Saturday’s contest between Minnesota and Ohio State was the type of game that has played out many times on the ice at Mariucci Arena in recent years. But tonight, Minnesota found themselves in the opposite role.
Ohio State dominated possession throughout the game, but Minnesota played tight defensively, limiting quality chances and were extremely opportunistic, erasing an early 2-0 deficit despite few chances in the offensive zone to grind out a 2-2 tie.
The Buckeyes scored their two goals late in the first period on tallies by Brendon Kearney, followed by a power play goal for Mason Jobst. But Minnesota would find a way to cut into the lead with 2:35 left in the first period on a goal by defenseman Sam Rossini.
Brent Gates Jr. would tap home a rebound laying in the crease at 9:14 of the second period to tie the game at two apiece.
Ohio State would outshoot the Gophers 13-2 in the third period, but Minnesota goalie Mat Robson was strong throughout, forcing an extra frame.
After Ohio State’s Tanner Laczynski was tripped in overtime, earning an Ohio State power play, Jobst appeared to score the game-winning goal, when he deflected a rebound out of the air, down to his stick and into the net. But after an extremely lengthy review, the referees determined that Jobst played the puck with a high stick.
With the game re-started, neither team could score in the final 1:40 of overtime and the game officially ended in a 2-2 tie. Ohio State’s Quinn Preston would score off a feed from Jobst in the 3-on-3 second overtime to earn the Buckeyes an extra league point in the Big Ten standings.
Notes and Thoughts:
-We’ll start with the overtime goal-then-non-goal. Just out of general principle, high-sticking is already the dumbest rule in the book. If you hit somebody with a high stick, it’s a penalty. If you don’t hit anyone, who cares?
But if that rule is going to be in the rule book, at least make sure the play is super-super obvious if you’re going to disallow a goal for it. If the officials need 10 minutes in the video review booth with a protractor, they’re basically searching for an excuse to disallow it.
The NCAA rule book very clearly states: “When it doubt, it should count”—they even made it rhyme!—and yet officials are still searching for any possible technicality to prevent offense. Defenses don’t need more help in college hockey.
-As much as Ohio State dominated possession in this game, I think most of the advantage came from Ohio State’s first line with Gustaf Westlund-Mason Jobst-Carson Meyer. I wouldn’t be surprised if that line generated more shot attempts than the entire Minnesota team for the team. Jobst alone had 13 attempts, which is over a third of the way there.
-Gutsy effort from Minnesota tonight to walk away with something in a game where they spent most of the night on their heels. There was really no other reason for them to be in this game besides that it’s college hockey, But like I mentioned in the lede, they’ve been victims more than a few times of teams that parked the bus in front of their own net and caught a few lucky breaks to earn a result, despite being massively outshot. It works both ways.
I didn’t think their defense was great, or even good, really. But they avoided the really big catastrophe, for the most part, and Mat Robson was extremely solid. I lost track of how many Grade-A saves he made to keep it a 2-2 game after Minnesota tied it. It looks like this is what it’s going to be for Minnesota this year.
Shots on goal: UM: 6-8-2-0-16 OSU: 15-11-13-6-45
Even strength shot attempts: UM: 6-11-7-3-27-32% OSU: 20-16-15-7-58-68%
Prime scoring area attempts: UM: 2-2-2-0-6 OSU: 9-7-12-5-33
What do the numbers tell us?
Just thorough domination on the part of the Buckeyes in all the areas that don’t matter quite enough. The Buckeyes had possession of the puck for over two-thirds of the time at even strength, won the special teams battle, and still only came away with the tie, which is incredibly poor luck, Minnesota’s six attempts inside the prime scoring area may be one of the lowest game totals I’ve ever seen since I started doing this.
14:27 Brendon Kearney from Austin Pooley and Sam McCormick 1-0 Ohio State
Ohio State forced a Minnesota turnover along the right boards in the offensive zone. Pooley fed the puck to a wide open Kearney in the slot, and he made no mistake with a wrist shot low to the glove side.
15:46 Mason Jobst from Gustaf Westlund and Tanner Laczynski (power play) 2-0 Ohio State
Westlund worked a give-and-go with Laczynski, who was in the left corner, leading to a good look for Westlund in the slot. His initial shot was stopped, but the rebound kicked to Jobst, who snuck in from the right point, and he buried the rebound into the upper part of the net.
17:25 Sam Rossini from Tommy Novak and Sampo Ranta 2-1 Ohio State
Off a scramble in front of the net, the puck kicked out to Rossini just above the top of the left circle. He took a high wrist shot in traffic that beat Nappier.
9:14 Brent Gates Jr. from Rem Pitlick and Tyler Sheehy 2-2 tie
Sheehy made a pass from the right wing to Pitlick as Pitlick was streaking towards the crease. Pitlick’s tip attempt at the left goal mouth was stopped by Nappier, but the rebound was left sitting in the goal crease. Gates Jr. came flying into the play and was able to knock it in before a Buckeye defender could clear it.