November 23, 2020

No. 10 Buckeyes Drop Season Opener at No. 8/7 Minnesota

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Box Score

COLUMBUS, Ohio — In its first game of the season, the No. 10-ranked Ohio State men’s hockey team fell to No. 8/7 Minnesota, 4-1, in 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis. The Buckeyes (0-1-0, 0-1-0-0-0-0 B1G) and Gophers (3-0-0, 3-0-0-0-0-0 B1G) will close the two-game series at 8:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, with the game on BTN, the Fox Sports App and Ohio State radio.

The Gophers led 2-0 after the first period. Ohio State drew within one (2-1) in the second on a Gustaf Westlund goal but Minnesota regained its two-goal edge less than three minutes later and sealed the win with a late empty net, shorthanded goal in the third. Minnesota had the edge in shots, 27-17, with Tommy Nappier making 23 saves for the Buckeyes.

Quoting Buckeye head coach Steve Rohlik

“I liked our compete until the end; we didn’t give up. We had a tough start but found our legs and had a chance until the end of the game. We just have to keep getting better and keep improving.”

Ohio State vs. Minnesota

In the First … Minnesota carried play in the stanza, outshooting the Buckeyes, 13-1. The Gophers opened the scoring at 11:22 on a Brock Faber goal from the faceoff circle and Sammy Walker extended the lead to 2-0 at 18:54, with Minnesota converting after an odd-man rush.

In the Second … Ohio State drew within one at 12:56 of the middle period. Ryan O’Connell forced a turnover in the neutral zone and Gustaf Westlund picked up the puck, coming down the right wing for a goal. Less than three minutes later the Gophers regained their two-goal edge, when Mike Koster scored on the power play. Each team had eight shots in the stanza.

In the Third … The Buckeyes were unable to rally in the stanza. Ohio State had two power play chances in the final half of the period, including 6-on-4 time with the net empty, but could not convert. Minnesota clinched the victory when Ben Meyers scored into the empty net on the penalty kill. Ohio State had an 8-6 advantage in shots in the period.

Shots … After it was outshot 13-1 in the first 20 minutes, Ohio State had the edge over the final 40, 16-14, for a 27-17 Gopher lead overall. Buckeye goalie Tommy Nappier played 58:22 and allowed three goals, making 23 saves. Minnesota’s Jack LaFontaine had 16 stops. Ohio State had 12 shot blocks, led by freshman Evan McIntyre with four, while senior Grant Gabriele had two. Minnesota had 19 blocked shots in the game.

Special Teams … Each team had three power play chances, with Minnesota netting the lone goal with the man advantage.

 New Faces … Sophomores Matt Cassidy, Mark Cheremeta and Dominic Vidoli, and freshmen Joe Dunlap, Patrick Guzzo, Evan McIntyre and Travis Treloar all saw their first game action for the Buckeyes.