If Ohio State has aspirations of making noise in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs next month it will have to learn how to quiet the opposition's offense.
The Buckeyes were unable to stop a talented Michigan team that had played uninspired most of the season until seeing scarlet and gray.
And for the second straight night the Wolverines had their way with the Buckeyes in Value City Arena, winning 6-3 to spoil Senior Night before a season-best crowd of 9,278.
"I told their coach that's probably the best weekend of hockey Michigan's played all year," Wolverines' coach Red Berenson said. "For whatever reason it was a good weekend for us."
Phil Di Giuseppe had two goals - one an empty-netter - and Alex Guptill broke a 3-3 tie at 5:25 of third period to give the Wolverines (12-18-2, 9-15-2-2 CCHA) their first two-game sweep in Columbus since 1991, a span of eight series.
"I think it was a combo of things," OSU senior defenseman Brandon Martell said. "You can't take anything away from Michigan. They have a great club. They played a good weekend.
"At times we mishandled the puck and created opportunities for them that we should have shut down."
Junior forward Tanner Fritz had two goals and an assist for the Buckeyes (13-14-7, 12-9-5-1) to give him 19 points (7 goals, 12 assists) while scoring in 11 of the past 13 games.
Max McCormick had the other goal at 5:16 of the second to even the score at 3 but Guptill, who had a pair of goals, got the winner in the third while the teams were skating 4-on-4. He came off the half wall and waltzed around the OSU defense before slipping the puck past senior goalie Brady Hjelle.
When Andrew Sinelli snuck one past Hjelle six minutes later to make it 5-3, OSU coach Mark Osiecki made the tough decision t pull one of the nation's best goalies.
"He's been rock solid for us, giving us an opportunity," Osiecki said. "He didn't have his A game tonight by any means. I didn't want to leave him dangling in the wind. You feel badly."
Not that Hjelle could be blamed for many of the goals. The Buckeyes were without injured blue liners Curtis Gedig and Al MacLean and were jittery under pressure the entire series.
"We haven't seen two games like that by us all year," Osiecki said. "That's not OSU hockey. That's not how we've played all year. Those goals, those breakdowns haven't happened all year. I don't know where they came from.
"It was a combination of a weekend they came at us, a combination of Michigan's talent."
Berenson agreed: "The penalty killing was good. Our power play was good. Our second periods were good. Our third period tonight was one of the better ones we had all year to win the third period convincingly and not give up a goal.
"That's the best we looked... As a team we came together tonight."
In a continuation of the crazy third period Friday in which both teams scored three times each side put up a trey through two periods Saturday thanks to soft goaltending, suspect defense and fortuitous bounces, especially for the Wolverines.
Consider their goals:
The first to tie the game at 1 went off Martell's to the stick of Andrew Copp, who was stationed just left of the goal for the opportunistic score at 8:19 of the first.
Martell then gifted the second goal that put Michigan ahead at 12:05 with an unbelievably poor turnover directly in the low slot. He settled the puck and tried to shovel a pass to partner Justin DaSilva but Michigan's Justin Selman was right there for the easy goal.
Michigan's third goal by Di Giuseppe come from behind the goal line and deflected off OSU defenseman Sam Jardine and past Hjelle.
"It wasn't necessarily great scoring chances," Berenson said. "We got lucky. We got lucky."
Osiecki could only shake his head.
"Look those three goals. They were literally gift wrapped," he said. "(Associate head coach Steve Rohlik) said it's like Christmas. It's one of those things."
That more 16,000 saw the two games - Michigan won 5-3 on Friday - was one of the few positives to come out of the weekend for the Buckeyes.
OSU still managed to clinch a first-round bye into the quarterfinals.
"Our first step was trying to earn the bye. That was a big step for us," Osiecki said.
The Buckeyes are tied for fourth with Ferris State with two games left but blew a chance to put some distance between themselves and the idle Bulldogs.
If OSU finishes ahead of Ferris State the best-of-three series with the Bulldogs will be March 15-17 at the OSU Ice Rink because Value City Arena is holding the girls basketball state tournament. If Ferris State grabs fourth, all the games will be in Big Rapids, Mich.
The Buckeyes complete the final weekend of regular season play ever in the CCHA at first-place Miami on March 1 and 2 while Ferris State is at Michigan.
For once, OSU hopes the Wolverines continue their good form of the past two games.