Minnesota swept by Ohio State for first time ever

The Gophers started two goaltenders this weekend for the first time in two and a half years.

Gophers forward Brent Gates Jr. chases after the puck against Ohio State on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 at 3M Arena at Mariucci Arena.

Carter Jones, Daily File Photo

Gophers forward Brent Gates Jr. chases after the puck against Ohio State on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 at 3M Arena at Mariucci Arena.

Drew Cove

Minnesota is facing a rough offensive patch, to say the least.

The offensive performance for the Gophers this season has shown glimpses of being effective and efficient, but the same struggles to score led to Minnesota’s loss Friday to Ohio State 2-1 in overtime and 4-1 Saturday after late goals from the Buckeyes.

Saturday the Gophers were looking to split with the Buckeyes, or suffer the first sweep at the hands of Ohio State for the first time ever.

“That’s what’s frustrating, I feel bad for our guys,” head coach Don Lucia told the Gopher Radio Network Saturday. “They had a good effort tonight.”

Minnesota had the shot advantage, but could not turn shots into goals.

The Gophers played two goaltenders this weekend for the first time in two and a half years.

Goaltender Eric Schierhorn, who started 94 consecutive games – a Minnesota record – after Friday’s game, was replaced by newly eligible goaltender Mat Robson Saturday.

“He played really well in his first collegiate game,” Lucia told the Gopher Radio Network Saturday. “I liked a lot about his game, and what he did tonight.”

Both goaltenders for the Gophers allowed just two goals on each night, a target the team sets as the number of goals they can comfortably concede and win. That was the case, but the offense could not capitalize, as Minnesota only produced one goal of offense on each night.

Saturday, the Gophers tried to make a late push by pulling Robson. The move didn’t pan out, with Ohio State collecting two empty net goals to make the final score 4-1.

Combined in both games on the weekend, the Gophers had 68 shots, but scored just two goals on those shots. 

The Minnesota forwards were pressing, especially in the second and third periods, on Friday and Saturday night, yet the scoring in those periods wasn’t enough to get a win on the weekend.

Friday’s game was a close one for the Gophers. With the team down 1-0, they came back and scored a goal late in the third period to tie it and force overtime. Forward Rem Pitlick, theGophers’ leading scorer, helped the team break through with the late goal.

“We had a frantic push,” Lucia told the Gopher Radio Network Friday. “It’s just disappointing. You work hard to have a push, to get it to overtime, you’ll take a tie and get on for the nest night, but that’s what’s happened to us this year, at a critical moment somebody makes a mistake and we end up losing because of it.”

Minnesota had the advantage in shots, but wasn’t able to convert on many goals. Schierhorn stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced in the game.

“[Robson played well] and it gets some competition in there,” Lucia told the Gopher Radio Network Saturday. “Eric’s had a good year as well, and it gives us two options now instead of just having one.”