Unbeaten in Last Seven, Buckeyes Set to Host No. 2 Wisconsin
Feb. 6, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s hockey team returns home this weekend after completing its second-straight WCHA series sweep to host No. 2 Wisconsin Friday and Saturday, Feb. 7-8, at the OSU Ice Rink. Opening face-offs are scheduled for 7:07 p.m. Friday and 4:07 p.m. Saturday.
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Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 – 7:07 p.m. ET
Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014 – 4:07 p.m. ET
Ohio State has an overall record of 11-12-5, 6-11-5 in the WCHA.
Free Post-Game Skate; Other Promos
Following Saturday’s game there will be the final post-game skate with the team of the season. Post-game skate and skate rentals for it are free of charge. There will also be a “Family 4 Pack” deal during both games in which fans can get four hot dogs, four sodas and popcorn for only $15 ($11 in savings). Brutus Buckeye will be in attendance Friday night as part of Fan Appreciation Day and White Out Wisconsin. Admissions to all women’s hockey games are free of charge.
Last Time Out: St. Cloud State
Ohio State earned a sweep over St. Cloud State in St. Cloud this past Friday and Saturday picking up wins of 4-1 and 6-1, respectively. Sophomore Julia McKinnon scored the game-winners each day for the Buckeyes in St. Cloud. She finished with four points in the series. Seven Buckeyes scored goals in St. Cloud including McKinnon (2), freshman Claudia Kepler (2), junior Taylor Kuehl (2), senior Ally Tarr, junior Danielle Gagne and sophomores Melani Moylan and Cara Zubko. Junior Sara Schmitt had a four-point weekend and a three-assist game Friday. Tarr also had a four-point weekend and had a three-assist game Saturday. Junior Kari Schmitt had three assists in the series, while Zubko had a three-point performance Saturday, Kuehl had a three-point series, Kepler had a four-point series and freshman Breanne Grant recorded her first career assist Friday. Senior goaltender Lisa Steffes finished with 47 saves in the two victories over the Huskies.
After picking up six points in the WCHA standings with two wins over St. Cloud State the Buckeyes sit in fifth place with 25 points. OSU is four points ahead of Bemidji State (21) and 13 points ahead of both Minnesota State (12) and St. Cloud State (12). OSU travels to Bemidji Feb. 14-15. The top four teams in the final league standings will host WCHA First Round Playoff series, with winners of those best-of-three series heading to Bemidji State’s Sanford Center for the WCHA Final Face-Off. Minnesota (61 points), Wisconsin (54) and North Dakota (44) have all clinched home ice for the first round. Minnesota Duluth (41) can clinch home ice with a win or an Ohio State loss.
News and Notes
- The Buckeyes have won four-consecutive games and are unbeaten in their last seven games (4-0-3). Ohio State is 8-3-3 in its last 14 games dating back to Nov. 30 with all three losses coming to top-ranked Minnesota.
- McKinnon has three game-winning scores in the last four contests for the Buckeyes. She scored the game-winner in overtime against Minnesota State Jan. 24.
- Sara Schmitt and Tarr are tied for the team lead with 23 points apiece. Sara is third in the WCHA, fifth in the NCAA, in defensemen scoring while her sister Kari is sixth in the WCHA, tied for tenth nationally, with 20 points.
- Kuehl and Gagne played in their 100th-career games for OSU Friday. Sara Schmitt and junior Kayla Sullivan each played in game number 100 Saturday. Tarr leads the team with 133 games played, while seniors Annie Svedin and Becky Allis have each suited up in the Scarlet and Gray 125 times.
McKinnon Named WCHA Offensive Player of the Week
Julia McKinnon has been named WCHA Offensive Player of the Week, the league office announced Wednesday. McKinnon scored game-winning goals in back-to-back contests in a WCHA road sweep of St. Cloud State this past weekend. The Kelowna, British Columbia native now has three-game winners in the Buckeyes last four contests. Both goals against SCSU came early on in the second periods with the games tied up at 1-1. The scores were numbers five and six on the season for McKinnon. She also tallied assists in each contest to finish with a four-point weekend and a +4 on-ice rating. It marks the second WCHA weekly award for McKinnon, who was named WCHA Rookie of the Week last season on Dec. 5, 2012. This season she has 16 points on six goals and 10 assists.
