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Jan. 9, 2016

Box Score

Box Score

Minneapolis, Minn.— The Buckeyes (7-14-0, 3-12-0 WCHA) hung tough with the No. 3 Minnesota Golden Gophers (16-3-0, 12-3-0 WCHA) on Saturday, but ultimately fell by a score of 3-1 to kick off the second half of their WCHA schedule.

Minnesota scored first, potting a goal 16:16 into the first period to take a 1-0 lead. The start of this matchup fell somewhere in the middle when compared to the two game earlier this season; when Ohio State hosted the Gophers back in October, game one was tied after one period and game two featured a 3-1 Minnesota lead after the first 20 minutes. The Buckeyes were outshot in the first frame 11-7, the first time since Dec. 12 that they surrendered more shots in the first period.

At the 4:36 mark of the second period Minnesota would strike again to go up 2-0. Not ten minutes later, at the 13:15 point of the period, Julia McKinnon found the back of the net to cut the Ohio State deficit in half, 2-1. It was McKinnon’s second goal of the season and came unassisted, giving her the only point of the afternoon. The goal put the Buckeyes within striking distance of the third-ranked Golden Gophers, a massive improvement over the two previous matches against their WCHA foe in which they surrendered 10 total second period goals.

Ohio State kept it a one-goal game until very late in the third period when Dani Cameranesi scored her WCHA-leading 19th goal on an empty net, handing Minnesota  a 3-1 win. After being outshot in the second period 12-7, Ohio State recorded five shots on goal in the final frame, tying the Gophers’ total.

One of the numbers that stuck out most when the game was done was Minnesota’s zero power play goals on two chances. The Gophers have successfully converted a staggering 43.6 percent of their power play chances, nearly 15 percentage points higher than the next team and they’re the only team converting above a 30 percent clip. Ohio State’s penalty kill has seen marked improvements over the last few games, as evidenced by stifling Minnesota today. As a matter of fact, OSU’s penalty kill the last five games is a top-10 unit in the country.

The Buckeyes will look to win at Minnesota for the first time since 2007 tomorrow afternoon, with puck drop slated for 3:07 ET.