Justin Time! Kloos Scores OT Winner to Down Ohio State

Justin Kloos
Justin Kloos (Photo by Craig Cotner)

Gophers Give Up Goal With 0.1 Seconds Left but Bounce Back with Kloos OT Goal

Columbus, OH – There’s a saying in golf that ‘there’s no pictures on the scorecard’, meaning it is the end result that counts and not the way you arrived at it. Tonight, the Gophers (15-13-0 Overall, 10-2-0 B1G) are glad there are no pictures on their scorecard after a sloppy but ultimately victorious 5-4 effort against The Ohio State University Buckeyes (8-15-2, 3-6-2).

Minnesota emerged with another important B1G win, but it wasn’t pretty – the team squandered numerous chances in a dominating second period before losing then regaining the lead late in the third period, only to have Ohio State tie it with 0.1 seconds on the clock. The Gophers found a way to win, with Kloos sniping a shot off of a face off to give Minnesota their third overtime victory over Ohio State this season.

Although the Gophers jumped out to an early shots on goal advantage in the first period, Ohio State took the first lead with a Christian Lampasso tip-in goal just one second past the midway mark of the period. Justin Kloos tied the game at 1-1 in the final minute with a nice backhand-to-forehand shimmy, using his defender to screen tOSU goalie Christian Frey from a rifle of a wrist shot that broke the plate in the high blocker corner.

The Gophers scored again just 3:28 into the second period when Leon Bristedt took a patient Vinni Lettieri’s pass and beat Frey from the right-wing circle. The two goals came just 3:53 in game time apart, and quickly moved the Gophers from a one goal deficit to a one goal lead. Minnesota poured on the chances in the second period, peppering Frey with 17 shots in the middle stanza, but they were not able to capitalize on their many opportunities and had to settle for a slim 2-1 lead going into the third.

That third period started out about as well as you could hope for Ohio State. tOSU drew a powerplay just 22 seconds into the third and David Gust scored 53 seconds into the PP at 1:15 to tie it at 2-2. Jack Sadek took another Gopher penalty 21 seconds after the Gust goal, and Ohio State’s Dakota Joshua scored another PP tally to put the Buckeyes up 3-2 3:22 into the period. Another quick swing in this game: Ohio State went from down 1 in the third period to up a goal in just 2:07 of game time.

The Gophers pounced back, though, tying the game at 3-3 just 1:08 after Joshua’s goal for tOSU on a Tommy Novak tally. Minnesota kept applying pressure after that, and broke the Buckeye seal with under three minutes left in the third. Justin Kloos took a big check from a Buckeye while steaming up the right-wing boards to get the puck ahead to Taylor Cammarata and into the offensive zone. Cammarata waited for Kloos to re-join the attack and passed back to him, who found a sneaking Tyler Sheehy on the backdoor to give Minnesota what would surely be the game-winning goal.

Not so fast.

Ohio State pulled the goalie with less than two minutes remaining, and the Gophers did a good job protecting goaltender Eric Schierhorn and clearing the zone until just a few seconds remained. With about four seconds left on the clock, Nick Schilkey dug the puck out of the corner and spun and fired at the Gopher net. Schierhorn made a tremendous stop, but the puck squirted out the other side, where a preying Matthew Weis deposited it into the net with 0.1 seconds remaining on the clock to tie the game at 4-4 and send it into overtime.

The two teams played a fairly cautious OT period, with only two total shots on net in the first three minutes of action. However, a Gopher flurry resulted in tOSU knocking their own net off its moorings at 3:21, and on the ensuing faceoff a blocked Tyler Sheehy shot came right to red-hot Justin Kloos’ stick. Kloos again hit the upper blocker side corner to give the Gophers their third OT win against Ohio State this year.

Kloos has scored points in 10 straight games, and has an amazing 10 goals and 12 assists over that span. After a sluggish start which saw the junior captain score just 10 points in his first 17 games, Kloos has exploded of late and now leads the team in total points and is tied for second in goals scored.

More importantly, though, the win meant the Gophers kept pace with the Michigan Wolverines in the B1G standings. Michigan beat up on Wisconsin 4-1 in Madison tonight. The two teams sit tied atop the table with 30 total points, six ahead of third place Penn State’s 24 points. The Gophers will try and improve upon that point total Saturday when they square off against The Ohio State University again. The game starts at 6PM Central Time, and is not on TV but can be streamed via BTN’s paid streaming service, BTN Plus. As always, the game can be heard on the radio at 1500ESPN.