Coming into this game, 13 of Ohio State's 17 conference games were decided by a goal or less. Make that 14 now. The Buckeyes toppled the top ranked Gophers in a shootout tonight.
Minnesota got on the board first with Kyle Rau cleaning up a rebound during a Gopher power play. That would be the only goal scored through 40 minutes. Christian Frey and Adam Wilcox each made some sterling saves. Wilcox was especially impressive in the middle frame. With the Buckeyes pressing he made stop after quality stop.
Ryan Dzingel tied the game at 2:31 of the third period. The power play tally was his team leading 18th goal of the season. That score didn't hold up for long. Gabe Guertler put Minnesota back on top on the next shift.
It could have been a demoralizing play. Instead Ohio State dug in and really took the game to Wilcox. Eventually their hard work paid off. Nick Schilkey took advantage of a scramble in front of the net, popping the puck by a distracted Wilcox. All told, the Bucks outshot the Gophers 15-3 in the third period.
Ohio State continued to apply serious pressure in the overtime period. Wilcox continued to stone the Buckeyes. A Dzingel breakaway with 1:33 left on the clock brought fans to their feet, but Wilcox was once again equal to the task.
Wilcox's stellar outing somewhat overshadowed a strong game by Frey. The Buckeyes' freshman netminder played well throughout and was superb in the shootout. He turned aside all three Minnesota attempts. Schilkey gave Frey all the support he would need. The first shooter up for OSU, he drilled a shot five hole on Wilcox.
With the shootout victory the Buckeyes have now earned at least one point against every Big Ten opponent this season. They remain in fourth place in the conference, six points behind Michigan and two ahead of Michigan State. Ohio State will finish the regular season next week with a series at Penn State.