For the first time since October, music played post-game in Minnesota’s locker room and not its opponent’s for two straight nights.
Sophomore forward Leon Bristedt scored an overtime goal on Saturday night to give Minnesota a 5-4 victory and a series sweep of Ohio State, one night after they had won 3-2 off of another overtime winner from junior forward Hudson Fasching.
The Gophers coughed up a two-goal lead late in the third period on Saturday night, but both games ended the same, with a group of Minnesota players swarming the ice to celebrate.
Saturday’s victory was even sweeter for Bristedt, whose father traveled from Sweden to watch the game.
“It’s pure happiness and relief,” Bristedt said Saturday. “Just a great feeling. There’s nothing better than ending the weekend in an overtime win.”
Minnesota (6-7, 2-0 Big Ten) was clinging to a one-goal lead Saturday after Ohio State (3-11, 0-2 Big Ten) scored with fewer than seven minutes left in the third period. Then sophomore defenseman Ryan Collins was ejected and given a five minute major for checking from behind, putting the Buckeyes on the power play for almost the entire remainder of regulation.
The Gophers were able to keep the Buckeyes from scoring for the majority of the penalty, but Ohio State pulled their goaltender with 1:21 remaining and tied the game on a 6-on-4 opportunity with 26.4 seconds to send it to overtime.
Early on in overtime, Bristedt’s line continuously chipped at a puck in the crease, and 81 seconds into the period the Stockholm native scored to give his team the victory.
“The guys did a good job of hanging in there and gave us a chance to at least get into overtime,” head coach Don Lucia said. “They stayed with it and stayed on the hunt.
Great way to finish the weekend for us to win in overtime again.”
The Gophers lost a two-goal lead in the third on Saturday, and Ohio State did the same Friday.
Freshmen forwards Tyler Sheehy and Tommy Novak both scored power-play goals in the third period to tie the game up at two. Novak’s goal came with just more than four minutes remaining in the game.
Novak played a big role in overtime as well, wrapping around the left side of the Ohio State net before sending a pass to Fasching. The junior then shot in past Buckeyes goaltender Christian Frey to end the game.
“I saw Tommy wheeling, and he’s sneaky,” Fasching said Friday. “I just kind of moved down right there, and he made a perfect pass right in the wheelhouse, so it was a great play by him.”
Junior captain Justin Kloos had four points on Saturday, scoring three assists and a game-tying goal in the second period when Minnesota was down 2-1.
Sheehy added two goals on Saturday and had four points total over the weekend.
“He’s been outstanding. He’s playing a lot more mature than a freshman,” Kloos said.
Minnesota went 3-5 on the power play, while Ohio State went 2-9 for the weekend.
The Gophers victory on Friday snapped a three-game losing streak.
“I know that we have a group of guys that are able to win,” Bristedt said. “It’s just like making a puzzle. You just got to fit the pieces together, I feel like. We’re starting to come along. Puzzle starting to look pretty good.”