Gophers Beat Buckeyes 3-0 in B1G Semifinal

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Gophers Beat Buckeyes 3-0 in B1G Semifinal

Post by Eckes » Fri Mar 20 6:54 pm

Wilcox Shuts Out Ohio State, Minnesota Advances to B1G Final

Detroit, MI – “Wallcox” is back.

The Gopher goaltender and 2013-2014 B1G player of the year struggled mightily thoughout this season, but Wilcox was his old self Friday afternoon, shutting out the Ohio State Buckeyes (14-19-3) and helping Minnesota advance to the B1G Conference Championship game.

The Gophers (22-12-3) earned two early powerplay chances in the first seven minutes of the game, but didn’t scare the Ohio State defense. In fact, the first Minnesota shot on goal came somewhere after the second powerplay expired. The Buckeyes outshot the Gophers 11-9 in the period and a few of their chances were grade ‘A’ opportunities, but Adam Wilcox kept the score knotted at one through one.

Minnesota played tight in the first, but opened up in the second period and played better hockey. Sam Warning got the Gophers on the board, as a good Seth Ambroz forecheck behind the net freed up the puck for Travis Boyd, who fired a pass to Warning in the slot as he drifted into the open ice in front of OSU’s Christian Frey. Warning’s shot hit the back-crossbar of the net and gave Minnesota the only lead they’d need at 7:51 of the second.

Ohio State played hard and put tons of chances on Wilcox, but it was Minnesota that would strike first in the third to get a desperately needed insurance goal. Vinni Lettieri jammed a Ben Marshall shot past Frey to put the Gophers up 2-0 at 10:45 of the third. OSU pulled their goalie on a late powerplay chance, but Travis Boyd was able to rifle the puck all the way down the ice and into the goal to put the Gophers ahead 3-0.

Ohio State continued to fight hard, creating quite a few quality chances in the waning moments of the game, but Wilcox made a number of amazing saves (39 in total, including 22 in the third period alone) to preserve the shutout. It was Wilcox’s sixth shutout of the season and 13th of his career, tying Kellen Briggs for the all-time career shutouts mark at the University of Minnesota.

The Gophers move on to face the winner of tonight’s matchup between Michigan and Michigan State. Both MI and MSU need to win the B1G Playoff Tournament to get into the NCAAs, while the Gophers could survive a championship game loss and still make the Tournament if things fall their way. Saturday’s game starts at 7:00, on BTN, BTN2Go and AM1500 ESPN.
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