Minnesota traveled to Columbus to start the final road swing of the Big Ten season with a date on Friday night to take on the Buckeyes. In the nets, it was Minnesota’s stalwart Adam Wilcox versus Christian Frey for Ohio State. Key question: would Ohio State take steps to swing the season series back towards a split?
Ohio State had the first three official shots on goal, with three different players taking shots. Minnesota’s first shot of the game was taken by Mike Reilly but Justin Kloos hammered the rebound past Frey for the even strength goal. The marker at 2:03 was Kloos’ eleventh of the year. Mike Reilly and Taylor Cammarata were credited with the assists.
At 3:09, Minnesota’s Jake Bischoff would go for roughing, giving Ohio State the game’s first man-advantage situation. Shots at five minutes in were even at four, and Ohio State was unable to get on the board in its two-minute advantage.
Ohio State was trying to exhibit its own style of play in the Minnesota zone, but Minnesota was keeping the Buckeyes on the perimeter. As the first ten minutes matured, it was Ohio State who actually had more shots on goal at an 8-5 margin.
Minnesota drew another penalty when Ohio State’s Sam Jardine would go for interference, giving Minnesota a power play at 14:39. Minnesota’s Kyle Rau would put the biscuit in at 16:05, perfecting the power play for the Gophers. Travis Boyd and Mike Reilly got the assists on the power play tally.
As one period came to an end, shots favored Ohio State 13-9, and while Ohio State was 0-1 on the man-up, Minnesota was a perfect 1-1.
Ohio State put the first two shots on goal of the second period, and an interesting point through three minutes played was the non-existence of any penalties. That means the game was played at a high level, yet it was cleanly played.
At 5:08, Ohio State’s Sam Jardine would go to the box for elbowing, giving Minnesota its second power play of the night. Minnesota was 1-1 with three shots prior to its beginning, but Minnesota’s power play failed to put a biscuit in the basket.
At 9:48, Ohio State’s Ryan Dzingel was assessed a contact to the head minor after shouldering Kyle Rau to the ice. Seconds later, at 10:14, Taylor Cammarata unleashed a Howitzer that found its way to the net, putting Minnesota up 3-0. Mike Reilly and Kyle Rau assisted. At 10:50, Ohio State would claw one back off the Gophers, as Tanner Fritz scored his sixth of the season on even strength from Max McCormick, with the assist being his sixteenth. Man, how time flew in that 1:02 span.
Connor Reilly and Vinni Lettieri would score even strength goals at 13:01 and 13:22 respectively, making the score 5-1 in favor of Minnesota. Justin Holl and Brady Skjei would assist on Reilly’s goal while Lettieri’s goal came with assists from Connor Reilly and Gabe Guertler.
As forty minutes came and went in Columbus, shots on goal favored Minnesota 24-21, and at 19:45, Ohio State’s Nick Oddo was called for roughing, giving Minnesota its fourth power play of the night which extended into the third period.
The remainder of the Minnesota power play from Oddo's penalty would come up empty for the Gophers, but Ohio State had work to do. At 2:02, Minnesota's Gabe Guertler would get a holding call, giving Ohio State their second power play of the night. The Buckeye power play would come up short much like the previous man-advantage. So much for leading the Big Ten on the advantage, hey?
At 15:05, Minnesota's Travis Boyd would be called for hooking, giving Ohio State a third power play which they'd not capitalize on. Other than that, the third period was skated cleanly like the majority of the game itself.
When the game was all set and done, Minnesota took all of the points available, but with Wisconsin's victory at Penn State, the Gophers couldn't clinch the Big Ten title. They'll look to do that on Saturday. Shots finished 33-31 for Minnesota while power plays had Minnesota at 2-4 and Ohio State at 0-3. A complete scoresheet is attached by clicking here.
Minnesota and Ohio State take to the ice at 5:30pm CT on Saturday.
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!