Columbus, Ohio – Matt Miller’s goal for Ohio State at 14 minutes, 47 seconds of the third period broke a 1-all tie and carried the Buckeyes to a 4-1 victory over the No. 7 Gophers on Saturday night in Big Ten hockey.
No. 15 Ohio State (10-4-4, 5-4-1 Big Ten) scored two empty-net goals in the final two minutes for the final three-goal margin. The Buckeyes also won the series opener, 2-1 in overtime, so they swept the struggling Gophers.
The loss overshadowed a major lineup change the Gophers made. For the first time in his 2½ seasons at Minnesota, junior Eric Schierhorn didn’t start in goal. His streak ended at 94 consecutive starts — the fourth longest in NCAA history.
Sophomore Mat Robson, who became eligible on Friday, was in the nets. Robson, of Mississauga, Ontario, played for the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League last season and was a first-team All-Star with a 1.94 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage.
Robson stopped 22 of the 24 shots he faced, including 13 in the first period.
Minnesota (10-9-1, 4-7-1-1) is now 1-7-1 on the road and has scored two or fewer goals in five of the past six games.
Mason Jobst gave Ohio State a 1-0 lead in the opening period, scoring with just over three minutes left with a shot over Robson’s right shoulder. Minnesota tied the score in the second on Brent Gates’ sixth goal of the season with four minutes left in the period. Just after a power play, Gates tried to make a pass attempt, but the puck ricocheted off the skate of a Buckeyes defender and just inside the near post before Buckeyes goalie Sean Romeo could react.
Casey Mittelstadt and Steve Johnson had assists on the goal.
After Miller’s goal, Tanner Laczynski and Jobst scored 57 seconds apart with Robson on the bench for an extra skater.
Part of the Gophers’ scoring problem is their stagnant power play. It was 0-for-5 in both losses to Ohio State, which came into the series with a 91.5 percent success rate killing penalties — the best in Division I hockey.
Ohio State’s Romeo had 33 saves, 13 in the third period.
The Gophers will be off now for 20 days for final exams and the holidays before playing Army on at home.