Minnesota ties Ohio State 2-2, loses extra point

Gophers’ forward Rem Pitlick tied the game 2-2 on a goal with under a minute remaining in the third period.

Junior Rem Pitlick battles two defenders at Mariucci Arena on Saturday, Nov. 17. The Gophers beat the St. Lawrence Saints 3-0.

Tony Saunders

Junior Rem Pitlick battles two defenders at Mariucci Arena on Saturday, Nov. 17. The Gophers beat the St. Lawrence Saints 3-0.

Jack Warrick

Rem Pitlick put a quick one-timer slap shot past the Buckeyes goaltender with 41 seconds left on the game clock to send the Big Ten matchup into overtime with a 2-2 score.

But in the second frame of overtime, it was Pitlick’s hooking penalty that would do the Gophers in and let Buckeyes’ defenseman Matt Miller score with 36 seconds left in 3-on-3 double overtime to take the extra point over Minnesota.

“That’s a real good hockey team we played, very well coached. They’re not going to beat themselves ever,” head coach Bob Motzko said. 

Minnesota officially tied 2-2 at 3M Arena at Mariucci on Friday night, though Ohio State received an extra Big Ten Conference point for the double overtime decision-maker from Miller. Minnesota is now 2-2-1 in the Big Ten, and Ohio State sits at the top with a 4-2-1 conference record.

Pitlick almost ended the game in favor of the Gophers in the first frame of overtime, but Buckeyes’ goaltender Sean Romeo made a highlight-reel diving glove save to let his team stay tied up.

“I thought I had him beat, like I knew I had him moving. He just reached back, it’s one of those saves like I don’t know, not much to say about it,” Pitlick said.

Ohio State’s Miller scored with 36 seconds left in the second 5:00 frame of overtime on the 4-on-3 power play. His goal in sudden death gave the Buckeyes a 3-2 win on Friday.

The Gophers were outshot 33-23 in the overtime loss.

“The 3-on-3, and if it gets to a shootout, it’s for the players and the fans,” Motzko said. “It goes in the books as a tie, they get an extra point, but the players love it and fans love it, and why would we deprive them of that.”

With 5:27 left in the first period, Gophers’ senior forward Ryan Norman scored a shorthanded goal on a pass from freshman Sammy Walker to make it 1-0 over the Buckeyes. It was Norman’s second goal of the season.

“Definitely under the radar, he’s skilled,” senior forward Darian Romanko said about his linemate Norman. “I like having him on my line because he works hard, and I’ve been playing with him … this is my fourth year, so I know what he’s going to do with the puck, I know where he’s going to be.”

The Buckeyes responded in the second period with a goal from forward John Wiitala to make it 1-1. Then Ohio State took the lead in the third period off a goal from Ronnie Hein with under 3:00 remaining in the game. Pitlick slapped in the puck to tie it up 2-2 in regulation with under a minute to play, but the Buckeyes won in double overtime.

Mat Robson started in between the posts for Minnesota and made 30 saves.

“We needed him and he was there for us,” Romanko said. “They had a lot of good looks in the first period and that kind of set the tone for him. He played well tonight, just a tough way to go I guess.”

Minnesota will play Ohio State again Saturday at 4 p.m. at 3M Arena at Mariucci in the second game of the series.