2014 Hockey City Classic: Minnesota shuts out Ohio State 1-0 outdoors

Adam Wilcox made 21 saves for his second shutout of the season - Matt Christians - SB Nation

Adam Wilcox made 21 saves and Taylor Cammarata scored the lone goal in front of a record 45,021 fans at TCF Bank Stadium.

On a night when the temperatures were in the single digits, goals were hard to find.

University of Minnesota freshman Taylor Cammarata (New York Islanders) scored the lone goal Friday in the 2014 Hockey City Classic as the Gophers defeated Ohio State 1-0 in front of a record 45,021 fans and a full moon at TCF Bank Stadium.

Adam Wilcox made 21 saves for Minnesota (16-2-3, 6-0-1-0 Big Ten) in his second shutout this season.

"First and foremost, what a venue," Buckeyes head coach Steve Rohlik said. " It was pretty surreal walking out there tonight.

"It was pretty special to be a part of it."

Ohio State (11-7-1, 1-3-1-0 Big Ten) and the Gophers entered Friday being two of the top-3 offenses in the country. Despite that, both teams spent most of the first period feeling each other out. Neither Wilcox nor Buckeyes goaltender Matt Tomkins (Chicago Blackhawks), who made 26 saves, were tested.

It was one thing that Minnesota head coach Don Lucia was expecting due to the different ice conditions after playing outdoors in Chicago last season against Wisconsin.

"No question, going through it last year, that sometimes you try to make too many passes it might bounce over a stick and away the other team is going to go," he said Friday. "We did want to play a cautious game and I thought the goaltenders made a couple good saves too during the course of the game."

The Gophers opened things up in the second, getting bodies to the net, winning races and culminating with Cammarata's goal 4:20 into the period. The freshman's fifth tally of the season went off Tomkins and into the net before a swarming Kyle Rau (Florida Panthers) could tap it in himself.

After that, both teams shut down the neutral zone. The ice, which none of the four teams playing at TCF Bank Stadium had an issue with Friday (the Minnesota women's team defeated Minnesota State 4-0 earlier), held up for the most part. Tomkins made a couple key saves late in the second and early in the third.

Wilcox, meanwhile, focused on reading the puck and staying in net. After giving up three goals against Wisconsin - two being bounces off the ice - the sophomore more than redeemed himself against the Buckeyes.

"Last year I didn't realize how much the puck bounced differently from your equipment when it was...your equipment kind of gets frozen out there," he said. "So in practice yesterday I was tweaking with it a little bit, just working on it. Then in warmups today I was focusing on that.

"Another thing was the boards were lively and I couldn't go out of the net a lot. That was one thing that I talked to my D about before the game, and we did a really good job working behind the net."

Ohio State's best chance came in the first period when Buckeyes leading goal scorer Ryan Dzingel (Ottawa Senators) had a shorthanded breakaway.

It's a shot Dzingel admits he'd like back.

"I wish you didn't bring that up - I'm not going to sleep tonight," Dzingel said. "I don't know, I tried to go upstairs with it and just didn't get a hold of it as much as I would have liked. (Wilcox) obviously made a great save."

With the win, Minnesota continues to stay in first place in the Big Ten with 16 points. The Gophers and Ohio State play again tomorrow at 5 p.m. CT as part of Hockey Day Minnesota, which will be a challenge between the short turnaround and adjustment to Mariucci Arena's Olympic-size ice. (The TCF Bank Stadium rink was NHL size.)

The Hockey City Classic, however, will be an event to remember for the players on both teams and fans who witnessed the first-ever large scale modern outdoor hockey game in Minnesota.

Same goes with the coaches.

"It was a real positive, a great event," said Lucia. "I'm sure our players will always remember this game. We talked about how it was for three points in the standings, but we went through it last year and lost. It takes away from it when you lose the game so I'm very happy to win this game; especially at home in front of our fans that turned out like they did tonight. "

--

Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation and College Hockey News. You can also follow him on Twitter --

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