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Gophers men’s hockey sweeps Ohio State on the road

Minnesota’s high-scoring ways continued in Columbus, and the Buckeyes were the seventh opponent they swept this season.
Image by Audrey Rauth
Team members celebrate a goal against Notre Dame in the final four minutes of the match on Saturday, Jan. 16 at the 3M Arena at Mariucci. The Gophers lost their second match against Notre Dame 2-1.

Gophers take first game 5-1 Friday

In their first game on the road against the Buckeyes, the Gophers’ offensive prowess continued, with five different skaters scoring in their 5-1 win Friday night.

After coming out strong with two goals in the first period, Minnesota’s Ben Meyers and Blake McLaughlin rounded out the scoring for Minnesota in the third. Despite their struggles, Ohio State was also able to get on the board in the final frame. After going to the power play following a Gophers penalty, Quinn Preston scored for the Buckeyes to put the final score at 5-1.

Mclaughlin also contributed with key assists, setting up Sammy Walker’s second-period goal and assisting Jackson LaCombe in the first period. LaCombe’s goal came when the Gophers were on the penalty kill early and forced a neutral zone turnover to create a shorthanded chance. LaCombe rebounded a shot from McLaughlin that deflected off Ohio State’s goaltender to score.

Sampo Ranta scored his 11th of the season in the first period, taking a pass from Meyers in from the neutral zone himself and using his speed to bypass the Buckeyes’ defense.

Gophers bring out brooms with 5-2 win on Saturday

Special teams were key in Minnesota’s second meeting with Ohio State, and capitalizing on power play opportunities gave them added insurance en route to their 5-2 win to complete a sweep of the Buckeyes.

A late empty-net goal tucked away from Walker padded Minnesota’s lead further in the third period to secure another five-goal performance for the Gophers. Ohio State’s young squad had a better outing on Saturday, outshooting Minnesota and scoring at a key moment in the third period, but their mistakes caught up with them.

In the second period, two Buckeyes were called for penalties on the same play, resulting in extended power play time for Minnesota. At one end of the ice, Collin Peters illegally checked Minnesota’s Mike Koster from behind, while Ryan O’Connell was called for tripping Scott Reedy at the other. Collin’s hit resulted in a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct, ejecting him from the game.

With O’Connell’s minor penalty tacked on, this gave Minnesota a 5-on-3 advantage for two minutes, and a regular power play chance for another three. They fully capitalized on the opportunity, with Ranta and Jaxon Nelson scoring to bring Minnesota’s lead to 3-0 in short order.

In the first period, LaCombe scored shorthanded for the second time this weekend to get Minnesota on the board first. LaCombe said after the game that to do so two nights in a row was awesome, but credited McLaughlin for setting up the play.

“Blake [McLaughlin] made a great play there on the two-on-one and I just happened to be there, so great play by him, and a lucky goal,” he said.

Minnesota will return to home ice next weekend for a rematch with Wisconsin on Feb. 5-6.

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