In spite of two third-period goals and outshooting their opponents 42-32 in the game, the No. 4 seed Ohio State men’s hockey team fell to the No. 2 seed Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, 3-2, in overtime in the first round of the West region of the NCAA tournament.
Redshirt junior defender Matt Joyaux and freshman defender Gordi Myer scored for OSU in the loss. Senior goaltender Matt Tomkins was excellent between the pipes for the Scarlet and Gray, notching 29 saves.
OSU opened the first period by warding off substantial Bulldog puck possession in their zone, including an unsuccessful powerplay. With a little over three minutes remaining, however, the Scarlet and Gray seemed to take the lead on its first powerplay of the contest — but the goal was disallowed after review.
Collectively, the Buckeyes led the shot count 9-6 after 20 minutes, entering the first intermission scoreless.
The Scarlet and Gray seemed to carry momentum out of the break into the second period, but it was Minnesota-Duluth who opened the game’s scoring. On the rush just 49 seconds in, Bulldogs senior forward and captain Dominic Toninato fired a laser into the opposite corner to put his team up 1-0 early in the second stanza.
Just three minutes later Minnesota-Duluth seemed to double its lead as Toninato scored his second from close range, but a goal was disallowed for a second time in the game to keep the Buckeyes’ deficit at one.
Despite being down a goal, OSU continued to find itself in front of the Bulldog net with chances to score, but could not beat freshman netminder Hunter Miska — who is amongst the nation’s best in the shutout category.
With 6:19 left in the period, Minnesota-Duluth freshman defenseman Nick Wolff buried a shot from the point into the back of the net to make it 2-0 into the final trip to the locker room.
The Buckeyes looked to capitalize on their opportunities, and to get back into the game as what could possibly be the final 20 minutes of their season began.
With just under 13 minutes remaining, Joyaux one-timed a wrister from the point past Miska to cut the Minnesota-Duluth lead to one on his third goal of the season. Junior forward Kevin Miller and sophomore forward Dakota Joshua each recorded an assist on the play — their fourth and 23rd helpers of the season.
Minutes later, the Scarlet and Gray tied the game when freshman forward Tanner Laczynski centered a pass to a waiting Myer, who cashed for his first goal in an OSU uniform to equalize for his team at the 7:20 mark of the final frame.
While time ran down in the third period, neither the Buckeyes nor the Bulldogs could not capture the go-ahead goal — and as the horn sounded, both sides found themselves in a 2-2 deadlock at the end of regulation.
Into overtime, OSU possessed the momentum and the advantage in the shots category after a comeback in the previous period. However, Miska continued to be spectacular in net for the Bulldogs on multiple occasions, denying Joyaux and senior forward David Gust of a guaranteed tap-in with the edge of his stick early on in the extra period.
Despite being dominated offensively in the final 20 minutes, Minnesota-Duluth captured the game-winning goal when senior defender Willie Raskob one-timed a slapshot from the point past Tomkins to send the Bulldogs into the regional championship.
Minnesota-Duluth will take on Boston University Saturday evening with a trip to the Frozen Four on the line. The Buckeyes graduate seven seniors from this year’s roster, and end their season with 21-12-6 record.