The Golden Gophers hosted Ohio State University at Mariucci Arena to open Big Ten Conference play on Friday. I love the fact that the Gophers play on campus in one of the top arenas in division one hockey, but the drive to Stadium Village on a Friday night from the suburbs is a nightmare. The fact that I am not used to seeing more than ten cars on the road at a time only complicates the issue. Starting the drive almost 90 minutes before puck drop, I walked into the arena as the National Anthem started.
I was not the only one to fight traffic and go into combat for a parking spot. It took much of the first period to fill the arena.
Play was fairly even in the first period, with Minnesota having the edge in shots on goal, but OSU led on a goal by Josh Healey. In the second, Minnesota put on a clinic on how to dominate play yet trail. Nick Schilkey scored a power play goal to increase the Buckeyes lead to 2-0, even though the Gophers kept much of the play in the Ohio State end. Since that was the end of the rink my seats were at, I enjoyed a thrilling period of hockey.
Minnesota came out and dominated the third period with a 15-6 SOG advantage. Two PPG’s by Tyler Sheehy and Tommy Novak, both freshmen, tied the score up and the game went into overtime. OT started and the Buckeyes were defending the end I was at. Sitting in the second row, I had a great view of Tommy Novak’s feed to Hudson Fasching for the game winner.
The win was the 400th for Gopher coach Don Lucia at Minnesota. Tommy Novak and Hudson Fasching both had 2-point nights. Attendance was 9296.