Updated: 03/24/2014 3:43 PM
Created: 03/21/2014 11:10 PM KSTP.com
Despite outshooting Ohio State and producing more high-quality scoring chances, No. 1 Minnesota fell 3-1 on Friday night in the semifinals of the inaugural Big Ten Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.
The Gophers (25-6-6, 14-4-3) ran into a hot goalie in the Buckeyes' Christian Frey. The freshman stopped 30 shots and handled just about everything the Gophers threw at him all night.
Ohio State went ahead 1-0 late in the first period when Nick Schilkey redirected a shot past Gophers' goaltender Adam Wilcox at 15:20. The Buckeyes nearly scored another goal as time expired in the first period as a puck bounced off the board and somehow got between Wilcox and the pipe. The puck slid along the goal line but did not cross it. Max McCormick pushed the puck into the net a fraction of a second after the clock hit zero.
The Gophers tied the game early in the second period when Taylor Cammarata connected on a pass to Kyle Rau, who was waiting on the backside of the net and slipped the puck past Frey.
Ohio State had two power play opportunities in the second period to try and regain the lead, but Minnesota played well defensively and no legitimate threat developed.
The game remained tied at one entering the third period.
Minnesota, who had dominated the game in almost every aspect but was unable to score, produced more scoring chances in the third, but still was unable to score.
Ohio State was.
After a too many men on the ice penalty about five minutes into the period on the Gophers, Ohio State found itself on another power play opportunity. Minnesota again killed the power play, but soon afterward, Ryan Dzingel's shot was deflected off a Minnesota stick and went in to make it 2-1 Buckeyes.
The Gophers had a chance to answer with seven minutes remaining after a scrum in front of the net, but Seth Ambroz punched the puck into the net with his glove, and so the goal was not allowed.
Ohio State sealed the win in the final minute with an empty-net goal from Anthony Greco.
Minnesota still received the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament despite the loss. The Gophers will face Robert Morris in the NCAA West Regional at Xcel Energy Center Saturday. The other two teams in the regional are Notre Dame and St. Cloud State.
Ohio State fell to Wisconsin in the championship game and failed to make the NCAA Tournament.