The Ohio State men’s hockey team could not have dreamed of a worse start in its first Frozen Four game since 1998. It giving up two goals to Minnesota Duluth in the first three minutes of the game and got outshot 17-4 by its opponent in the first period.
The Buckeyes seemed to tilt the momentum toward them as the game wore on and picked up their first goal with 10:33 remaining in the game. But the late push was not enough and the No. 1 Ohio State men’s hockey team fell 2-1 to No. 3 Minnesota Duluth in the semifinals of the Frozen Four, ending its season.
This is the second year in a row that the Bulldogs (23-16-3) eliminated the Buckeyes (26-9-5) from the NCAA tournament.
The game’s first goal came less than two minutes into the game on a cross-ice pass from Minnesota Duluth freshman defenseman Matt Anderson. He found Louie Roehl alone, and the freshman forward buried a shot past redshirt goalie Sean Romeo to take the early lead.
Just 71 seconds later, Bulldog senior forward Jared Thomas beat Romeo low on a breakaway attempt made possible by a pass through the neutral zone by senior forward Karson Kuhlman. It was his 10th goal of the season.
Romeo badly misplayed the puck and nearly gave up a third goal shortly after the Bulldogs’ second goal. But he was able to recover just in time to keep the puck out of the net. Romeo held strong the remainder of the game and stopped 26 shots.
The Buckeyes got on the scoreboard in the third period with a power-play goal by sophomore forward Tanner Laczynski. With the help of sophomore defenseman Wyatt Ege’s broken stick, Laczynski found himself alone in the slot with the puck, and ripped it past goalie sophomore Hunter Shepard to make the score 2-1.
The biggest missed opportunity for Ohio State came in the second period on a power play. Sophomore forward Ronnie Hein had a wide-open net to shoot at while Shepard was down, but Kuhlman blocked the attempt with his stick, shutting down Ohio State’s momentum on the man advantage.
Shepard gave the Buckeyes fits, saving 19 of 20 shots.