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December 2, 2013

Mac Bennett nets game-winner to beat OSU 5-4

The Michigan hockey team doesn't want to make a habit out of this, but just like Friday, the Wolverines beat Ohio State in dramatic fashion, netting the game-winner at 18:25 of the third period after blowing a 4-1 lead.

On Friday, the Maize and Blue led 3-2 late in the third period when a defensive giveaway led to an OSU goal. U-M would win it when sophomore forward Andrew Copp scored on a breakaway, off a pass from senior captain Mac Bennett, at 3:38 of the extra session.

Monday, it was Bennett's turn to play the hero, sneaking into the play unseen and taking a cross-ice pass from fellow defender Mike Chiasson for a tap-in goal with 1:35 remaining. It was Bennett's first goal of the season. The Wolverines held off a final flurry from the Buckeyes to secure the 5-4 win.

Michigan led 1-0 after one period despite getting outshot 12-4. Junior forward Zach Hyman netted his first marker of the season off a feed from sophomore Boo Nieves.

After Ohio State tied the score at 3:47 of the second, U-M answered at 5:06 on a rebound goal from freshman J.T. Compher. The rookie forward picked up the Wolverines' third goal also, at 14:03 of the second - his fifth this season - and when first-year defenseman Michael Downing scored his first career goal 2:49 into the third period, the rout was on.

Someone forgot to tell the Buckeyes, though, as they rallied with three goals in a 4:24 span to tie the score at 14:31 of the third period. It wasn't the best stretch for sophomore goalie Steve Racine, starting for the first time since Nov. 16 as he seeks to be on equal footing with freshman netminder (and likely No. 1) Zach Nagelvoort. However, in the first two periods, Racine made a strong push, recording 24 saves en route to a 39-save game.

With all the momentum on OSU's side, it seemed likely that the Buckeyes would be the next to score, and at the very least that this one was headed for a second consecutive overtime between the rivals, but Bennett took a gamble, exposing the back line if Ohio State could have forced a turnover, and capitalized when his team needed someone to step up.

Michigan improved to 10-2-1 on the year, and will not play a real game again until Dec. 11 when it welcomes Ferris State (U-M will entertain the U.S. Under-18 team in exhibition format Thursday).

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