Buckeyes Start 2014 WCHA Slate at No. 1 Minnesota

Jan. 8, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State women's hockey team coming off a sweep of non-conference Penn State will now face a tough early road test in the New Year as it travels to Minneapolis, Minn. for a date with the top-ranked Golden Gophers of Minnesota.

The series is set for Friday and Saturday, Jan. 10-11, at Ridder Arena with Friday set for an 8:07 p.m. ET start and Saturday's contest, which will air live on the Big Ten Network, will start at 7:07 p.m. ET.


Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 - 8:07 p.m. ET

Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014 - 7:07 p.m. ET

The Record

Ohio State has an overall record of 7-11-2, 2-10-2 in the WCHA.

Last Time Out: Penn State

Ohio State started the New Year off with a bang as it swept non-conference Penn State at the OSU Ice Rink Jan. 3-4 by scores of 8-0 and 4-0. It marked the first time since March 1-2, 2002 that OSU has posted back-to-back shutouts. Senior goaltender Lisa Steffes backstopped both victories for the Buckeyes as she stopped all 37 shots faced in the series.

Scoring came from seven different Buckeyes Friday night. Juniors Sara Schmitt and Kari Schmitt got it started with a pair of power play goals in the first, freshmen Katie Matheny and Claudia Kepler (2), along with junior Danielle Gagne made it 6-0 after two periods, and junior Taylor Kuehl and sophomore Kendall Curtis capped off the scoring in the third. OSU outshot the Nittany Lions 56-19 in the contest. All of Saturday's scoring came from the Buckeyes top line as Gagne finished with a goal and three assists, Kuehl a goal and two assists and senior Ally Tarr a goal and two assists. Gagne finished the series with seven points while Kuehl had six. Gagne, along with Kari and Sara Schmitt registered a +6 on-ice rating in the series while Keuhl and Tarr were each at +5.

Non-Conference Success

Ohio State finishes its regular season non-conference slate with a 5-1-0 record; its only blemish coming in a 2-1 defeat to No. 10 Robert Morris Nov. 26. OSU started the season with a road win over then-nationally ranked Mercyhurst Oct. 5 and earned a sweep on the road at New Hampshire Nov. 30-Dec. 1. The Buckeyes finished off their out-of-conference schedule with a sweep of Penn State at the OSU Ice Rink. The Buckeyes outscored their non-conference opponents 22-7 on the season.

Steffes Named WCHA Defensive Player of the Week

For the third time this season senior goaltender Lisa Steffes has been named WCHA Defensive Player of the Week. Steffes backstopped the Buckeyes to their first consecutive shutouts since 2002 as she stopped all 37 shots faced in 8-0 and 4-0 victories over Penn State this past weekend. The Amherstburg, Ontario native is now 5-5-1 between the pipes this season and is posting career best numbers with a 1.63 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage. It marks the fourth time Steffes has garnered this honor and her sixth weekly-league award overall as she was twice named WCHA Rookie of the Week her freshman season.

Staying Out of the Box

Ohio State led the league in penalty minutes the first half of the season but in its last series with Penn State the Buckeyes were whistled for only two penalties, including not a single penalty in Friday's 8-0 victory. OSU killed off the only two PSU power play opportunities and 63-76 (82.9 percent) on its penalty kill unit this season.

About Minnesota

Minnesota is coming off its second-consecutive national title run, and before losing to 3-2 to No. 4 North Dakota Nov. 17, Minnesota had won an NCAA record 62-consecutive games dating back to Feb. 28, 2012. The Gophers are now riding a new winning streak of six games coming into this series, including a sweep of the Buckeyes in Columbus Dec. 7-8. This season Minnesota is led offensively by sophomore Hannah Brandt (10-23-33), junior Rachael Bona (11-22-33), senior Sarah Davis (12-17-29) and senior Kelly Terry (12-15-27). Sophomore goaltender Amanda Leveille has started every game while posting a goals-against average of 1.33 and a .941 save percentage. Head coach Brad Frost is now in his seventh season at the helm of the Minnesota program.

Buckeyes vs. Golden Gophers

This will mark the second time these teams have met for a series this season as the Gophers swept the Buckeyes at the OSU Ice Rink back on Dec. 7-8 winning by scores of 9-2 and 5-1. Minnesota also knocked OSU out of the post-season last season at the WCHA Final Face-Off. The Buckeyes are 8-57-1 all-time against Minnesota and their last win against the Gophers came back on Oct. 20, 2007, a 4-1 win. Ohio State's last victory on Gopher home ice came the season before on Jan. 12, 2007, a game which the Buckeyes won 7-1.

Three Former Buckeyes are Sochi Bound

Three alumni of the OSU women's hockey program will be heading to Sochi this February to represent their respective nations at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Natalie Spooner (2009-12) will skate for Canada while Emma Terho (Laaksonen; 2001-04) and Minttu Tuominen (2010-13) will represent Finland. It will mark the first Olympic appearance for Spooner, second for Tuominen and an unprecedented fifth appearance for Terho.

Buckeyes Incoming Recruit Class Includes Seven

Nate Handrahan, head coach of the Ohio State women's hockey team, has announced the addition of seven new student-athletes who are expected to join the program in Fall 2014. The new class of signees includes forwards Allison Gasuik, Julianna Iafallo and Lauren Spring, defensemen Jessica Dunne and Danielle Sadek, and goaltender Kassidy Sauve. Another goaltender, Alexandria LeMere, will also be joining the Buckeyes squad in the Fall. 

Up Next

Ohio State heads back to the state of Minnesota again Jan. 18-19 for a series at Minnesota Duluth. Game times are scheduled for 4:07 p.m. ET both Saturday and Sunday at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth.