Same result versus a different decent team for the Ohio State Men's hockey team.
The Buckeyes have now fallen to a miserable 7-14-2 overall and 2-7 in Big Ten Play while unranked Minnesota improves to 13-9-3 overall and 4-2-3 in Big Ten play.
The Bucks got the Big Ten Network showcase tonight at Minnesota, but had that expected result and it was ugly from the get go. Minnesota went on the power play at 15:10 of the first and would score just 70 seconds into it on a goal by freshman Leon Bristedt. Sophomore forward Justin Kloos put home a rebound to put the Golden Gophers up to 2-0 at 15:32. Shots were 17-6 in favor of Minnesota in the first. Just the flat out domination you're accustomed to seeing when Ohio State plays a good team these days.
Anthony Greco would make it a 2-1 game at 5:09 of the second but just 3:10 later, at 8:19, Travis Boyd scored to put Minnesota back up two. 2-1 was the closest the Buckeyes were going to get tonight. Just under three minutes later, at 11:10 of the second, Christian Isackson scored for Minnesota to make it 4-1.
Things wouldn't get much better for the Buckeyes in the third period as Minnesota continued to keep the Buckeyes off even the shots on goal sheet, with just one over the first half of the third period despite being behind. Nick Oddo would score one unassisted in garbage time at 18:10, but the game was well over by that point. Minnesota just kept pushing harder and while Christian Frey held them at bay for the most part and got his save percentage for the game over .900, OSU's offense couldn't keep them in it.
Frey got the start for the Buckeyes once again and put up a decent game in terms of save percentage, but you're just not going to win too many games when you allow four goals. It's far from his fault as the defense is just giving up far too many shots and he can't be expected to put up superhuman numbers like he did last season; he hasn't done it this season besides some outliers like his 60 save performance against Miami (not surprisingly, in a loss).
There's no point in going back to Matt Tomkins as his insanely low .878 save percentage will probably not allow a team this offensively anemic to win outside of a miracle.
The defense can't prevent shots right now and the offense can't generate any. It's really that simple. When you're being outshot by over twenty overall despite being down almost immediately, with things widening as the lead does, you're flouting conventional wisdom and really any kind of hockey fancy stat logic. Or you might just be a bad team. Probably the latter.
The two teams are going to play again on Saturday at 8 eastern at Minnesota once again. Don't go expecting any upsets like you got in the Big Ten Tournament last year. Our Buckeyes just are not very good. And that's being kind.