Bristedt saves Collins with OT goal after back and forth affair
All ‘things’ (concerning the first 6 to 7 weeks of the season) being equal, it was certainly an entertaining game tonight. The (first place!) Gophers swept Ohio State back to Columbus with another OT win, tonight off the stick of Leon Bristedt, after the Buckeyes rallied with two late third period goals, to win 5 – 4.
Coach Lucia has mentioned the slow starts for the Gophers recently but tonight was not slow. Pressuring from the puck-drop, the Gophers cashed in 1:02 into the game. Ryan Collins took a wrist shot from the point, and the puck deflected/bounced/trickled right to Tyler Sheehy and he slammed it home for his 5th goal of the year.
Each team had a couple of close-calls with bouncing pucks near & through the crease, but the Gophers finished off a strong first period with an edge in play but the score remained 1 – 0.
The second period was a lot like last night’s first period as Ohio State potted two relatively quick goals to grab the lead, less than five minutes in. First, Drew Brevig put a wrist shot past Eric Schierhorn, low stick side, to tie the game. Schierhorn seemed to have a decent view of what was going on, even though Connor Reilly made a strange decision on the play to basically back right into him.
The Buckeyes took the lead at the 4:34 mark. After crushing Leon Bristedt at the blue line and causing a turnover, Josh Healey ripped a slap shot from the point, which Schierhorn, by his reaction, never saw and it cleared 5-hole.
But the Gophers righted themselves and slowly built some momentum. The captain evened things up with about 6 minutes left in the period. Just after Schierhorn made a great save, Justin Kloos followed up his own shot, off the rush, and snapped the rebound past Christin Frey.
Things got weird (see what I did there) in the third. To start, the Gophers finally got the PP going, with a Michael Brodzinski wrist shot, which made it through about 5 players from the high slot. Just over a minute later, Tyler Sheehy potted his 2nd of the game. Kloos flew through the zone and tried a wraparound. That didn’t work as Frye got his pad over in time, but he rebound came right to Sheehy, who snapped it past Frye and things seemed in control, up 4 – 2.
But Ohio State, who is certainly improving in the talent department, didn’t lose their cool or get out of their game plan, and they pulled within one with seven mintues left. Just after the Gophers blew a 3 on 1, Mason Jobst jumped into the play, took the puck behind the net and pulled his own wraparound, which ended up going in off of Bischoff’s skate to make the score 4 – 3.
Ryan Collins then was called for a 5 minute major/checking from behind. He rode Brendan Kearney into the boards, although as he was checking him, Kearney seemed to lose his balance at the same time he was pushed, fell awkwardly into the boards. It was an easy call and unfortunate for Collins as it didn’t fully appear like he intended to run him like that.
Things seemed bleak for the Gophers, but after they killed the first four minutes of the kill, (including several excellent saves by Schierhorn), and with the crowd rocking, it felt like they could get it done. But Anthony Greco took a cross ice pass and with momentum going the other way, slapped it into an open cage on the back door and it seemed like the Buckeyes had all of the momentum.
But in OT, it was all Gophers. They finished 6 – 0 in shots on goal and Bristedt won it at the 1:21 mark. After a faceoff win, the front of the Buckeye net turned into a gold rush as the Gophers would not be denied the winning goal. After Frye made four tremendous saves in rapid succession, the Buckeyes couldn’t clear or find the puck, and Bristedt slipped it under Frye to set off a nice little celebration and gain the full 6 points on the weekend for Goldy.
So, thankfully they didn’t have to go to a shootout either night. Frankly, a split probably was in order for the way the two games went, but maybe this is a sign of luck for the team going forward, at least in conference games. The Gophers next travel to Michigan…with the state of the defenses of these two teams (Michigan gave up 6 goals to Bucky tonight in a shootout win), this could be an 80’s style weekend series in terms of goals scored. Friday & Saturday from Yost Arena, the first conference road series of the year and the last games before the winter break.