Cammarata powers Gophers to big win over Ohio State

Published Mar. 19, 2016 12:58 a.m. ET

The Gophers are just one win away from the NCAA tournament.

Junior Taylor Cammarata scored twice, while freshman Tyler Sheehy picked up three points to lead the University of Minnesota men's hockey team to a 4-2 win over Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament semifinals Friday at Xcel Energy center.

The win sets up a showdown with No. 7-ranked Michigan in Saturday's Big Ten championship game, as the Gophers, who currently sit well outside of contention for an at-large NCAA tournament bid, attempt to win the conference's auto-bid with a victory over the high-scoring Wolverines.

However, while Ohio State struggled to a fourth-place finish in the Big Ten, a lethal top line had the Buckeyes on the attack heading into the postseason.

"They're very deep, so we knew that coming into the game that we were going to have to play four lines and be good throughout our lineup," Cammarata said.

It took more than 40 minutes for the Gophers to get going.

Kevin Miller scored to put Ohio State on top at 13:01 of the first period, a score that would hold up until the opening moments of the third.


Sheehy kicked off the comeback with a goal at 1:36 of the third period, before Vinni Lettieri put the Gophers ahead for good less than five minutes later.

Cammarata added a pair of insurance goals mid-way through the third to make it 4-1 Minnesota.

The Buckeyes made one last run at extending their season at 17:44, when David Gust scored to make it 4-2 with Ohio State's net empty, but the Gophers' lead would hold.

The win earns the Gophers a date with the red-hot Wolverines and the nation's highest-scoring line.

Michigan forwards Kyle Connor, JT Compher and Tyler Motte were all named top-10 finalists for the Hobey Baker award earlier this week, the first trio to do so since 2000.

Dubbed the "CCM" line, Connor, Compher and Motte have combined for a whopping 174 points on the season.

According to Gophers coach Don Lucia, the matchup was inevitable.

 "I figure if we're going to get to Saturday, we're going to be playing Michigan," coach Don Lucia said. "I mean, they're just -- they're just too talented and as talented, I think, as anybody in the country.  They're a real deep-forward group."