Anemic Offense Plagues Gophers in 2-1 OT Loss

Columbus, OH – For a team loaded with offensive talent, the Minnesota Golden Gophers sure have a hard time putting the puck in the net.

The Gophers (10-8-1 Overall, 4-6-1 B1G) fell 2-1 in overtime on Friday night to the Ohio State Buckeyes (9-4-4, 4-4-1), and for the fifth time in the last six games failed to score more than two goals.

Ohio State scored in the first period on the power play, as Tanner Laczynski netted his seventh goal of the year at 14:46 of the opening frame.

As the game wore on and the score remained 1-0 Buckeyes, it looked like the Gophers might come up empty yet again, despite putting numerous quality chances on net.  Minnesota squandered five powerplay opportunities of their own throughout the first and second periods, with Ohio State’s nation-leading 92.2% penalty kill shutting the door on the Gophers’ chances.

Time continued ticking off the clock, but Minnesota finally got on the board with just 3:44 remaining in the game.  Rem Pitlick tipped home a backdoor pass from Casey Mittelstadt to even the game at 1-1.  Scott Reedy collected the second assist on the goal.

The home team came out on top in overtime, when Christian Lampasso collected a puck off a broken play at the doorstep and slid it past Gopher goalie Eric Schierhorn to get the win for the Buckeyes.  Casey Mittelstadt had just previously made a nice play to break up an Ohio State rush, but Tyler Nanne was beat by his mark and Lampasso was waiting for the loose puck at the back door for the game winner.  Friday’s game saw Minnesota fall to 1-3-1 in the extra session on the season.

The loss moved the Gophers to 4-6-1 in the Big Ten conference.  Six losses is already tied for the most Gopher losses in one Big Ten season since the inception of the conference in 2013-2014 – Minnesota went 14-6-0 in 2015-2016 to capture its third-straight Big Ten regular season conference title.  The Gophers have a big hill to climb if they want to keep their streak of consecutive regular season championships alive, as Minnesota currently sits a full 10 points back of Notre Dame, who has three games in hand on the Maroon and Gold.

The Gophers also dropped to 36th out of 60 teams in total offense, scoring a paltry 2.74 goals per game.  The power play is down to 42nd in the nation at 15.85%.  By all metrics, this Gopher team just cannot score.  They already have a lot of good quality non-conference wins under their belt, which should help them in the Pairwise Rankings at the end of the year, but if they don’t start cracking the code on offense it frankly doesn’t matter how high of a seed they have come tournament time.

The Gophers and Buckeyes square off again to close out the first half of the season Saturday night at 7:05 central time.  The game can be seen on BTN and streamed on BTN2Go, as well as heard on AM1130 or FM103.5.

Go Gophers!