MINNEAPOLIS- Every night's another story.
For all of 46 minutes, the early December end results in college hockey was played out as a tune Minnesota has been accustomed to this season at Mariucci Arena. Inconsistencies once again popped up at home. Facing Ohio State at home in the Big Ten season opener for both teams, the Gophers trailed by two goals with an apathetic crowd on hand.
A much rowdier Gophers crowd and group of players left celebrating a 3-2 comeback victory 1:08 in overtime to take all 3 points and give Don Lucia his 400th career victory with Minnesota.
"We definitely needed that. When we get down a couple goals that mindset starts in the back of your head, ‘oh no, not again,'" said overtime goal scorer Hudson Fasching.
Freshmen Tyler Sheehy and Tommy Novak scored third period power play goals to tie the game at two. Novak then capped off the night by skating around the net and finding Fasching open in overtime for the first win for Minnesota (5-7-0, 1-0-0-0 Big Ten) trailing after two periods since March 16, 2013 against Bemidji State.
"I had some speed. It was a good pass from Stevie, so I took it wide and luckily I got around the D there," said Novak about the game-winner. "I don't know, I just was trying to make a play and (Fasching) got open really well. It worked out well."
Christian Frey made 37 saves for Ohio State (3-10-0, 0-1-0-0 Big Ten). The visitors got off to an early lead when defenseman Josh Healey scored his first goal of the season on a wrist shot from the point.
Buckeyes co-captain Nick Schilkey gave his team a 2-0 lead 3:05 into the second period. Schilkey buried a tap-in past Minnesota goaltender Eric Schierhorn, with a celebration "woo" that could be audibly heard in the arena.
"We had some confidence going there, scoring the first one and then actually on the next two couldn't finish. I thought both goalies were the difference in the game," said Buckeyes head coach Steve Rohlik, whose team drops to 0-7 on the road this season.
Ohio State had a couple more opportunities with Schierhorn truly keeping his team in the game as the Buckeyes out-shot Minnesota 14-12 in the second period.
The Gopher freshman goaltender stopped point-blank chances from Luke Stork and Anthony Greco. His follow-up involved aggressively going out to the face-off dots, diving to stop the puck, sending Matthew Weis flying and making a mess like nobody's business.
"That's an aggressive play a confident goalie is going to make," Lucia said. "It's aggressiveness of a goaltender and that's what you want."
The slow start meant Lucia went back to his lines from last weekend. It was just the spark needed. A more aggressive defense and power play that took advantage of both goals brought back the team back from the brink and changed the story written for both teams. Minnesota out-shot OSU 17-7 over the final period plus. That total included an run of eight minutes where Ohio State was held without a shot.
Unfortunately the shift in stories was one the Buckeyes, who Rohlik said have not played with too many leads, are well accustomed this year.
"We had some good looks throughout the game, but we just struggled to score. Obviously the key moment was when Tyler tipped it in the goal to make it 2-1 and all of a sudden it lifts up your bench and gives you some momentum," said Lucia.
The mood was celebratory after the game with the woos of celebration replacing the woes of defeat.
Having lost two third period leads and a third game this year following a two-goal comeback that tied, getting the win in the manner it happened was important. Third periods have been a struggle for Minnesota. This time around it was the opposite, with the Gophers struggling for the two periods before giving the fans a game they had to be there.
Still, Fasching admitted there was no easy answer as to why the team performs better in come back fashion rather than holding the lead.
"I guess we're better at playing from behind in some sense," he said. "I don't know, honestly I couldn't tell you. We proved we can be more resilient and can battle back and have that battle level and intensity level. Honestly, I don't know if that's necessarily true, I think today we really had the passion and we were playing well today.
"Some of the bounces early didn't go our way, but we were able to turn it around."
Minnesota and Ohio State complete the two-game series Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. CT. The game will air on ESPNEWS with Clay Matvick and Sean Ritchlin calling the action.
OSU 1 - 1 - 0 - 0 -- 2
MIN 0 - 0 -2 -1 -- 3
OSU - Josh Healey (1) (Dakota Joshua, Freddy Gerard 8:53 EV)
OSU - Nick Schilkey (8) (Matthew Weis, David Gust 3:06 PP)
MIN - Tyler Sheehy (4) (Steve Johnson, A.J. Michaelson 6:10 PP)
MIN - Tommy Novak (2) (Hudson Fasching, Connor Reilly 15:33 PP)
MIN - Hudson Fasching (5) (Tommy Novak, Steve Johnson 1:08 EV)
OSU 7 - 14 - 6 - 1 -- 28
MIN 11 - 12 - 15 - 2 -- 40
OSU 14 - 23 - 9 - 1 -- 47
MIN 18 - 18 - 29 - 2 -- 67
OSU - 1/3
MIN - 2/3
Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation mostly covering both the University of Minnesota and Big Ten. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate