I remember last summer I’d talked about the plans for an outdoor college game at Progressive Field. In fact, I’d worried about how the weather would be a factor. Well, I got to watch the game on TV, and it was…interesting. Now, I will admit that I’m not a Buckeyes fan, nor am I a Wolverines fan. What I am is a hockey fan, and that’s how I approached the game. And while I missed most of the third period because I was prepping for the evening’s Blackhawks game, I did make some observations on what I did watch.
- The weather was a perfect 27 degrees Fahrenheit with a light wind, and the ice was beautiful. It was after sunset, so no danger of the sun melting the surface.
- I’m pretty sure the commentators said the crowd was about 40,000. I wouldn’t discredit that, since these are rabid fans and they’ll drive 3 1/2 hours (for both sides) to see their teams.
- Going into this game, the Buckeyes were second in the CCHA rankings behind Minnesota-Duluth, while Michigan was 15th. I expected the Buckeyes to just decimate the Wolverines.
- Brutus the Buckeye was at glass-level half-cheering and half-heckling. Typical mascot.
- The Wolverines scored first with two goals in the first period. The commentators kept saying that the Buckeyes’ goalie was very good, so I considered them to be flukey goals.
- The Buckeyes spent waaaaay too much time in their own zone. I’ve seen enough of that from my boys when they’re not on top of their game.
- I’d like to know how the Ohio State marching band spelled the script O-H-I-O on the ice without falling.
- Second period comes, Ohio State scores. Michigan’s goalie gave a reaction like “WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED?”
- Then the Wolverines scored twice in about a minute. That’s when I decided that it wasn’t a fluke, but the goalie was sievey. The coach decided that as well and switched goalies.
- The score stayed the same for the rest of the game. Final score was 4-1 Michigan.
- One last observation: Michigan’s coach, Red Beresnson, looks like a college professor of mine, a former police officer who taught three of my classes.
All in all, it seemed like a good game, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing some of those young men on NHL ice in the future. And maybe this game will be a good example for the league on future Winter Classic sites!