COLUMBUS, OHIO – The last time they met, Ohio State broke a six-game losing streak against the Gophers with an eight-goal outburst in early December at Mariucci Arena.
This time the No. 12 Buckeyes only needed five goals and a midgame rally to beat Minnesota 5-4 on Friday night in Big Ten hockey.
“We knew we didn’t want to get into a shootout with them, and their guys made big plays for them tonight,” Gophers coach Don Lucia said. “We had chances, and we battled back, but they earned the win in the third period.”
Despite the loss, the No. 5 Gophers (17-8-2, 8-3 Big Ten) remained in a tie for first place in the Big Ten with Wisconsin because the Badgers lost 6-3 to Penn State.
After falling behind 2-0 against the Buckeyes, the Gophers took a 3-2 lead on Vinni Lettieri’s goal at 10 minutes, 15 seconds of the second period, but 49 seconds later, Kevin Miller started OSU’s comeback, tying the score again.
Mason Jobst’s power-play goal at 3:47 of the third put the Buckeyes (14-7-6, 5-5-1-1) ahead 4-3, and Tanner Laczynski got the eventual winner at 15:07.
The Gophers, who had won eight of 10 games, got a goal from captain Justin Kloos with 1:53 left to close within one. But that was it.
Ohio State, the nation’s second-highest scoring team at 4.1 goals per game, took a 2-0 lead in the opening period on goals by Matthew Weis and Nick Schilkey, in the eighth and 17th minute, respectively.
The Gophers tied the score early in the second period. Brent Gates got a power-play goal at 46 seconds and Rem Pitlick scored on a breakaway at 4:09.
Eric Schierhorn made 23 saves for the Gophers, Matt Tomkins 35 shots for OSU.