Men’s hockey edges Ohio State 3-1

Brian Deutsch

Riding the momentum of a strong first period and three Gophers recording their first goals of the season, the Minnesota men’s hockey team was able to edge out Ohio State 3-1 Thursday night at Mariucci Arena.

Contrary to the past two weeks, when Minnesota came out less than stellar, the first period was all Gophers on Thursday night.

Peppering 16 shots on goal in the opening stanza allowed Minnesota plenty of chances to take an early lead.

And the tenth-ranked Gophers (3-2-0 overall, 0-2-0 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) took advantage of their opportunities with a pair of goals from senior forward Ben Gordon and junior forward Justin Bostrom.

The goals were both players’ first of the young season, but notching that first goal was doubly helpful according to Gordon.

“It was good to get one early in the game for our team,” he said. “And it was good to get one, in general, for myself to get myself going here a little bit.”

Meanwhile, Ohio State (2-3-0, 0-2-0 Central Collegiate Hockey Association) didn’t put a shot on goal in the game’s first 17:05 of play. The Buckeyes ended the period with just two shots on goal, neither had any real promise.

The second period saw Minnesota power-play nearly end its drought when senior forward Mike Howe scored the game’s third goal and his first of the season just as Buckeyes senior defenseman Johann Kroll was getting out of the penalty box.

The Gophers again were blanked tonight when on the advantage ñ failing to convert on two power-play opportunities.

Minnesota’s streak of consecutive power-plays now stands at 17 although tonight they couldn’t be blamed for lack of trying.

The Buckeyes also were shutout on the advantage going 0-for-3.

Ohio State began to heat up in the second and third periods and at times looked to hold an edge over Minnesota.

Freshman forward Peter Boyd cut the deficit to a pair of goals at the 15:54 mark of the second stanza.

“I really liked the way we played the second and third period,” Ohio State coach John Markell said. “It’s irrelevant the way we played the first period. Obviously, we know it cost us.”

But the momentum of Boyd’s goal couldn’t quite carry the Buckeyes any closer and Minnesota would hold on to the two-goal lead indefinitely.

The Buckeyes were able to shut down Minnesota’s top-offensive line of freshman Mike Hoeffel and sophomores Kyle Okposo and Jay Barriball.

Through five games this season, the three forwards have just one goal between them ñ a power-play goal from Okposo in the win over R.P.I. in the first game of the season.

“We need to get Kyle and Jay scoring. They’re our two leading scorers,” Minnesota coach Don Lucia said. “We need to find the right chemistry on that line and whether that’s for them to play together or finding the right person to play with them.”

Junior goalie Jeff Frazee picked up his third win of the season in net ñ stopping 21-of-22 shots.

Lucia said freshman Alex Kangas will get the starting nod for Friday’s game against the Buckeyes, which starts at 7:07 p.m., and junior Brent Solei will be in goal for Saturday’s exhibition game against the U.S. Under-18 team.