College Hockey Series of the Week: No. 18 Ohio State vs. No. 6 Minnesota

Story posted November 11, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Maclain Young

A flaming Ohio State offense is on its way to take on one of the favorites to win the Big Ten in No. 6 Minnesota. 

Even just a couple of weeks ago college hockey fans and analysts alike would probably have told you this would be another series that No. 6 Minnesota would cruise through.

However, the Buckeyes have rattled off three wins in a row, scoring four or more goals in each contest. 

A team that was towards the bottom of the Big Ten preseason coaches’ poll seemed to be playing to their ranking when they dropped their season opener to Bentley in an embarrassing display.

The Buckeyes immediately responded with a 7-1 victory over Bentley and have since been top ten in the nation in goals per game with 3.71.

On the other side, the Golden Gophers have already had to face a plethora of intimidating opponents including No. 1 St. Cloud State and No. 4 Minnesota Duluth.

Minnesota has done a good job weathering the storm with a 6-4 record and has had a quality start to conference play going 3-0-1 so far.

The story of this contest will revolve around Ohio State’s red-hot offense, especially in the third period, but an intriguing battle to watch will be between the two goaltenders.

Jack Lafontaine is the reigning goaltender of the year. The graduate student has been okay so far this season with a .900 save percentage but is beginning to find the game expected of him.

In the Golden Gophers' most recent victory over Wisconsin, Lafontaine stopped 37 of the Badgers’ 38 shots for a stellar performance.

If Lafontaine is on his game, Minnesota’s defense should be able to settle in and try and propel their team to a sweep.

On the other end, Ohio State goaltender Jakub Dobes is in a groove earning Big Ten Second Star of the week honors for his recent performances against Penn State. Dobes stopped 62 of 65 shots over the two games against the Nittany Lions.

Even though the Buckeyes’ offense is rolling, and the Golden Gophers have a plethora of veteran forwards it is hard to see this being a high-scoring series with the two participating netminders.

Minnesota will look to get their offense from Senior Blake McLaughlin and Junior Bryce Brodzinski. Brodzinski leads the Golden Gophers in goals with six while McLaughlin leads the team in points and assists with 10 assists and 13 total points.

Ohio State gets their scoring from more of a team effort with 11 different players scoring at least two goals this season.

This once looked-over series is shaping up to be the best Big Ten hockey matchup so far in conference play.

It will be interesting to see if Minnesota solidifies itself as a contender or if Ohio State will thrust itself into the conversation.

Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email macyoung21@gmail.com.