COLUMBUS, Ohio – Saturday marked Ohio State’s senior night, but it was a freshman that carried the Buckeyes.
Scoring the game-tying goal with 3:50 remaining in the third period, OSU forward Nick Schilkey notched the shootout winner as OSU and No. 1-ranked Minnesota skated to a 2-2 tie, with the Buckeyes taking the shootout 1-0.
The shootout loss prevented the Golden Gophers from taking the first ever Big Ten regular season title.
Big Ten leading scorer Ryan Dzingel had a goal and assist in Saturday’s tie.
“We knew it was going to be a battle,” Dzingel said. “These four (seniors) mean so much to our program. Obviously we want to send them off with a huge weekend, and I think we definitely did that tonight.”
Though it was the first time in five contests Minnesota allowed more than two goals, Minnesota coach Don Lucia credited the job goalie Adam Wilcox did stopping 41-of-43 shots.
“He made a couple huge saves, we made a couple gigantic mistakes,” Lucia said. “That is Adam; he covers up the mistakes we made. A win and a tie, that is a good weekend here.”
For the second straight night, Minnesota had an early 1-0 lead as Kyle Rau scored his 10th of the season. He cleaned up a rebound from a shot from the point by Gophers defender Mike Reilly.
Reilly, a draftee of the Blue Jackets whose arena is two miles from Ohio State’s campus, had four assists in the two-game series.
Unlike Friday, Ohio State played well after giving up the goal. Minnesota outshot Ohio State by a margin of two through the first two periods. Just as important for Ohio State, the Buckeyes kept Minnesota from scoring another power-play goal.
“You get scored on right away again; for our guys to understand and buy in not only with our penalty kill but our power play came through with a big goal,” Rohlik said. “We can talk about special teams all day because that is the difference.”
The Gophers nearly made it a 2-0 game with 4:39 left in the second. Minnesota’s Gabe Guertler interfered with OSU goalie Christian Frey as Tom Serratore put the puck into the net. After initially being ruled a goal, the officials waved the score off to the delight of the 6,161 fans at Value City Arena.
Ohio State rallied from a 1-0 second intermission deficit to force overtime and outshoot Minnesota 15-3 for the third frame.
“That was one of our best periods of the year when you can outshoot a team 15-3 and get quality chances,” Rohlik said. “I thought we kept getting better jump, better jump. We were finding energy everywhere. It is a credit to these guys.”
Ohio State got on the score sheet 2:31 into the third when Ryan Dzingel took advantage of a Reilly boarding penalty and lifted a wrister past Adam Wilcox.
The tied contest lasted 24 seconds. Ben Marshall scored after firing a shot off the skate of Buckeyes defender Josh Healey that slipped past the stick of Frey to give Minnesota a 2-1 edge.
The Buckeyes found an answer. Schilkey cleaned up a loose puck as Dzingel got pushed into Wilcox and fired the puck into the net with 3:50 left to knot the game at two.
In overtime, Dzingel had a pair of breakaways that Wilcox turned away to preserve the tie.
“As the game went on, they had, especially in the third period, we looked a little bit tired; it might have been some of the specialty teams and guys got a little too much ice time,” said Lucia.