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Men’s Hockey: No. 2 Ohio State falls 4-3 in second straight loss to Minnesota

Sophomore defender Grant Gabriele warms up prior to the start of Ohio State’s hockey game vs. Minnesota on Feb. 15. Ohio State lost 4-3. Credit: Nick Hudak | For The Lantern

After falling 4-3 to the Golden Gophers on Friday, the No. 2 Ohio State men’s hockey team (19-7-4, 12-5-3 Big Ten) lost again against Minnesota (13-14-4, 10-9-3 Big Ten) 4-3 on Saturday.

Ohio State outmatched Minnesota greatly in aggression, ending the game with 46 shot attempts, nearly triple the amount the Golden Gophers recorded, but was unable to get their shots past the Minnesota defense, who, led by junior goalie Matt Robson, recorded 43 saves.

Halfway into the second period, Minnesota senior forward Brent Gates Jr. got the Golden Gophers their third goal of the match, advancing them a 3-0 lead.

Seconds after the goal, however, Minnesota freshman defenseman Robbie Stucker was sent to the penalty box, opening up a power play opportunity for Ohio State.

Senior forward Mason Jobst took the opportunity and capitalized within seconds, netting the Buckeyes their first goal of the game and his team-best 16th goal of the season.

Senior defenseman Sasha Larocque said this power play was important to get back into the game.

“Obviously it’s a big advantage for you being up with an extra guy on the ice,” Larocque said. “Our power plays have been doing very well as of late, so definitely the mindset changed a little bit and it’s a big opportunity to score that we’ve been fortunate enough to capitalize on here recently.”

With only a few minutes left in the second period, Ohio State was able to make use of their one-man-advantage once again whenjunior forward Carson Meyer narrowed Minnesota’s lead to 3-2 after a power-play goal.

Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik said this was another momentum boost for his team in the second period.

“Just dig in,” Rohlik said. “Our guys dug in. We just had a mindset that it didn’t matter what the score was, we were going to continue to battle.”

Minnesota began the game with a resounding bang, netting its first goal within 20 seconds and quickly following it up with its second goal at the 8:47 mark.

Despite outshooting the Golden Gophers 16-10 in the first period, Rohlik said his team made too many errors to be able to stay with Minnesota.

“They got the lead, we made too many mistakes,” he said. “And when you dig holes like that it’s hard. Tonight when their goalie plays well and we didn’t have some puck luck at the end: that’s the way it goes.”

The third period was Ohio State’s most aggressive, attempting 28 shots. Despite only recording three shots in the period, Minnesota was able to make one of them count.

Midway through the period, senior forward Tyler Sheehy scored the Golden Gophers’ last goal of the night. Ohio State junior forward Ronnie Hein managed to retaliate and narrowed Minnesota’s lead to only one goal, which ended up handing the Buckeyes their second straight loss.

Ohio State will next take on Michigan in Ann Arbor at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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