COLUMBUS, OHIO – Sampo Ranta and Jaxon Nelson scored power-play goals 26 seconds apart early in the second period to lead the No. 4 Gophers to a 5-2 victory over Ohio State on Saturday.
"I thought it was an outstanding weekend for us," Gophers coach Bob Motzko said. "We came on the trip with 24 guys, and everybody was part of [the sweep]," said coach Bob Motzko, whose Gophers won 7-1 the day before. "We just played very solid all weekend. ... We really limited their opportunities."
The power-play goals came after Collin Peters of the Buckeyes received a five-minute major and game disqualification at 1:18 for checking from behind and teammate Ryan O'Connell got a tripping penalty at the same time.
Ranta got his team-leading 12th goal of the season — tying him for the NCAA lead — at 1:59 on the 5-on-3 power play, and it proved to be the winner. After OSU got one man back, Nelson scored at 2:25 to make it 3-0 Minnesota (15-3, 11-3 Big Ten).
Ohio State (5-12-1, 5-11) countered with Tate Singleton's goal at 7:11. But defenseman Jackson LaCombe restored the Gophers' three-goal lead on a shorthanded goal with 1:01 left in the middle period. It was his second shorthanded goal in two games and the Gophers' third in three games.
Kamil Sadlocha of the Buckeyes made it 4-2 with 5:06 left.
Jonny Sorenson had the Gophers' first goal, in the eighth minute of the first period. And Sammy Walker got their fifth, an empty-netter with 20 seconds to play.
Jack LaFontaine made 28 saves for the Gophers, Evan Moyse 22 for the Buckeyes.
"It was a team weekend, and it sets up a fun one next weekend," Motzko said, referring to a home series against Wisconsin next weekend.
Minnesota has now won four straight games and outscored its opponents 30-5 to boost its goals-per-game average to 4.22 — an NCAA best.