Series Split: Two Highlight-reel Goals Help Propel Gophers Over Ohio State

Nov. 13, 2021: Freshman forward Matthew Knies records a goal and an assist in the series split.

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MINNEAPOLIS, MINN – After an impressive first period of play in game one, the Gophers carried a 3-0 lead into the second period but eventually watched it slip away. Earlier in the week Gophers head coach Bob Motzko said not to count the Ohio State Buckeyes out. “They love being the underdog,” and he was not wrong.

For the second time this year, the Buckeyes came roaring back down three to score four unanswered to win it. The Buckeyes have come from behind to win after trailing in the second period now for the third consecutive game.

“We couldn’t have had a better start then we took a couple of bad penalties and allowed them back in the game. I’m very disappointed in how many shots we missed tonight,” Motzko stated in the post-game press conference. Three first period goals for the Gophers, two of them by Ben Meyers in the final minute of the period. It seemed like Minnesota was in control heading to the second period.

Ultimately the Gophers were the reason Ohio came back in the first game. After the first period, it was the Gophers game, outscoring the Buckeyes 3-0 and outshooting Ohio 11-3, Minnesota created a sizable advantage going into the first intermission.

Multiple penalties and turnovers allowed Ohio back into the game and just as we thought we had seen enough of Gopher turnovers and miscues, they coughed up multiple pucks which led to four unanswered by the Buckeyes to complete the comeback.

“I’m disappointed in what we did to give them the push,” Motzko said. “We gave them three straight penalties and now our captain is taking one in the offensive zone. Now you start to blow your energy out.”

The Gophers knew they are the better team but they just didn’t play like it on Friday night’s loss. Something that has been stressed since the start of the season is limiting the turnovers.

If Minnesota wanted to have a chance in game two vs Ohio, it would have to neutralize the turnovers and stay out of the box. Some have said LaFontaine needs to sit a game on the bench and watch. He has also been described as ‘not the same as he used to be.’

I don’t want to sound like a broken record but, the Gophers have been leaving LaFontaine out to dry with numerous turnovers and costly penalties it seems like every game.

“We learned our lesson. It stings a bit but I don’t think we will allow this to happen again,” Jack Perbix said following the loss.

Jackson LaCombe added: “We just have to finish our games. We can’t start like that then allow them to come back and win it. We got to come together as a team and figure this thing out.”

Sorenson, Knies, and LaFontaine propel the Gophers past Ohio State in game two

After the Buckeyes came from behind down three goals on Friday, Motzko’s Gophers knew they needed to respond in a big way for game two.

After what seemed like a pretty even first period of play, Johnny Sorenson pulled off a highlight-reel goal as he cut into the slot looking for a pass, then dangled a couple of Buckeyes and finished off his move with a wicked snipe. Sorenson’s goal came off a nice pass from Aaron Huglen which certainly caught Buckeyes goalie Jakub Dobes off guard.

The goal by Jonny Sorenson was not only a beautiful goal but it gave the Gophers a lot of momentum going into the second period with the lead. The difference between the second period in game one and game two was certainly evident.

The Buckeyes are a come-from-behind team, they stick to their structure and force you to make mistakes then capitalize. Well, Motzko’s Gophers made zero mistakes in game two and were rewarded with a 2-0 victory.

The reason why the Gophers won this game was shown by the way they played in the second period. When the Buckeyes get down a goal they play a more physical and aggressive game and try and make the opposition cough the puck up. They did it in both of the two games vs Penn State the weekend before and they tried to do it again on Saturday night against the Gophers.

The Gophers stuck to their game and matched the way Ohio was playing. The message going into the second period was simple, play like it’s a nothing-nothing game.

The Gophers had an even bigger jump going into the third period. Proving to all that they are capable of sticking to their game.

After getting five power-play chances on Friday night’s tilt, the Gophers got one chance on the man advantage and Matthew Knies made them pay.

“When Knies gets the puck everyone lifts their head in awe and watches him,” Jonny Sorenson said. “The goal was unreal. Everyone on the bench stood up to watch, and then he buried it.”

With just about a minute gone in the power play, James Marooney tried to clear the zone, Knies pick-pocketed him then continued to walk around three Buckeyes – including the goalie, to then pull off a magical goal.

Although it may seem like Jack LaFontaine had an easy night, most of the Buckeyes’ chances were high danger scoring opportunities that LaFontaine had to stand tall in.

“He’s amazing. I know a lot of people said Jack didn’t play very good last night, but I thought we didn’t help him out at all in that aspect. Look, he’s Laffer and he’s the best goalie for a reason,” Sorenson told the media after LaFontaine recorded his first shutout of the year.


Chaz Lucius and Grant Cruikshank have been out with upper-body injuries but are announced as “closer.” They may be ready for the two games against Penn State starting November 19th.

Gophers are now 7-5-0 on the season and 4-2-1 in Big Ten play.

Penn State University is 6-5-0 on the year and was just recently swept by the University of Michigan Wolverines.

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