. Max McCormick beat Racine from the right side to knot the game at 3-3 less than three minutes after U-M had taken the lead.
Guptill then put Michigan up for good at 5:25 of the third period with a magnificent goal. Taking a pass from A.J. Treais (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), he faked Martell, put the puck through his legs to set up a perfect backhand shot past the left pad of OSU's goalie for his 11th goal of the season and third goal of the weekend.
Michigan did not let up as Andrew Sinelli (Dexter, Mich.) jumped right into the play from serving a two-minute penalty for interference and scored the insurance marker at 11:20. It was his second goal of the season. Di Guiseppe added his second goal of the night, his third of the weekend and the eighth goal of the season with an empty-net goal at 15:56.
The Wolverines play Ferris State next Friday and Saturday at Yost Ice Arena to end the regular season. Both game start at 7:35 p.m. The CCHA playoffs will begin the following week.
Michigan has made the NCAA Tournament for 22 consecutive years, and it will need to win the CCHA Playoffs to continue the streak.