Minnesota wins Friday, ties Saturday in meeting with Ohio State

Sophomore goalie Emma May earned her first two college starts in the series.

Gophers defenseman Sydney Baldwin maneuvers the puck toward the net at Ridder Arena where Minnesota defeated Yale on Friday night.

Joe Sulik

Gophers defenseman Sydney Baldwin maneuvers the puck toward the net at Ridder Arena where Minnesota defeated Yale on Friday night.

by Tommy Sletten

Minnesota was looking for redemption on home ice over the weekend after a sweep at Duluth, and was faced with two back-and-forth match-ups against Ohio State.

The Gophers (17-5-3, 13-4-3 WCHA) defeated the Buckeyes (11-12-3, 5-12-3 WCHA) 2-1 Friday and played a 1-1 tie on Saturday.

“I thought the passion level, the [competition], the things that we’re looking for, and our team is known for, they did for 60 minutes,” head coach Brad Frost said Friday. “After 40 minutes, we were down one, and I just wanted our players to keep playing the way that they were and have faith and maybe a puck would go in.”

No. 4 Minnesota fell behind 1-0 late in the second period Friday, but found the spark they were looking for midway through the third in junior forward Caitlin Reilly.

Reilly ripped home a goal that erupted Ridder Arena and equalized the score at 1-1.

Only minutes later, junior forward Kelly Pannek scored to give Minnesota a late lead, and the eventual 2-1 final.

The game marked the return of Minnesota alumna and former assistant coach Nadine Muzerall, who is currently the head coach for Ohio State.

Ohio State returned to Ridder Arena Saturday looking for a comeback.

The scoring started off in the second period, when junior defenseman Sydney Baldwin scored goal number one in the first period, a laser from the blue line and her second of the season.

Sophomore forward Sarah Potomak was credited with the assist on the play, her 23rd of the year.

“It was awesome that one of them finally went in and we got rewarded,” Baldwin said. “It was a big turning point in the game for us, and we’ve been working so hard to get one goal, that is was awesome to see it go in.”

But just minutes into the third period, Ohio State evened the score.

Both teams were unable to break through in the rest of regulation or overtime for a tie, but a shootout ensued for the extra point in conference standings.

Both Minnesota and Ohio State scored in the first round. Senior captain Lee Stecklein led the charge for the Gophers.

However, neither team was able to net another, until Ohio State won the shootout in the 7th round.

The true story of the series was the impressive play from sophomore goaltender Emma May.

May, in her first career starts for Minnesota, kept the Ohio State forwards at bay all series.

“Our goaltending has been a little inconsistent,” Frost said. “Emma is somebody who has worked her butt off over the last year and a half … I thought the team played really well in front of her, too. She should be really proud of how she played this weekend.”

The Cretin-Derham Hall graduate and Eagan, Minnesota native had seven saves in the first game, and made 25 in the second, including two one-on-one opportunities stopped in their tracks.

May solidified herself as a potential starter in this series, providing the consistency the team has been needing between the pipes.

“We were really proud of her,” Reilly said. “She deserves it. Since we’ve been back from winter break, she’s been doing awesome in practice. We did everything we could to make sure we played well in the d-zone, and she did awesome … It was fun to see that.”