This team finally looks like it's delivering on the promise it showed against Providence and Miami early in the season.
The Ohio State Men's hockey team took down No. 15 Minnesota 5-2 last night in Columbus to earn a split in the weekend series with the Golden Gophers. It being Senior Night just made it all the sweeter. The Buckeyes improved to 7-11 in conference while Minnesota fell to 10-5-3 in the Big Ten.
Nick Schilkey put Ohio State up 1-0 in the first at 8:54 on a rebound off a Darik Angeli shot. OSU outshot Minnesota 8-3 in the first period, just coming out and stifling the red hot Gophers. Ohio State was buoyed by two power plays that gave Minnesota less time to focus on offense, but holding a team to three shots in a period is an accomplishment no matter how you do it.
Things wouldn't go nearly as well for the Buckeyes in the second. Taylor Cammarata scored for Minnesota at 2:23 and Vinni Lettieri put one in at 5:09. All of a sudden, Minnesota nearly had as many goals in the first five minutes of the second as they had shots on goal in the first. Matt Johnson would tie it for Ohio State though just under three minutes later at 8:07 for his thirteenth of the year. OSU had on an extra attacker due to a delayed penalty call and capitalized.
Despite still being tied, Minnesota did rebound to look like Minnesota on the shot chart though for the period as they outshot OSU 13-11. Still, again, to hold a ranked team to sixteen shots through two periods is something to be proud of, especially with Ohio State's difficulty in preventing shots this season.
But then the Buckeyes took over in the third to seal the Senior Night victory. Craig Dalrymple scored at 5:42, though not from another point shot this time. It was from the slot for once for an OSU defenseman. That gave the Bucks the 3-2 lead and they'd score two in the empty net to take the 5-2 victory. Anthony Greco scored his 15th of the season for the first empty netter and Tanner Fritz would put one in for his 11th on the year. Minnesota, even after they fell behind relatively early in the period, just was stopped cold by the OSU defense just as in the first period. The Buckeyes held Minnesota to just eight shots in the third while registering 13 themselves.
Christian Frey kept his much overdue stranglehold on the goaltending job as he got the start and stopped 22 shots while outdueling Adam Wilcox of Minnesota, who only stopped 27 out of the 30 shots he faced.
Prior to the start of the game, Ohio State celebrated its seniors in their last home game at Ohio State. Seniors Tanner Fritz, Matt Johnson, Darik Angeli, Clark Cristofoli, Justin DaSilva, Al McLean, Chad Niddery and Nick Oddo got their night and a win on it.
Ohio State will look to keep rolling next weekend as they close the regular season with last place Wisconsin in Madison.