Gopher men’s hockey advances to Big 10 title game

Taylor Cammarata scored twice and Tyler Sheehy added three points as the No. 20 Gopher Hockey program topped Ohio State 4-2 in Friday’s semifinal matchup for the 2016 Big Ten Tournament at Xcel Energy Center.


The Gophers (20-16-0) rallied from a first-period deficit with four-unanswered goals in the third period to lock up a second-straight trip to the conference championship game and a second-straight meeting with Michigan in the game.


With Big Ten Goaltender of the Year and a First Team All-Big Ten honoree Eric Schierhorn making 27 saves in net for Minnesota, the Maroon & Gold picked up their fifth win over the Buckeyes in five games this season – three of which saw the Gophers come back to win after surrendering the opening goal. Friday’s come-back win was also the second-consecutive game and third overall contest this year that saw Minnesota pick up a victory despite trailing after the first period.


Ohio State (14-18-4) struck first on Friday with Kevin Miller notching his fourth goal of the year at 13:01 of the first period while the two teams battled without reward for the remainder of the first 40 minutes of play.


After waiting for their chance, the Gophers finally got the equalizer 1:36 into the third period when Sheehy powered a wrist shot into the back of the net for his 12th goal of the year. Justin Kloos picked up the lone assist on the goal.


Less than four minutes later, Vinni Lettieri gave the Gophers the lead with his sixth goal of the year at 5:20. Leon Bristedt’s spin move behind the net opened up Lettieri, who was streaking towards the crease and fired home the go-ahead goal. Brent Gates Jr. also earned an assist on the goal.


Cammarata made it a two-goal game at 11:11 with his sixth of the year after Sheehy forced a Buckeye turnover in the offensive zone to setup Cammarata, who then made it a 4-1 game with his second of the night at 16:38 off another assist from Sheehy. Ohio State cut the lead to two at 17:44 when David Gust scored, but the Buckeyes would get no closer.


Schierhorn moved to 20-16-0 on the year with the victory while Minnesota outshot Ohio State 45-29, matching the team’s high for the 2015-16 season.


Minnesota and Michigan, who split four games in the regular season this year, will once again face off for the Big Ten playoff title on Saturday at 7 p.m. CT


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