The second semifinal at the Big Ten Tournament featured Ohio State and Minnesota in St. Paul, MN. Christian Frey got the start in net for the Buckeyes while Adam Wilcox went for Minnesota.
Minnesota got the first two shots on goal of the game as 2:30 elapsed, as Tom Serratore and Justin Holl put the biscuit on goal for the Gophers. Neither team had a power play through the first five minutes, but Christian Frey had the save of the period in the first few minutes.
The opening minutes of Buckeyes-Gophers had more flow to it than did the combined games of both quarterfinals and Friday’s first semifinal, but the feeling was that the game was going to see goals at a premium.
Both goaltenders were saving pucks that came their way as shots on goal favored Minnesota 5-4 at the 10:00 mark.
At 11:27, Minnesota got the first power play of the game when Darik Angeli put Ohio State in a two-minute hole after a cross check. The Gophers hit one post during their two-minute advantage, but no goals were scored and as the period was coming to an end, Minnesota was up 9-6 in shots.
Nate Condon gave Minnesota its first trip to the box at 15:05 when he took an interference minor, giving Ohio State its first power play of the night. Ohio State would capitalize at 15:20, as Nick Schilkey redirected a one-timer past Wilcox for the goal. Tanner Fritz and Max McCormick got assists on the power play marker. Travis Boyd took a hooking minor at 18:51, giving Ohio State its second power play that’d extend into the middle frame.
At the end of twenty minutes, shots on goal favored Minnesota 12-8.
The start of the second period allowed the remainder of Boyd’s penalty to expire against Ohio State’s power play, but at 1:20, Ohio State’s Chad Niddery was called for elbowing. The call gave Minnesota their second power play of the game.
At 3:55, Ohio State’s Drew Brevig was called for slashing, giving Minnesota their third power play of the game. At 4:47, the punisher for Minnesota named Kyle Rau capitalized on the advantage. Taylor Cammarata and Travis Boyd assisted Rau in his effort.
At 7:52, Minnesota’s Mike Reilly gave Ohio State their third power play when he was assessed a two-minute minor for hooking. The Buckeyes’ advantage unit would get walled at Wilcox’s net, but the Buckeyes went back on the power play at 11:13 when Jake Parenteau was assessed a kneeing minor.
Ohio State couldn’t take advantage of Parenteau’s mistake and the game was still tied with just over seven minutes in the second period. Shots were 16-15 in Minnesota’s favor as the second period went down its stretch.
At the end of forty minutes, the game was tied at one and Minnesota earned a 21-19 edge in shots on goal.
There were a combined three shots in the first four minutes of play in the third period, and much like with the opening three games of the weekend, a mistake would likely prove costly. Minnesota got a bench minor at 5:17 for too many men. Ohio State would get its fifth power play of the night. The penalty didn't help the Buckeyes power play, as OSU would flounder to 1-5 on the advantage just over eight minutes into the third period.
Ohio State's Ryan Dzingel would un-tie the game at 9:08 on even strength giving the Buckeyes the slimmest lead in hockey. Tyler Lundey assisted Dzingel (I'll let you buy a vowel) on the effort. This wouldn't matter but Anthony Greco tallied an empty netter at 19:33.
As the game went sixty mintes, Ohio State survived and will face Wisconsin for the Big Ten title. Shots finished 31-25 in favor of Minnesota, and the Gophers were 1-3 on the power play. Ohio State was 1-5. (Two coincidental penalties were called at 20:00 of the 3rd, but not changing the power play numbers.)
Geoff Discher is Examiner.com's Minnesota Golden Gophers Hockey Examiner as well as the National College Hockey Examiner. Leave a comment below, or feel free to reach him at Disch61@hotmail.com with comments, story ideas, or any general talk surrounding college hockey. You can find him on Facebook as well by clicking here as well as here and joining the conversation from the social media side as well. He's always chock full of fact and opinion. I’m also on Twitter @Disch_InTheVOX. Check it out!
Until next time, I'll see you at the rink!