Jimmy Snuggerud had two goals and an assist all in the first period, Rhett Pitlick scored for the seventh game in a row and the Gophers men's hockey team beat Ohio State 5-4 on Friday night at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Justen Close made 34 saves, Brody Lamb had a goal and an assist and Connor Kurth put the Gophers (10-5-3, 6-4-2 Big Ten) ahead for good with a second-period goal. The Gophers scored twice on the power play, giving them goals on the man advantage in eight of their past 10 games, including five in a row. During those 10 games, the Gophers are 11-for-32 (34.4%) on the power play.
"Our power play was critical tonight," Gophers coach Bob Motzko said.
Snuggerud, who scored unassisted 4:06 into the game to put the Gophers up 1-0, also recorded Friday's first power-play goal, which came after Ohio State's Thomas Weis was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for hitting Carl Fish from behind. Snuggerud's power-play goal tied the score at 2-2 less than halfway through the first period.
Snuggerud reclaimed the team lead in goals from Bryce Brodzinski, with 11 on the season. Four of those have come on the power play, matching Brodzinski for the team high.
Pitlick then put the Gophers up seven minutes later, scoring off a pass from Snuggerud. Pitlick has the longest active goal-scoring streak in the nation.
Ohio State — which pulled goalie Logan Terness early for the second game in a row during the first intermission — tied it up again at 3-3 on Stephen Halliday's goal at the 12:36 mark of the second period, but the Gophers went ahead to stay four minutes later. Brody Lamb fed Aaron Huglen, who immediately returned the puck to Lamb via a nifty behind-the-back pass. Lamb's shot was saved by Kristoffer Eberly, but Kurth cleaned up on the rebound for his fourth goal of the season.
Lamb made it a two-goal lead with another goal off a rebound, this one off a one-timer from Mike Koster's shot on the power play at the 7:28 mark of the third period. That goal proved big when the Buckeyes' Damien Carfagna scored with 4:46 to play, pulling last-place Ohio State (5-9-2, 0-9) within 5-4. But Close closed it out from there, improving to 9-5-3 this season.
"We're running on fumes a little bit right now," Motzko said. "We'll have enough in the tank tomorrow. We haven't had a break the whole first half."
Cam Thiesing and Patrick Guzzo scored first-period goals for Ohio State. Terness and Eberly each made 10 saves.