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No. 15/13 Ohio State vs. No. 7/7 Minnesota | Friday, Dec. 8 | 6:30 p.m. ET | Value City Arena | Columbus, Ohio
📺 BTN 🎥 BTN2Go | 📻 1460 AM, Tune In App, Buckeye Vision | 📊 Live Stats | Twitter Updates
No. 15/13 Ohio State vs. No. 7/7 Minnesota | Saturday, Dec. 9 | 8 p.m. ET | Value City Arena | Columbus, Ohio
📺 BTN 🎥 BTN2Go | 📻 1460 AM, Buckeye Vision | 📊 Live Stats | Twitter Updates
Setting the Scene
• The No. 15/13-ranked Ohio State men’s hockey team wraps up the first half of its schedule with two games vs. No. 7/7 Minnesota this weekend in Columbus. The Buckeyes (8-4-4, 3-4-1-0 B1G) and Golden Gophers (10-7-1, 4-5-1-1 B1G) will meet at 6:30 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday in Value City Arena in Columbus.
• Both games will be televised by BTN and available on BTN2Go for cable subscribers with BTN as part of their cable package. Dan Kelly and Ben Clymer will call the action for BTN.
• Herb Howenstine and John Mowat will have the radio call on 1460 AM in Columbus, online through Buckeye Vision on OhioStateBuckeyes.com and through the TuneIn app for mobile devices.
• Video, radio and live stats links can be found on the men’s hockey schedule and gameday pages on OhioStateBuckeyes.com, with ingame updates on Twitter @OhioState_MHKY as well.
Yoga + Hockey
• Saturday is Ladies Night Out, which includes an hour of yoga, an Ohio State yoga mat, a drink ticket and a game ticket for $30. A mini carnival will be available for children during the pregame yoga session. Packages may be purchased online at go.osu.edu/HockeyMom.
Ticket Talk, Parking
• Single game, mini plan and group tickets are available for Buckeye hockey home games. To purchase mini plan or group tickets, fans can call 1-800-GOBUCKS or email Athleticsales@osu.edu to speak with an Ohio State Ticket Sales Representative.
• Single game tickets can be purchased online go.osu.edu/MIH17single and at the arena on game night. Ohio State students are admitted free to all regular season home games with a valid BuckID. • Parking is free in designated lots around the arena on game night.
Buckeye Notes to Know
•The Buckeyes had a five-game unbeaten streak end with a loss to Penn State in their last time out. The squad is 8-4-4 overall, with a 3-4-1-0 mark in Big ten play.
• Ohio State is in the midst of a six-game homestand. The Buckeyes are 1-3-3 at home this season and are 7-1-1 on the road, ranking second nationally in road winning percentage (.833).
• The series vs. Minnesota ends the first half of the Buckeye schedule. The team will return to action with two games vs. No. 20 Niagara Dec. 29-30.
• Ohio State and Minnesota split two series last season. The teams opened Big Ten play Dec. 2-3 in Minneapolis, with a 5-3 Gopher victory and 8-3 Ohio State win. In Columbus Feb. 10-11, Ohio State won the opener 5-4 before a 6-5 Minnesota victory.
• Ohio State leads the NCAA on the penalty kill, stopping 54-of-59 (.915) opponent chances. Penn State scored with the man advantage last Saturday, ending a streak of 17 straight kills for the Buckeyes and marking the first PPG allowed in five games.
• The Buckeye power play is 10-for-66 (.152) on the year but is 7-for-28 (.250) in the last eight games combined.
• Sophomore Tanner Laczynski leads Ohio State with 14 assists and 20 points, with all 20 points coming in his last 12 games. Since Oct. 19, Laczynski is tied for first in the NCAA with 1.67 points per game.
• Two Buckeyes enter the weekend with the 100-point mark in their sights. Junior Mason Jobst has 99 points in 90 games with the Scarlet and Gray and senior Matthew Weis has 98 points as a Buckeye. All-time, 57 Buckeyes have hit triple digits. Jobst is looking to join R.J. Umberger and Ryan Dzingel as the most recent Ohio State skaters to reach 100 points as a junior.
• Ohio State is eighth nationally in team defense, allowing 2.25 goals per game. The squad has limited teams to two or fewer goals in 16 games this season but allowed a season-high five to Penn State last Friday.
• Redshirt junior goalie Sean Romeo has started 15 of 16 games and is 10th nationally in goals-against average (2.06).
• The Buckeyes are averaging 2.69 goals a night, with nine games with three or more goals. The squad was shut out for the first time this season Saturday night vs. Penn State.
In the Rankings
• Ohio State is No. 15 in the USCHO Top 20 this week, falling from its season high of No. 11 last week.
• The Buckeyes started the year ranked 19th in the USCHO poll, but dropped into the receiving votes category for three polls in a row. The squad moved back into the Top 20 at No. 16 Oct. 30. After that, the Buckeyes were No. 17 (Nov. 6), No. 16 (Nov. 13) and No. 15 (Nov. 20) before moving to No. 11 Nov. 27.
