DETROIT — Adam Wilcox stopped all 39 shots he faced for his 13th career shutout — tying the Minnesota school record — as the No. 13 Gophers topped Ohio State 3-0 on Friday evening at Joe Louis Arena.
The win sends Minnesota to the 2015 Big Ten Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament championship game on Saturday, where it will face the winner of Friday’s Michigan/Michigan State contest.
Minnesota (22-12-3 overall, 12-5-3-0 Big Ten) picked up goals from Sam Warning, Vinni Lettieri and Travis Boyd as the Maroon & Gold earned the team’s first conference playoff win since 2012.
The story of the night, however, was Wilcox’s play in net. The junior, who was named Second Team All-Big Ten earlier in the week, closed out his sixth shutout of the season and tied Kellen Briggs for the school record with 13 career shutouts. Wilcox’s 39 saves are the most the netminder has faced in a shutout performance in his three years with the program.
Wilcox has now posted two shutouts in the past three games for Minnesota (all wins for the junior) and holds a 21-12-3 record on the season. Friday’s victory stands as his 72nd career win — the most among active NCAA goalies and one away from tying Robb Stauber for third all-time at Minnesota.
After a scoreless first period, the Gophers jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 7:51 of the second period when Warning notched his 12th goal of the season with a setup from Travis Boyd. Vinni Lettieri added to the lead midway through the third period when he found the net for his ninth goal of the year. Ben Marshall and Taylor Cammarata picked up assists on the goal at 10:45 of the third period.
Boyd closed out the night with his second point of the game, forcing a turnover and depositing it in the empty net during a 6-on-4 opportunity for the Buckeyes at 15:40 of the third.
The Gophers will skate for the 2015 Big Ten Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament title on Saturday night.