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Erie, Pa. — The No. 6/7 Ohio State University women’s ice hockey team led for most of the game, but a late rally from the Mercyhurst University Lakers sent OSU into its winter break with a 6-4 loss on Saturday at the Mercyhurst Ice Center.
The Buckeyes (12-4-4, 8-2-4 WCHA) jumped out to an early lead when Tatum Skaggs netted her team-leading 13th goal of the season less than three minutes into the contest. Only 1:33 would pass on the clock before Ohio State increased its lead, this time at the hands of Dani Sadek and her third goal of the year. Mercyhurst responded a few moments later when Sarah Hine scored for the Lakers off a rebound, making it 2-1 Buckeyes. With the score still 2-1 late in the first; Mercyhurst’s Callie Paddock went to the penalty box for hooking, setting up an OSU power play for the first 1:46 of the second period.
After killing the period opening power play, Mercyhurst continued chipping away in the second, with Nichole Guagliardo scoring with just under 12 minutes left in the frame to tie the game at 2-2. Ohio State responded quickly as Liz Schepers lit the lamp for the second time this weekend to make it 3-2 OSU with 9:56 to left in the period. Lauren Spring earned an assist on the goal.
Ohio State looked to be fully in control of the game in the third after Jincy Dunne scored her first goal of the season on a power play with 14:41 to play. Things continued to go Ohio State’s way until Sam Isbell scored for the Lakers with 6:33 left in the game, cutting the OSU lead to one. After a Sadek penalty put Mercyhurst on the power play, Brooke Hartwick scored to knot the game up at 4-4 with under five minutes to play. The Lakers continued pressing until Celine Frappier scored on a breakaway to give them their first lead of the day, 5-4. With :58 seconds remaining the Buckeyes went on the power play, and pulled Kassidy Sauvé to add an extra attacker, but Mercyhurst flung the puck into the OSU net with .05 seconds to play to seal the 6-4 loss for Ohio State.
A number of Buckeyes finished with assists on the day, including two for Emma Maltais, adding to her team high, which now sits at 17. Schepers and Skaggs both had assists to go with their goals, while both of the Ohio State captains, Julianna Iafallo and Lauren Spring, tallied assists in the game.
“We played with great energy in the first period, executing early where we didn’t do that yesterday, but we grew to be too comfortable and loose once we went up 4-2,” head coach Nadine Muzerall said. “We disrespected the situation and didn’t finish the game like we should have. We’ve played some extraordinary hockey over the first half of the season and I hope the girls don’t lose sight of that. We also have room to improve and grow, and while we’re on our break I hope they recharge while continuing to prepare both mentally and physically for a tough second half of the season schedule.”
The Buckeyes are now on their holiday break and are set to return to the ice when they host Penn State on Friday, January 5. Puck drop for that game is scheduled for 6:07 p.m. ET.
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