• Ohio State was in the receiving votes category of the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Top 15 poll through each of the first nine polls. The Buckeyes entered the poll last week at No. 13 and remained 13th this week.
• In the USCHO poll this week, five Big Ten teams are ranked - No. 4 Notre Dame, No. 7 Minnesota, No. 12 Wisconsin, No. 15 Ohio State and No. 18 Penn State. Michigan is receiving votes.
• In this week's USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, Notre Dame is No. 4, Minnesota is No. 7, Wisconsin is No. 12 and Ohio State is 13th, with Penn State the first team receiving votes.
Just the Stats
• Ohio State is averaging 2.69 goals a game and is allowing 2.25 goals per outing, ranking eighth nationally in scoring defense.
• The Buckeye power play is 10-for-66 (.152) on the year, with a power play goal in three of the last four games.
•The penalty kill has stopped 54-of-59 opponent opportunities (.915), ranking first in the NCAA. The squad averages 9.3 penalty minutes per game.
• Ohio State is averaging 33.2 shots on goal a game and allowing 26.9 shots on goal a night. Ohio State is in the Top 11 in shots for and allowed per game and ranks sixth in shots on goal margin per outing.
• Sophomore Tanner Laczynski has a team-best 14 assists and 20 points. Junior Mason Jobst leads the squad with seven goals and ranks second with 14 points. Senior Matthew Weis is second with eight assists and ranks third with 13 points. Laczynski is second with six goals, followed by Weis and senior Christian Lampasso with five each.
• In goal, redshirt junior Sean Romeo has started 15 of 16 games and has a 2.06 goals-against average and .920 save percentage, with a 7-4-4 record. Freshman Tommy Nappier has one start and two appearances, posting a 3.53 goals-against average and .902 save percentage, with one win.
Last Time Out - Buckeyes vs. Penn State
• Ohio State tied Penn State, 5-5, before losing the shootout and fell to the Nittany Lions, 4-0, last weekend in Columbus.
• Game One (Ohio State 5, Penn State 5 OT/PSU shootout win): Penn State led 6:20 into the game but a Christian Lampasso goal sent the teams into the first intermission tied at one. The Nittany Lions controlled play in the second, scoring the only two goals, for a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes. Ohio State scored twice in less than a minute early in the third, with Dakota Joshua and Tanner Laczynski (on the power play) tallying, to tie the game at three.
• Brendon Kearney scored a third straight Buckeye goal for a 4-3 advantage at 8:53 but Penn State tied the game at 12:25. Ohio State again went ahead when Freddy Gerard tallied at 15:35. With time expiring, a Penn State shot went through with just .7 left in regulation to tie the game for the fourth time and send it to overtime. Neither team scored in the extra session, with the Buckeye penalty kill stopping its fifth PK of the night in OT. Both teams secured a Big Ten point with the tie. A shootout was held for the extra point in the league standings and Penn State won, 1-0 in three rounds, as the first goal in the shootout stood.
• Game Two (Penn State 4, Ohio State 0): The teams were scoreless after the first period. Just 1:22 into the second period the Nittany Lions scored shorthanded and they followed with a power play goal at 6:21 for a 2-0 advantage. The Nittany Lions added goals at 4:49 and 15:22 of the third for the 4-0 final. Penn State was 1-for-3 on the power play, with the Buckeyes scoreless on five chances.
Buckeyes vs. Gophers
• The series between Ohio State and Minnesota dates to 1968 but 26 of the 32 games have been since 1999. Ohio State is 5-26-1 all-time vs. the Gophers but the teams split both series a season ago.
• This is the third straight year the teams are meeting in December, but the first December series in Columbus (and the first that doesn't open Big Ten play for the season). Dec. 4-5, 2015, Minnesota won two games in overtime (3-2 and 5-4). Last year, the squads split a series Dec. 2-3, 2016. Minnesota won the opener 5-3 before an 8-3 Buckeye victory in game two.
• The last series between the teams was in Columbus Feb. 10-11. Ohio State claimed game one, 5-4, before the Gophers won game two, 6-5.
• Junior Mason Jobst leads the Buckeyes with six goals and 10 points (in nine games) vs. Minnesota. Senior Matthew Weis also has 10 points (in 11 games), with a team-best eight assists. Senor Luke Stork has posted seven assists and eight points in a team-high 13 games vs. the Gophers. In four games last season, current sophomore Tanner Laczynski had a 2-5-7 line vs. Minnesota.
• Three current Buckeyes call Minnesota home - junior forward John Wiitala is from Lakeville and played for Lakeville South, while his classmate Miguel Fidler is from Edina and won Minnesota state tournament titles with Edina High School in 2013 and `14. Wyatt Ege, a sophomore transfer, hails from Elk River and graduated from Elk River High School.
