MINNEAPOLIS – The No. 6-ranked Ohio State men’s hockey team dropped the series opener at Minnesota, 6-3, Friday in 3M Arena at Mariucci. The teams were tied at one after the first period. Ohio State took a 2-1 lead in the second, but the Gophers went on a four-goal run, with two in the second and two in the third, to go ahead 5-2. The teams traded goals in the final 1:10 for the final.
The teams will close the regular season series at 7:30 p.m. CT/8:30 p.m. ET Saturday in Minneapolis, with the game on BTN and the Fox Sports app. Ohio State is 15-7-3 overall and 8-5-2-0 in Big Ten play, while Minnesota is now 9-10-4 and 4-5-4-3 in the league.
Quoting Buckeye head coach Steve Rohlik
“We started off and played our game and took care of the puck. When you start turning pucks over it plays into their transition and gives them opportunities. It just wasn’t good enough tonight. Give Minnesota credit.”
Ohio State vs. Minnesota
In the First … The teams were tied at one after 20 minutes. Quinn Preston put the Buckeyes on the board with his 10th goal of the year. Austin Pooley found Preston in the slot and his backhand went by the Gopher goalie at 11:06. Ryan O’Connell also assisted on the tally. The Gophers tied the game at 17:23 when Ben Myers drove the net and scored. Shots were 11-7 in favor of the Buckeyes.
In the Second … Ohio State regained the lead at 6:39, with Sam McCormick winning the puck battle in the Gopher zone and feeding Tate Singleton for a one-timer right in front. The Gophers scored the next two, at 11:21 and 13:39, to take a 3-2 lead. Minnesota outshot the Buckeyes, 10-6, in the period.
In the Third … The Gophers extended the lead to 4-2 at 14:19, as a shot from Jaxon Nelson went high, bounced back over the net and off Buckeye goalie Tommy Nappier and in. The play was called no goal on the ice, but overturned after video review. The Buckeyes pulled Nappier for the extra skater with more than four minutes remaining and Minnesota took advantage, with a goal at 16:58. Carson Meyer scored a power play goal for the Buckeyes at 18:50. Gordi Myer and Minnesota native James Marooney assisted on the goal, with Marooney notching his first career point. Meyer has eight goals this year. The Gophers closed out the game with an empty net goal at 19:36. The Gophers had the shot lead, 11-7, in the stanza.
Shots … The Buckeyes were outshot, 28-24, in the game. Nappier, who missed the last three games with injury, had 22 saves in 58:10 for the Buckeyes. Minnesota’s Jack JaFontaine had 21 stops in all 60 minutes. Ohio State blocked 12 shots, led by Wyatt Ege with three.
Special Teams … Ohio State was 1-for-3 on the power play and killed the one Gopher chance with the man advantage. The Buckeyes are 25-for-99 on the power play (25.3%) this season, ranking in the Top 10 in the NCAA.