The Gophers tried to skate out a victory Friday night up 4-3 against Ohio State while the clock kept winding down.
The Buckeyes pulled their goalie for an extra attacker and launched a flurry of shots to try and tie the game. With 0.1 seconds left, they did.
Minnesota rallied to win the game in overtime before winning another close game 4-3 on Saturday to sweep the Buckeyes.
The Gophers moved into first place in the Big Ten, but the final 0.1 seconds of the third period Friday night nearly cost the team conference points.
“[There] was kind of a scramble in front of the net,” freshman goaltender Eric Schierhorn said to reporters after Friday’s game. “All of the sudden, [the puck] pops out to their guy, and it’s in the net with 0.1 seconds left.”
The goal pushed the Gophers and Buckeyes to overtime for the third time in their first three meetings this season.
Minnesota won all three, and junior forward Justin Kloos scored the overtime winner on Friday to give his team a 5-4 victory.
The Gophers (16-13, 11-3 Big Ten) didn’t need overtime to win on Saturday. The team took a 3-0 lead in the second period and held on for its second sweep of Ohio State.
“It was big for us to get the sweep,” junior forward Vinni Lettieri said to reporters after Saturday’s game. “We wanted to come here … and gain a lot of points out of this. We accomplished our goal coming here, and we’re happy about it.”
Kloos, the team’s captain, had two goals Friday night, and junior forward Hudson Fasching, an assistant captain, scored two on Saturday.
“When your big boys step up and make plays, we’re a better team,” head coach Don Lucia said to reporters after Saturday’s game. “That’s what’s happened here the last couple of months.”
Saturday’s game was still close by the third period despite the Gophers’ early goals.
Fasching scored shorthanded just more than halfway through the first period, and later on in the first, redshirt junior Connor Reilly added another goal. Fasching extended the lead further over five minutes into the second period with another goal.
“It’s nice to get a goal, get some momentum going,” Fasching said to reporters. “You can build some confidence within yourself.”
The Buckeyes answered back 18 seconds later with a goal from freshman forward Mason Jobst, but two minutes after that, sophomore forward Leon Bristedt scored for Minnesota.
Ohio State scored two goals in the third period and was within one with more than eight minutes to play, but this time the Gophers held their lead.
“We focused on some detail in the last couple minutes,” Fasching said to reporters after Saturday’s game. “Six-on-five, making sure our positioning was good. … They didn’t get any grade-A chances in the last five minutes.”
Despite the sweep, the Gophers’ power play struggled over the weekend, going 0-4. The team is now 1-12 in its last 13 power-play opportunities.
“Bottom line is we won,” Lucia said to reporters after Saturday’s game. “We got our two wins, which we needed, and we’ll move on.”