• Buckeye head coach Steve Rohlik is a Saint Paul native and graduate of Hill-Murray High School. Rohlik served as the head coach at his alma mater, as well as spent a year coaching at Stillwater High School, before joining the collegiate coaching ranks full time. As a coach, Rohlik led Hill-Murray to two state tournament appearances, including a runner-up finish in 1993. • Dustin Carlson, a Buckeye from 2008-11 who is now the team's volunteer coach, is a native of Forest Lake, Minn.
Buckeyes vs. Gophers - The Last Series
• Ohio State split two games with Minnesota Feb. 10-11 in Columbus, winning the opener 5-4 before a 6-5 loss.
• Game 1 (Ohio State 5, Minnesota 4): Ohio State led 2-0 after the first period on goals by Matthew Weis and Nick Schilkey. The Gophers scored the next three, tallying on the power play 46 seconds into the second period and adding goals at 4:09 and 10:15. Just 49 seconds after Minnesota had taken a 3-2 lead Buckeye junior Kevin Miller scored to deadlock the score at three.
• In the third, Mason Jobst put the Buckeyes ahead at 3:47 with a power play goal and Tanner Laczynski made it a two-goal advantage at 15:07. The Gophers scored with the net empty at 18:07 to draw within one, but a late penalty on Minnesota took away the advantage of the extra attacker.
• Four Buckeyes – Schilkey, Jobst, Laczynski and Weis – had a goal and an assist in the game, while Sasha Larocque had two helpers. Matt Tomkins made 35 saves in the win.
• Game 2 (Minnesota 6, Ohio State 5): The Buckeyes led 1-0 after the first period on a Matt Miller power play goal and extended the lead to 3-0 by 5:32 of the second on goals from Jobst and Dakota Joshua. The Gophers scored the next two for a one-goal game but Schilkey tallied for the Buckeyes for a 4-2 lead at 14:10 of the second. Minnesota then took advantage of a five-minute major power play and converted twice to tie the game at four after 40 minutes. The Buckeyes regained the lead in the third on Joshua’s second goal of the night. A second major power play for the Gophers started at 11:00 and they tied the game and took the lead during the opportunity. In all, eight of the 11 goals in the game (including all six by Minnesota) were scored on the power play.
• Minnesota is 10-7-1 overall and has a 4-5-1 record in Big Ten play. Last weekend, the Gophers split a series at home vs. Wisconsin, with a 5-4 win and 3-2 loss. In league play, Minnesota swept Michigan State at home, split with Penn State at home, was 0-1-1 at Michigan and lost two games at Notre Dame. The squad has an 8-2-0 mark at home, 1-5-1 ledger in road games and a neutral site win.
• Minnesota is averaging 2.83 goals per game and allowing 2.5 an outing. The power play is 13-for-77 (.169) and the penalty kill is 61-for-75 (.813). The Gophers average 30.4 shots on goal per game, allowing 28.2 a night. The squad has averaged 13.4 penalty minutes per game.
• Rem Pitlick is first on the squad with eight goals and 19 points (ranking second with 11 helpers) and Tommy Novak is first with 15 assists, ranking second with 17 points. Four Gophers are tied for second with five goals each and Casey Mittelstadt is third with 10 assists and 15 points.
• In goal, Eric Schierhorn has started all 18 games and has a 2.49 goals-against average and .911 save percentage.
In the B1G
• This weekend features three Big Ten series - Minnesota at Ohio State, Notre Dame at Wisconsin and a home-and-home series between Michigan and Michigan State.
• Penn State and Minnesota have played 10 league games each, with the other five teams skating in eight B1G contests.
• Notre Dame is first in the league with 24 points and an 8-0-0 ledger. Six points separate teams two through six. Penn State (4-4-2-1) is second with 15 points, followed by Minnesota (14/4-5-1-1), Wisconsin (13/4-3-1-0), Ohio State (10/3-4-1-0) and Michigan (9/2-4-2-1). Michigan State (1-6-1-1) has five points.
• With the addition of Notre Dame to the league this year, the conference has changed its postseason format, going to a three-round format on campus sites. The No. 1 seed will receive a first round bye, with Nos. 2-4 hosting 5-7 in best of three quarterfinal series. The highest remaining seeds will then host single game semifinals before a championship game hosted by the highest remaining seed.
• Ohio State returns to action with a two-game set vs. Niagara Dec. 29 and 30, the last nonconference games of the regular season. Puck drop for game one is 7 p.m., with game two set for 8 p.m. (following a men's basketball game at noon).
• A pregame Hockey Hour is scheduled for the Dec. 29 game, with pregame activities on the concourse and drinks discounted. The Dec. 30 matchup is a Brutus Buddies game.
Complete notes, bios and statistics in the PDF above
My Gameday - Tim Adams