Six power-play goals.
That's all it took for the Gophers men's hockey team to beat the second-highest scoring team in the nation Saturday night in Columbus, Ohio.
After trailing 3-0 and 4-2 at Value City Arena, the Gophers edged Ohio State 6-5 on defenseman Jake Bischoff's goal at 15 minutes, 34 seconds of the third period. No need to ask if it came on a power play. All of Minnesota's goals did.
The Gophers were 6-for-10 on the power play; OSU 2-for-5.
Twice the home team received 5-minute major penalties, and the Gophers made the No. 12 Buckeyes pay dearly, scoring twice each time.
"It was a big win for us," Gophers coach Don Lucia said. "We were down some bodies and had to mix and match our lines a bit all night.
"It was one of those games we felt like we were never out of it, and the power play got humming when we needed it to. It was just one of those nights that pucks were going in."
The second major penalty came at 11 minutes of the third period. It was on the Buckeyes' Luke Stork for checking from behind with his team ahead 5-4.
The Gophers' Vinni Lettieri tied the score 5-5 with a shot from the top of the left circle at 12:34. It was his second goal of the game. Both on the power play.
Bischoff got in on the scoring frenzy at 15:34, with a long blast from the high slot. Only 26 seconds remained in the man advantage.
"We did a good job getting pucks to the net from the point and from the flanks," Bischoff said. "We were able to put a few timely rebounds in.
"We were clicking tonight, and it was good enough to get the job done."
His third goal of the season gave Minnesota the lead for the first time. And it proved to be the game-winner.
The Gophers' victory, combined with Wisconsin's 4-2 loss to Penn State, gave No. 5 Minnesota (18-8-2, 9-3 Big Ten) sole possession of first place in the conference.
"It was great that we had every single guy on the team selling out to fight back and get a big road win," said Lettieri, who extended his points streak to a career-high six games. "We did the little things right, and that was highlighted by [Tyler] Sheehy's big block" near the end of the game.
As to whether the Gophers' six power-play goals are a program record, it's uncertain. The team's sports information director said in an e-mail that statistic is not kept.
Ohio State (14-8-6, 5-6-1-1) built a 3-0 lead against the Gophers by early in the second period. After Matt Miller's power-play goal in the first for the Buckeyes, Mason Jobst and Dakota Joshua scored in the first 5 ½ minutes of the second.
That's when the Gophers came alive. Only 46 seconds after Joshua's goal, Lettieri scored his first goal. Teammate Brent Gates got the next one at 12:31, cutting OSU's lead to 3-2.
Nick Schilkey, the Big Ten's leading goal-scorer, restored the Buckeyes' two-goal at 14:10 with his 22nd goal.
But the Gophers rallied again, tying the score on goals by Justin Kloos and Sheehy only 1:42 apart. Both those players also had two assists in the game and their goals came after a 5-minute major on the Buckeyes' Josh Healey for contact to the head.
Steve Johnson, another Gopher, had a career-high three assists.
The score stayed 4-4 until Tanner Laczynski's goal — at even-strength — at 8:24 of the third. The Gophers lost a puck battle behind their own net on the play, and Laczynski scored from close range out front.
Eric Schierhorn made 17 saves for the Gophers and got his conference-leading 18th win of the season. Christian Frey had 17 saves and starter Matt Tomkins 14 for OSU.