Miller’s Blast Sends Men’s Hockey Past Gophers in 3-on-3 OT

By Aubrey Nelson on December 1, 2018 at 12:15 am
Buckeye hockey huddle

No. 5 Ohio State and Minnesota met for their first Big Ten battle of the 2018-19 season on Friday night. The Buckeyes played well for extended stretches but missed a few opportunities which would have ended the game well before their eventual 3-on-3 overtime victory.

Scoring by Period 1 2 3 OT Final 3v3
No. 5 Ohio State 0 1 1 0 2 1
Minnesota  1 0 1 0 2 0

The Buckeyes were the better team through the first 20 minutes. Yet the Gophers led, 1-0, at the first intermission. While shorthanded Minnesota freshman Sammy Walker liberated the puck along the wall. Ryan Norman carried it away on a 2-on-1. He took the shot himself, beating Buckeye goalie Sean Romeo to open the scoring.

Buckeye Goal Scorers (Assists) Pd Time
John Wiitala (Tanner Laczynski, Wyatt Ege) 2 6:06
Ronnie Hein (Freddy Gerard, Matt Miller) 3 17:12
PP - Matt Miller (Mason Jobst, Tanner Laczynski) 3v3 4:24

Ohio State was flat out dominant in the second period. The Bucks put 12 shots on goal to Minnesota’s four. The Gophers did not register a shot for the first eight minutes of the stanza.

The dynamic duo of Dakota Joshua and John Wiitala led the offensive charge as OSU played considerable minutes deep in the Minnesota zone. The pair helped orchestrate a game-tying goal in the early going. Wiitala blasted home a feed from Tanner Laczynski while Joshua distracted everyone by running over a Gopher in the slot.

Truthfully, I can’t fathom why this goal was not immediately waved off and Joshua assessed a penalty for interference. Then again, I don’t wear the stripes.

The Buckeyes had a real chance to salt the win away in the second period but couldn’t muster more than the one goal. They saw several Grade A chances thwarted by either Gopher goalie Mat Robson or mishandled pucks. Carson Meyer had a particularly juicy opportunity mano-a-mano with Robson and failed to get off a satisfactory shot.

OSU’s lack of finish hurt. Instead of capitalizing on those second period chances and leading going into the third, Ohio State entered the final period deadlocked with Minnesota at 1-1. 

And yet it looked as though everything would turn out alright for the Bucks. Under three minutes to play in the game Freddy Gerard found Ronnie Hein with a pass. Hein located a seam in the Gopher defense, slipped through, and shoveled a backhand by Robson for a 2-1 lead.

But the Buckeyes fell back into some of their old habits as the game progressed. Turnovers and vague puck handling by the Bucks became some quality chances for Minnesota. With seconds remaining on the clock, on a power play, and with the extra attacker to boot, Tyler Sheehy set up Rem Pitlick for a game-tying blast.

The teams played a scoreless 5-on-5 overtime session, enlivened by some spectacular highway robbery by Romeo.

Per new Big Ten rules, the tied game proceeded to a 3-on-3 overtime where the team traded power plays. Ohio State killed off Minnesota’s 4-on-3 advantage. Then Sasha Larocque drew the Gophers into a penalty. On the ensuing advantage, Matt Miller hammered home the game-winning power play bomb.

Again, per the Big Ten’s weird new rules, this game officially counts as a tie for Ohio State. The Buckeyes get an extra conference point for “winning” outside of the 65-minute frame of a “normal” hockey game. 

The Bucks and Gophers battle again tomorrow evening at 5pm ET. The game airs on FS North and SportsTime Ohio. You can stream it live via BTN2GO and

  • Ohio State outshot Minnesota 29-17 in the contest. Dakota Joshua led the Bucks with six.
  • OSU’s special teams left a lot to be desired. The Bucks were 0-for-4 on the power play with just two total shots on goal and a shorthanded goal against. The penalty kill was 1-for-2.