March 8, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio (GopherSports.com) – The inaugural Big Ten Conference regular-season title will come down to the final weekend of play after the top-ranked Minnesota men’s hockey program tied Ohio State 2-2 in overtime and then fell in the subsequent shootout.
The Gophers (24-4-6 overall, 13-2-3-0 Big Ten) will travel to Michigan next weekend with a five-point cushion in the conference standings.
In a game that saw momentum swing back and forth throughout the night, Adam Wilcox proved to be Minnesota’s one constant. The Hobey Baker Award and Mike Richter Award nominee set a new career high with 41 saves on Saturday night including a sprawling breakaway save in overtime. Wilcox moved to 22-4-6 on the season while Christian Frey made 30 saves to move to 6-2-3 this year for Ohio State.
Much like Friday’s series opener, the Gophers opened the night with an early goal when Kyle Rau scored his 10th of the season during a Minnesota power play at 2:32 of the first period. The sophomore knocked home a rebound after being set up by Mike Reilly and Travis Boyd.
After a scoreless second, the two teams would combine for three goals in the third. Ohio State (15-12-5, 5-8-5-4) found the equalizer when Ryan Dzingel tallied a power-play goal after being set up by Max McCormick and Drew Brevia at 2:31 of the third period. The tie game wouldn’t last long as Gabe Guertler scored his second of the year 24 seconds later at 2:55 when Ben Marshall and Vinni Lettieri set up the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native. However, for the first time in four games, the Gophers allowed more than one goal on Saturday night as Nick Schilkey made it 2-2 at 16:10 when Dzingel and Nick Oddo tied up the game for the second time.
Following a scoreless overtime, Schilkey scored Ohio State’s first shootout attempt while the Gophers were unable to find the net in three tries.
Minnesota went 1-for-4 on the power play on Saturday and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill.
-Pride on Ice-
Around the Rink: Connor Reilly
A native of Chanhassen, Minn., Reilly has collected 53 points (23 goals, 30 assists) in 114 career games with the Gophers.
Border Battle on Deck
Friday’s series opener is set for 7 p.m. CT with Saturday’s finale scheduled for 5 p.m.
Lettieri Named B1G Second Star
Lettieri has played in all 20 games this season for the Gophers while ranking tied for second on the team with 11 goals and third on the team with 20 points.