Rookie on a Tear
Freshman Claudia Kepler leads Ohio State with 12 goals scored this season and has been putting up big numbers as of late. The Verona, Wis. product has scored a goal in five-consecutive games and has tallied 10 points over that same span on six goals and four assists. She has four-straight games of multi-point performances. Her five-game goal streak ties her for the second-longest goal-scoring streak in OSU program history. A goal against Wisconsin Friday would tie her for the longest streak with former Buckeyes Erin Keys and Erin O’Grady. Kepler is tied for ninth in the WCHA in goals scored and has the second most goals for WCHA freshmen. She is fourth overall in the NCAA for rookie goal scoring.
Steffes Staying Strong in Net
Senior goaltender Lisa Steffes put forth another strong performance this past weekend in St. Cloud, stopping 47 of 49 shots faced against the Huskies. The Amherstburg, Ontario native improved her record on the season to 9-6-4 and is posting career best numbers in goals-against average (1.74) and save percentage (.938).
Tarr Moving On Up
Senior forward Ally Tarr is making her way up the ranks on multiple program scoring lists. She currently sits 11th all-time at OSU in career points with 96 and is within striking range of at least three former Buckeyes including Shana Frost (98), Emma Laaksonen (99) and Amber Bowman (102). Former Buckeye Laura McIntosh is number one all-time with 170 career points. Tarr’s 44 career goals tie her for eighth at OSU with former Buckeye Hayley Klassen and put her within three goals of Frost (46) and McIntosh (47). Former OSU All-American Natalie Spooner has the most goals scored in Buckeye history as she finished with 100 in her career. Tarr is also second all-time at OSU in game-winning goals with 11. Only Spooner, who had 16 game-winners in her career, has more.
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.
The Badgers come in as the second-ranked team in the nation and have a firm hold on second place in the WCHA standings. They carry an overall record of 21-3-2 and are led by 11th-year head coach Mark Johnson. Senior goaltender Alex Rigsby is having another great season while splitting time between the pipes with freshman Ann-Renee Desbiens, who has been nearly as impressive. Rigsby has gone 11-2-2 with a .959 save percentage and 0.96 goals-against average while Desbiens has compiled a record of 10-1-0 with a .956 save percentage and a 1.07 goals-against average. The Badgers have 10 skaters in double-figure point totals and are led by senior Brittany Ammerman (17-16-33), junior Blayre Turnbull (12-15-27) and sophomore Courtney Burke (3-18-21).
Buckeyes vs. Badgers
Wisconsin holds the advantage in the all-time series with the Buckeyes. OSU is just 9-51-6 all-time against the Badgers, 4-25-3 in games played in Columbus. The Badgers swept OSU in Madison Nov. 2-3, winning by scores of 4-1 and 3-2, respectively. Kepler scored her first career goal that Friday and followed it with another goal the next day. Kari Schmitt also scored Saturday in the loss. The Buckeyes went 1-3-0 last season against Wisconsin, picking up a series split at home in the first series ever played in Value City Arena at the Schottenstein Center and dropping two on the road in the first games played by OSU in the new LaBahn Arena. McKinnon and Kuehl each had separate two-goal performances last season against UW in Columbus, while senior Ally Tarr scored the lone goals for the Buckeyes in each game at LaBahn.
Three alumni of the OSU women’s hockey program are in Sochi representing their respective nations at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Natalie Spooner (2009-12) is skating for Canada while Emma Terho (Laaksonen; 2001-04) and Minttu Tuominen (2010-13) are representing Finland. It is the first Olympic appearance for Spooner, second for Tuominen and a women’s ice hockey record 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 signing of six new student-athletes to National Letters of Intent 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. Goaltender Alexandria LaMere will also be joining the Buckeyes in the Fall.
Ohio State travels to Bemidji, Minn. for a WCHA series with the Beavers of Bemidji State, Feb. 14-15. Both games with the Beavers are set for 3:07 p.m. ET. Bemidji State is currently one spot behind the Buckeyes in the WCHA standings.
2014 WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF Tickets On Sale Now
Tickets for the 2014 WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF, the women’s WCHA playoff championship which will be held at Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minn., March 7-8, are now on sale.
Semifinal games will be played at 4:07 pm and 7:37 pm CT on Friday, March 7. The semifinal winners will then play at 7:07 pm CT on Saturday, March 8 in the championship game. The winner of this game receives an automatic berth into the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament.
Tickets for all Sanford Center events may be purchased at the Sanford Center ticket office, any Ticketmaster retail location, Lueken’s Village Foods, charge by phone at 1.800.745.3000, or on-line at www.ticketmaster.com.
Milica McMillen Named Assistant Coach