Gophers hockey suffers shootout loss at Ohio State

The Gophers blew a late lead on Saturday night, eventually losing a shootout at Ohio State.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The top-ranked Minnesota men's hockey squad suffered a gut-wrenching, shootout loss at Ohio State Saturday night. The Big Ten contest went into overtime tied at 2-all before Ohio State won the evening's shootout by a 1-0 margin, with the Buckeyes' Nick Schilkey tallying the only goal after regulation. Technically, Saturday's game goes in the record books as a 2-2 tie, with Minnesota falling in the subsequent shootout.

As a result, Minnesota cost itself a chance to clinch the inaugural Big Ten conference regular-season championship.

Minnesota bolted out to a 1-0 lead at 2:32 of the first period Saturday, when Kyle Rau lit the lamp with a power-play score.

Then, after a long lull, the host Buckeyes knotted the score at 1-all at 17:29 of the third period, when standout Ryan Dzingel tallied his 18th goal of the season.

Ohio State's excitement was short-lived, however. Just 24 seconds later, Minnesota regained the lead, when Gabe Guertler was credited with a goal off a deflected shot that ran into traffic in front of the net. Alas, a Schilkey score with 3:50 remaining sent the game into overtime, and his Buckeyes eventually won the night's shootout.

Minnesota lost despite a career-high 41 saves from netminder Adam Wilcox (22-4-6); Ohio State got 30 saves from its goalie, Christian Frey.

The Gophers visit Michigan next weekend for a key, two-game series to end the regular season.

The Gophers (24-4-6 overall, 13-2-3-0 Big Ten) will travel to Michigan with a five-point cushion in the conference standings.