There were two eerily similar results for the Gophers this weekend.
In the official standings, the Gophers marked two ties this weekend against No. 5 Ohio State. In terms of conference play, the Buckeyes scored late in the 3-on-3 sudden-death overtime to take two extra Big Ten points on the line in the weekend series.
"We'll take the points, and obviously it says that we tie[d] both games, but we lost both games," goaltender Mat Robson said. "I gave up two overtime goals, so I kind of feel that one a little bit more than anyone else."
Minnesota tied 2-2, and then unofficially lost in double overtime on Friday night. The team came back the next day and ended in another 2-2 tie, where Ohio State again took the extra Big Ten point in double overtime. The Gophers mustered 17 shots in each extra-long game, while Robson faced 75 total shots on the weekend. Head coach Bob Motzko called Robson the MVP of the weekend.
The series finale on Saturday started slow for Minnesota, as the Gophers found themselves in a two-goal hole late in the first period. This was after Buckeyes forward Mason Jobst found the puck net to Robson, and then shot it into the net with Robson on the other side of the crease. The power play goal gave Ohio State a 2-0 lead. The first goal came about a minute earlier, when Brendon Kearney caught a pass in the slot — beating Robson on the low glove side.
With 2:36 left in the first frame, Minnesota defenseman Sam Rossini responded when the puck came out to him after a frantic scuffle in front of the net. He threw a wrist shot into the back of the net, while the Buckeyes' goaltender Tommy Nappier couldn't see where the shot was coming from. The goal was Rossini's first point of the season.
"He brings a presence when he's in the lineup, and he's a big body. He finds ways to get pucks through to the net. He's been doing that for two years really when he's been in the lineup, so that was good for him, and hopefully continues to grow," forward Brent Gates Jr. said.
Gates Jr. tied the game at 2-2 mid-way through the second period. He found the puck in the crease and buried it into an empty net after Rem Pitlick had his shot saved on a quick pass from Tyler Sheehy.
After no scoring in the third, the Gophers went into their fourth overtime of the weekend. Ohio State had a goal called back in the first round of overtime because of a high stick call, but Ohio State's Quinn Preston ended the game with 1:37 left in the game on a goal.
"We didn't lose a game this weekend," said Motzko. "It gives us something to continue to build on; I mean, that's a good hockey team."
The Gophers officially tied the first game of the series thanks to an equalizing score from Pitlick with 41 seconds left in the third period — making the game 2-2. Ohio State scored late in the second frame of overtime, with the new layout where the teams play 3-on-3 for a five-minute sudden-death period. Ohio State earned an extra Big Ten Conference point with the tie breaker, but it went into the NCAA books as a tie.
The Gophers finished their six-game home stretch going 2-2-2. They will play again this weekend in a two-game away series at Michigan Friday and Saturday night.