ST. PAUL, Minn. — An atypical play ended what has become pretty typical for Ohio State and Michigan State.
Mason Jobst scored 13:47 into overtime Thursday to give the Buckeyes a 4-3 overtime victory over the Spartans in a Big Ten quarterfinal.
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“We talked a lot going into the game about rebounds,” Jobst said. “We had a lot of shots and we just kept crashing the net.”
The usual side of things was that the Buckeyes and the Spartans couldn’t decide things in regulation.
Both games of the teams’ regular season-ending series last weekend went to overtime, with Ohio State winning the first and the Spartans taking a shootout after a tie in the second.
“We didn’t expect anything less, us playing Michigan State,” Buckeyes coach Steve Rohlik said. “It’s kind of been this way for the last few years. Every game comes down to the wire.”
The Buckeyes (14-17-4) advanced to face Minnesota in Friday’s semifinals, but they needed a third-period goal by Matthew Weis to tie the game after jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first.
The Spartans (10-23-4) stormed back with three power-play goals in the second to take the lead.
Two of them came on fortunate bounces for the Spartans. After Joe Cox cut the deficit to one, Matt DeBlouw tied the game after his shot deflected off a stick and past Buckeyes goalie Christian Frey.
Seven seconds later, Ohio State’s Sasha Larocque was ejected for a checking-from-behind major after hitting the Spartans’ Mason Appleton.
On the ensuing five-minute power play, a Zach Osburn shot glanced off the leg of Spartans captain Michael Ferrantino in front and past Frey.
“We were disappointed with our start, yet I was proud of our recovery,” Spartans coach Tom Anastos said. “I thought at that point it was anybody’s game.”
Ohio State equalized in the third when it took its turn to be the beneficiary of a good bounce. Drew Brevig’s slap shot off a faceoff was blocked by the Spartans’ Cox right to Weis, who quickly fired a shot into a vacant half of the net.
The Buckeyes toughened up when they fell behind, Weis said.
“I think we play better when we’re down,” he said. “We’re desperate. I think it’s a comfort zone for our team.”
The Buckeyes outshot the Spartans 48-34, including 19-4 in a first period in which John Wiitala scored early and Tommy Parran scored late.
Hildebrand stopped a season-high 44 shots for Michigan State, giving him 14 games with 40-plus saves in his collegiate career.
Frey, meanwhile, showed frustration after the Spartans took the lead in the second period, then stopped the final 21 shots he faced in a 31-save outing.
“He made some huge saves there,” Rohlik said. “I think he was frustrated because I think he feels very good, he’s comfortable with his game right now, and sometimes when you get a couple of those bounces that went off some guys in front and they end up in your net, you do get frustrated. But his mental makeup is tough, and certainly he was a big difference in the game.”