Minneapolis, MN – A pair of ties at home to The Ohio State University would once have been considered an abomination of a result for the Gophers.
Times have changed.
In a mirror-image of Friday’s contest, the Gophers (4-6-3 Overall, 2-2-2 B1G) were outshot and outplayed, but managed to earn a 2-2 tie against the #5 Ohio State Buckeyes (9-4-3, 4-2-2). Minnesota was down 2-0 in the first, but fought back to tie the game and fended off a near-goal in overtime to preserve the point and salvage a decent weekend against a quality opponent.
Similar to Friday, Saturday’s first period began and Ohio State slowly but steadily began taking over the momentum of the game.
Unlike Friday, the Buckeyes turned that advantage into a lead on the scoreboard.
Ohio State scored their first at 14:27 when the Gophers abdicated the middle of the ice and the puck popped free to an all-alone Brendon Kearney in the middle of the ice. The Buckeyes added a second about 90 seconds later and 10 seconds into a powerplay as Mason Jobst netted his tenth goal of the year on a backdoor play.
It was important for Minnesota to show a spark before the period ended, and they got one when Sam Rossini scored his first of the year on a wrister from the mid-slot at 17:25. Tommy Novak and Sampo Ranta assisted on the Gopher goal to cut the Buckeye lead to 2-1.
Minnesota continued to rely on junior netminder Mat Robson to keep them in the game, as Ohio State’s quickness coupled with the Gophers’ numerous defensive-zone turnovers offered up a lot of quality chances for the Buckeyes. The Maroon & Gold fought hard to get a few chances of their own, and capitalized to tie the game at 9:14 of the second when Brent Gates crashed hard to the net and poked a loose puck sitting in the crease in to knot the score at 2-2.
Most of the remainder of the game consisted of the Gophers attempting to fend off the Ohio State attack. Minnesota was outshot 13-2 in the third period, and when that was scoreless, they were outshot 6-0 in the overtime. Ohio State had three powerplay chances in the third, and a powerplay as well in overtime. It appeared as if the Buckeyes had won it in OT on a Mason Jobst tally with just two seconds left of the penalty to kill, but the goal was called back due to the puck being played with a high stick, and in the end the Gophers settled for a hard-fought tie. The final shots on goal were 45-16 in favor of the Buckeyes.
Ohio State scored in the 3×3 overtime period to garner the extra point in the B1G standings.
Next up for the Gophers is a trip out to Yost Ice Arena to take on Quinn Hughes and the Michigan Wolverines. Both games have a 7PM Central time puck drop, and can be seen on BTN, streamed on BTN2Go, and heard on AM1130 and FM 103.5.