MINNEAPOLIS- The second chance to begin anew went well for the Gophers in Minneapolis. It just took extra time and swing in emotions for a second straight night.
Leon Bristedt scored Minnesota's overtime winning goal - the teams second in as many nights - and the Gophers celebrated a 5-4 win against the Buckeyes at Mariucci Arena.
"That's what you expect. The games are going to be tight. Especially when you win Friday that the team that loses is going to have a lot of resolve," said Minnesota head coach Don Lucia. "The guys did a good job of hanging in there and giving us a chance to at least get to overtime in a situation like that."
Ohio State (3-11-0, 0-2-0-0 Big Ten) had brought back a two-goal deficit in the final 26.4 seconds of regulation, scoring the tying goal with 19 seconds left in a five minute major on Minnesota defenseman Ryan Collins and with goaltender Christian Frey pulled.
That set up Bristedt's winner 1:21 into the extra period in front of his father visiting from Sweden. Bristedt, freshman Tommy Novak and last night's overtime hero Hudson Fasching had several shots in front of Frey, who made 36 saves Saturday.
The junior goaltender kept his team alive on multiple chances before the final shot by Bristedt sent Minnesota (6-7-0, 2-0-0-0 Big Ten) into a first-place tie with Penn State.
"We can't roll over and die. We have to stay in the game and make sure you keep going. That's what hockey is all about and proving it if you have what your team is all about," said Bristedt.
That wave of emotion was a complete 180 degree change from giving up the tying goal. Anthony Greco moved a couple Minnesota players into a stick throwing fit when his goal went into the back of the net.
"I think that was a game we felt we had and it definitely hurt to lose that game in overtime, " said Ohio State defenseman Drew Brevig, who also scored a goal in front of friends and family in his hometown. "It definitely (hurt more than Friday). We're a young team and one thing that since I've been here, second halves have always been strong. We just have to move on from this weekend.
"It felt like we played some good hockey, but we can be better."
With a three game losing streak hanging over their heads, Minnesota's coaches and players spoke about playing better at the beginning of games following Friday's comeback victory. Having only gotten the opening goal in the first period four times in thirteen games, the team felt that it had put itself in situations where too often where Minnesota had to play desperate hockey in the third period.
This time it needed both.
The Gophers got off to a fast start, taking all of 62 seconds to light the lamp with Tyler Sheehy scoring his fifth goal of the season and first of two Saturday.
Ohio State came back in the second period after being out-shot 13-7 in the first period, however. Brevig and Josh Healey each scored on shots from point on a screened Eric Schierhorn before Minnesota captain Justin Kloos tied the game at 2 by picking up his own rebound and not giving Ohio State a second chance.
"It feels good just to contribute. I've been struggling individually to get on the scoresheet," said Kloos, who had a career-high four points (1G-3A) Saturday. "But yeah I was happy to contribute and I think my linemates played great."
Michael Brodzinski, on the power play, and Sheehy once again both scored in the opening 2:37 of the third period. Ohio State's Mason Jobst made it a 4-3 game with a wraparound goal that beat Schierhorn, who had 32 saves, a precursor to Greco's supposed dagger.
"I'm proud of them for not giving up and working until the end. There's a lot of bright spots in that room," said Buckeyes head coach Steve Rohlik. "It's hard to take after another loss like that in overtime, but that's what sports is. It can rip your gut out in a minute, but you got to walk in there with your head up and go ‘this is what we have to do to work hard' and get better."
Minnesota next travels to Ann Arbor to face Michigan in a two game series December 11-12. Friday's game begins at 6:00 p.m.CT and airs on BTN. Saturday's game starts at 7:30 p.m. CT on ESPNEWS.
MIN - Tyler Sheehy (5) (Justin Kloos, Ryan Collins 1:02 EV)
OSU - Drew Brevig (1) (Mason Jobst 1:24 EV)
OSU - Josh Healey (2) (Luke Stork, Nick Schilkey 4:34 EV)
MIN - Justin Kloos (4) (Connor Reilly, Tyler Sheehy 13:57 EV)
MIN - Michael Brodzinski (3) (Kloos, Leon Bristedt 1:13 PP)
MIN - Tyler Sheehy (6) (Kloos, Connor Reilly 2:37 EV)
OSU - Mason Jobst (3) (Luke Stork, Josh Healey 13:14 EV)
OSU - Anthony Greco (6) (Drew Brevig, David Gust 19:33 PP/EAG)
MIN - Leon Bristedt (8) (Tommy Novak, Hudson Fasching 1:21 EV)
OSU 7 - 17 - 12 - 0 -- 36
MIN 13 - 11 - 10 - 6 -- 41
OSU17 - 27 - 26 - 0 -- 70
MIN 24 - 15 - 15 - 6 -- 61
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