Gophers Open Weekend With a Loss
COLUMBUS, Ohio (GopherSports.com) – Nine different skaters scored as the No. 4/5 Gopher Hockey program fell to No. 12/13 Ohio State by a 5-4 margin on Friday night in the opening game of this weekend’s Big Ten series at Value City Arena.
Minnesota (17-8-2 overall, 8-3-0-0 Big Ten) picked up goals from Brent Gates Jr., Rem Pitlick, Vinni Lettieri and Justin Kloos while Leon Bristedt and Tyler Sheehy each tallied a pair of assists.
“We knew we didn’t want to get into a shootout with them, and their guys made big plays for them tonight.” Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said. “We had chances, and we battled back, but they earned the win in the third period.”
A streaky scoring affair started with two goals by Ohio State in the first period followed by three goals by the Gophers to open the second.
Gates scored his 13th of the season just 46 seconds into the second stanza during a Minnesota power-play that was set up by Taylor Cammarata and Bristedt, and Pitlick added his sixth of the year from Sheehy at 4:09.
Lettieri briefly gave the Gophers a lead with his 13th score of the season at 10:15 from Bristedt and Ryan Collins, but the Buckeyes (14-7-6, 5-5-1-1) scored less than a minute later at 11:04 to start a three-goal streak of their own. Mason Jobst scored the eventual game winner at 3:47 of the third period on a Buckeye power play as both teams went 1-for-2 on the advantage.
After Ohio State extended the lead to two later in the third, the Gophers were unsuccessful in a second two-goal rally to close out the game. Justin Kloos scored his 13th goal of the season from Sheehy and Jake Bischoff with the net empty at 18:07, but Minnesota failed to find the equalizer.
Minnesota outshot the home squad 39-28 on the night. Eric Schierhorn made 23 saves in the loss for the Gophers, falling to 17-8-2 on the year.