Minneapolis, Minn. — The last time Minnesota surrendered eight goals to a visiting team at Mariucci Arena was nearly 20 years ago when Minnesota Duluth handed the Gophers an 8-4 loss on Valentine’s Day in 1997. Saturday, it was the Buckeyes who dealt the Gophers heartbreak handing them an 8-3 loss in front of 9,178 at Mariucci.
#10 Ohio State (9-2-4, 1-1-0-0) was Don Lucia’s pick to win the Big Ten this season and the Buckeyes showed Lucia they were who he thought they were by notching their second ever victory at Mariucci Arena. Ohio State’s only other win came during a 6-5 victory in the 1999 Mariucci Classic.
“They’re a great program, everybody measures themselves against this program, that’s the respect,” said Ohio State coach Steve Rohlik. “But, you know you got to come in and expect to win too. I give our guys credit, we’ve got great leaders and they expected to come in and try and win two games.”
The Buckeyes got an early goal from Mason Jobst off a Gopher turnover 33 seconds into the game and then Tommy Parran added another by putting a loose puck home 9:32 into the first. #11 Minnesota (7-5-2, 1-1-0-0) responded with nice goals from Tyler Sheehy, his eighth of the season, and Ryan Lindgren his first in the maroon and gold, but a disastrous second period saw the Buckeyes get goals from Nick Schilkey, Jobst, Tanner Lacynski, and Josh Healey. Eric Schierhorn was pulled after the the fourth goal 2:20 into the second period, but after Nick Lehr allowed two goals on eight shots, Schierhorn returned between the pipes.
“We came out and didn’t have a great start, then it’s 2-2, and you think we’re back in it,” said Lucia. “Then we give up those goals early in the second and it’s game over.”
Minnesota has had a lot of success at Mariucci Arena in Big Ten play and the loss was only their fifth home loss in four Big Ten seasons. The loss however was a big one and was similar to an 8-3 loss last season to Michigan at Yost Arena on December 11, 2015. Sheehy said the team never felt like they had already put their heads down, but Minnesota only made one strong push that was dashed by Christian Frey ditching his helmet during play for a whistle.
“We gotta shake this one off, get ready for this next week, this next weekend at Michigan State, and go there as well prepared as we can,” Sheehy said.
The Buckeyes’ Dakota Joshua received attention from the Big Ten for his contact to the head penalty on Friday and was suspended for Saturday’s game. Minnesota’s Lindgren could face a disciplinary review for his elbow major at 19:56 of the third period. The major was Minnesota’s second of the game after Leon Bristedt was assessed five minutes for grasping the facemask in a tussle with Parran during the second period.
Lucia said the biggest lesson from the game was that they have a new game coming up, they have to go back to work after coming out of the weekend one and one.
Minnesota travels to East Lansing next for a Friday, Saturday series against Michigan State. The Spartans had a bumpy start to their non-conference schedule going 3-6-1, but they defeated and tied North Dakota last weekend. Minnesota may be without one of their leading scorers Mike Szmatula, as he picked up an injury Friday, couldn’t play Saturday, and Lucia said they’ll have to see how he handles the week ahead.
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