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No. 12/13 Ohio State blows lead twice and loses to No. 5/4 Minnesota, 6-5

The Buckeyes had 3-0 and 5-4 leads and couldn’t hold on to complete the sweep

Big Ten Men's Ice Hockey Championship - Semifinals Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

On a night where over 1,000 stuffed animals were thrown onto the ice for the team’s annual Teddy Bear toss, Ohio State tossed away two leads of their own and fell to Minnesota by a score of 6-5.

No. 12/13 Ohio State got out to a 3-0 lead and eventually held a 5-4 lead over No. 5/4 Minnesota, but couldn’t finish them off and fell in regulation, 6-5. Matt Tomkins got the start in net for Ohio State and only saved 14 out of 17 shots for a .824 save percentage. Christian Frey came in to relieve him and allowed three more as Ohio State just fell apart.

Eric Schierhorn only saved 17 out of 22 shots on goal from Ohio State for Minnesota, but when the other team’s goaltending is even worse, you can get away with one. But on nights where you score five goals against a top five team, it’s hard to let those slip away even if the goalies just had a bad night.

Things did start off fantastically for Ohio State for the first twenty five minutes. Matt Miller scored his first career collegiate goal to put OSU up 1-0 on a shot from the point. Joshua Healey and Tanner Laczynski had the assists on the powerplay goal.

Ohio State wasn’t being dominated, being outshot only 7-5, and came out of the period with the lead. A win-win. They were holding the Golden Gophers in check and gaining a lead to go with it. The second would keep that train going.

Mason Jobst scored from the slot to extend his point streak to 14 games, on a feed from Sasha Larocque just 1:34 into the second. Dakota Joshua added a goal to make it 3-0 in favor of OSU just four minutes later, at 5:32, with Gordi Myer gaining the lone helper.

Everything was coming up aces for Ohio State. Minnesota then said enough of this.

Vinni Lettieri scored just 46 seconds after Joshua made it 3-0. Just 6:13 after that, Brent Gates made it 3-2. Suddenly this was getting dicey. Nick Schilkey gained a little breathing room back with his 22nd of the year. It initially looked like Joshua deflected it but the goal was credited to Schilkey. His .92 goals per game ranks first in all of Division I hockey.

Justin Kloos would chase Tomkins with the next goal, at 16:58 and send Ohio State into panic mode. Suddenly it was 4-3 and OSU couldn’t trust their goalie. Not the ideal spot to be in against the No. 5/4 team in the country. But keeping out goals hasn’t exactly been Ohio State’s strong suit this year.

Just 1:42 into Frey’s reign in net, Minnesota tied it. Tyler Sheehy, with Kloos continuing to torment OSU with the primary assist, scored at 18:40 and the game went into the second intermission tied at two apiece. That was not where OSU thought this game was going 15 minutes prior. Whoops!

Going against the narrative of a team falling apart, however, Dakota Joshua put Ohio State back on top at 8:24 of the third, with his second of the game. Luke Stork had the primary assist and all looked like it might turn out well for the Buckeyes.

It didn’t.

Ohio State wouldn’t score again, and Stork would go from hero to goat as he was sent off for a five minute major for checking from behind at 11:00 of the third.

Exactly three minutes apart during the ensuing major powerplay, at 12:34 and 15:34, Lettieri and Jake “former WWE Raw GM Eric” Bischoff tied it and got Minnesota their first lead, respectively. Frey hadn’t shored up anything in net and in fact pulled whatever finger was plugging the dam.

But Ohio State couldn’t find another goal in those last four plus minutes even after the powerplay ended.

Hilariously, they couldn’t even generate a single registered shot on goal after falling behind, even with the goalie pulled. They had attempts blocked or missed, but none actually on goal. Call me crazy, but that’s not a formula to beat Rutgers’ club team, much less Minnesota.

The team has to be able to attack more and they should be able to with offensive weapons like Schilkey, David Gust, Laczynski and Jobst. But they either can’t or are coached not to and that isn’t going to get you too far in the postseason, whether the Big Ten or NCAA tournament.

The Buckeyes will look to solve their attacking and goaltending woes at Michigan State this upcoming Friday and Saturday. At they probably won’t score enough to make both goalies look this poorly. Probably.