It was Ohio State’s first game since toppling No. 1 Notre Dame last weekend, however, the result wasn’t the same against No. 10 Minnesota. The Buckeyes fell to the Golden Gophers, 2-1.
Sean Romeo valiantly stopped 12/13 shots in the first period, but Ohio State only put five on net themselves, offering little offense to counter a Minnesota team out for revenge for OSU sweeping them in Columbus on December 8-9.
Ohio State would battle back and actually outshoot the Gophers in the third as they trailed by a single goal for the entire period, but couldn’t beat Mat Robson. They couldn’t find an advantage over Minnesota even down one in the second, as both teams sent eight shots on goal each, with both scoring once.
Minnesota scored the goal that would give them that lead they wouldn’t relinquish at 9:02 of the first, as Brent Gates scored his tenth of the year off a rebound.
Making the first even more galling for Ohio State was the fact that they were the only ones with a power play opportunity. (The shot differential could have somehow been even worse if that wouldn’t have happened.) Not how you want to come out when you’re the No. 6 team in the country trying to hold onto that No. 2 seed in the Big Ten.
OSU came out firing in the second, registering six of the first seven shots on goal, but then allowed seven out of the last nine, as each team ended the period with one goal and eight shots apiece.
Minnesota doubled their lead to 2-0 on a point shot by Jack Glover that found its way in past Romeo. Ohio State would answer, at least, at 18:27 of the second on a powerplay goal by Matt Miller on a one timer from the point.
He got the pass between the points from Gordi Myer and fired home his sixth of the year. It didn’t look like Robson saw it until it was too late. Freddy Gerard had the secondary assist.
Matt Miller notched his sixth goal of the year in the second period. pic.twitter.com/7DcJvX5YPc— Ohio State M Hockey (@OhioState_MHKY) February 17, 2018
That’d be it on the offensive end for the Buckeyes, unfortunately. Making things more concerning than they would appear is that once again Ohio State had to rely on its special teams moreso than you would hope. That’s all well and good for a regular season, but anyone who’s ever watched playoff hockey knows that refs have a tendency to swallow their whistles, making even strength play even more important than it already is.
A team that relies on its powerplay to generate offense as much as Ohio State does may be in trouble in that case. They can’t just rely on a man advantage and the benevolence of the refs to score goals against conference competition.
Anyway, OSU would outshoot the Gophers 9-7 in the third, but fail to put any in past Robson. He stopped 21/22 shots and helped Minnesota kill 2/3 Ohio State powerplays.
Ohio State was outshot, despite having three power plays to Minnesota’s zero, 28-22 and were completely blown out of the arena the only time the game was tied. That doesn’t bode well for Saturday afternoon’s game, as the two teams will face off again at 5 p.m. ET.
Minnesota is now within five points of OSU for the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten, while Michigan has closed to within two. It sure looks like Ohio State needs a win here. We’ll see if they can get one.