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Ohio State men’s hockey wins home finale against No. 15 Golden Gophers

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In the final home game of their collegiate careers, OSU’s eight seniors were the stars on the ice one last time.

The senior class helped lead the team to a 5-2 victory over the No. 15 Golden Gophers on Saturday.

“Led by our seniors, no question,” coach Steve Rohlik said. “We talked a lot about it today and in video session, you can’t script a book any better than what happened tonight, but again, you’re led by eight pretty quality young men. But I credit the team because it takes all 27 guys to get it done, and all 27 guys jumped on board and everybody wanted to do it for the seniors, but more importantly for the program.”

Sophomore forward Nick Schilkey’s backhander off a rebound from senior forward Darik Angeli put the Buckeyes in a 1-0 lead.

The Gophers notched two tallies in the second period, but senior forward Matt Johnson tied the score at 2-2. OSU then added three goals in the third to take the win.

This weekend proved to be a big one for junior defenseman Craig Dalrymple as he scored his first two goals of the season in back-to-back nights against the Gophers.

“Two goals in two games, it’s pretty special,” Dalrymple said.

OSU’s defense held the game for the Buckeyes by not allowing one of the best power-play units in college hockey to score on its four power-play chances.

“That’s a scary team on the power play when you’re clicking at the right percent. They have so many weapons,” Rohlik said. “I think our guys decided it just doesn’t matter, you have to go out and kill a penalty and our guys just jumped the boards and got the job done.”

After Minnesota coach Don Lucia decided to pull his goalie late in the final period Saturday to allow the Gophers to add an extra attacker, the Buckeyes took advantage.

Led by the stick skills of senior forward Tanner Fritz, the Buckeyes scored twice on an empty net. Fritz assisted junior forward Anthony Greco on the first, and scored the second himself, marking his last home goal as a Buckeye.

“I think the hockey gods were shining down on me a little, but definitely nice to go out that way,” Fritz said.

Fritz, who leads the Buckeyes with 26 points and has had a point in each of his last six games, said this win was one to remember.

“It’s an awesome feeling, something that I’ll remember and cherish down the road. I can look back on this and be proud of what I’ve done,” Fritz said.

But the Buckeye captain’s hockey career isn’t over yet, as OSU is set to travel to Madison, Wis., to take on the Wisconsin Badgers in its final series of the regular season.

“We enjoy this win. We played a very good hockey team,” Rohlik said. “We are going into their senior weekend and we have to become a better team starting on Monday and that’s our focus. If we can continue to do that, hopefully we can cause some success.”

Puck drop in Madison is set for 8 p.m. on Friday and 7 p.m. on Saturday.

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