The Minnesota Gophers entered the Big Ten Men’s Hockey Tournament the number one seed in the Big Ten and also ranked number one nationally. The Gophers held a regular season record of 3-0-1 against the Ohio State Buckeyes, the fourth seed in the Big Ten Tournament. On March 21, 2014, the Buckeyes would have the Gopher’s number, eliminating the home-town, top seed in a 3-1 drubbing that left a very bad taste in the mouth of Gopher fans that are used to winning.
From the opening faceoff the Gophers seemed flat-footed with very few odd-man rushes. In fact, the Buckeyes, for the forwards for the majority of the game.
The Buckeyes struck first with a goal in the first period when freshman Nick Schilkey put the puck in the net on the power play with 4:30 left in the period.
The Gophers answered in the second period on a power play with Kyle Rau scoring 4:47 into period two. The two teams skated back and forth around the ice to the chagrin of the fans in attendance until almost the mid-point of the third period when Ryan Dzingel broke the tie. Ohio State would add another goal with 27 seconds left in the game, technically an even strength goal although Minnesota’s goalie had been pulled but was not quite off the ice.
The angst of the fans in the building had been growing through the third period as, save the last couple minutes, Ohio State had played a very successful prevent defense, allowing the Gophers shots but no good looks. It will be interesting to see how the fans react next week assuming the Gophers make it into the NCAA West Regional Tournament to be held at the Xcel Energy Center next weekend.
Stay tuned to The Minnesota Sports Report as we will have coverage from the event.