Buckeyes Travel to Minneapolis for WCHA Final Face-Off
March 7, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s hockey team travels to Minneapolis, Minn., for the 2013 WCHA Final Face-Off, taking place at Ridder Arena, March 8-9. The Buckeyes will take on No. 1 Minnesota at 7:07 p.m. CT Friday at Ridder. The WCHA Championship game will take place Saturday at 7:07 p.m. CT at Ridder. The winner of the WCHA Championship earns the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
WCHA Semi-final one - North Dakota vs. Wisconsin – Friday, March 8 - 4:07 p.m. CT
WCHA Semi-final two – Ohio State vs. Minnesota – Friday, March 8 - 7:07 p.m. CT
WCHA Championship – winner of semi-final one vs. winner of semi-final two – Saturday, March 10 – 7:07 p.m. CT
All-session and single game tickets are now on sale and can be purchased over the phone by calling 612-624-8080, or 1-800-U-GOPHER. More ticket information can also be found at the following link: https://www.mygophersports.com/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=5B35DD91-5222-434B-83A9-AEF46179DD12.
Live Stats: www.wcha.com
Live Video: www.wcha.com
Ohio State has an overall record of 19-14-3, 14-13-3 in the WCHA.
LAST TIME OUT: MINNESOTA DULUTH
Ohio State swept Minnesota Duluth on the road in its first round WCHA Playoff series at AMSOIL Arena this past weekend. The Buckeyes won 4-2 Friday night with the help of goals from junior Ally Tarr and senior Paige Semenza in the first period, junior Annie Svedin in the second, and an empty-net score from senior Hokey Langan in the third.
Saturday was all OSU as seniors Tina Hollowell, Minttu Tuominen and Langan all scored and redshirt junior goaltender Chelsea Knapp backstopped her third shutout of the season. Knapp finished the series with 42 saves. Hollowell had three points in Saturday’s win and a four point series overall and sophomore defenseman Sara Schmitt tallied three assists. After surrendering the first goal of the series, the Buckeyes went on to score seven of the final eight goals.
SPECIAL TEAMS CLICKING
The power play and penalty kill were clicking for the Buckeyes in Duluth. Ohio State scored goals on four of seven power play opportunities, including going three for four with the extra skater in Friday’s 4-2 victory. The Buckeyes held the Bulldogs scoreless on all four of their power play chances in the series. Ohio State ranks third in the WCHA in power play efficiency as they are scoring at a 23.4 percent clip (37/158). Ohio State’s 37 power play goals are fourth most in the nation this season. The Buckeye penalty kill is fourth in the league at 82.4 percent (108/131).
SCORING BY COMMITTEE
The Buckeyes have seen offensive output from all over this season as 11 skaters are in double-digits points and eight skaters have 20 or more. Three different players are tied for the team lead in goals scored with 13 including Semenza, Tarr and sophomore Taylor Kuehl. Right behind those three are three more with 12 goals each including Langan, Hollowell and freshman forward Julia McKinnon. Ohio State also has 10 players with 10 or more assists this season.
MORE HELPERS FOR THE SCHMITTS
Sophomore defensemen Kari Schmitt and her sister and defensive pair Sara have combined for 45 assists this season. A team-leading 23 have come from Kari and Sara’s 22 trails only her sister. The defensive pair is producing on special teams as Sara has a team-leading 16 points on the power play this season and Kari is second with 14. Kari’s 28 points ranks her eighth nationally in defensemen scoring and Sara’s 24 are tied for 14th nationally.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Chelsea Knapp has started 35 of 36 games this season for Ohio State, logging 2052:50 minutes in goal, which is just 32:45 shy of a career high. Knapp’s 2.43 goals-against average and .913 save percentage are both career bests. She has made 871 saves, 12 shy of a career high 883 set during her 2009-10 freshman campaign.
The 2012-13 senior class of Hokey Langan, Minttu Tuominen, Kim Theut, Tina Hollowell and Paige Semenza played in their final home game Saturday, Feb. 23. The group has combined to don the Scarlet and Gray over 650 times. The class has racked up 66 wins over the last four seasons and they have recorded a combined 336 points on 139 goals and 197 assists.
WCHA FIRST ROUND PLAYOFFS
All first round series of the WCHA Playoffs were over in two games, with the home teams taking care of business in three out of four match-ups. The one team to prevail on the road was the Buckeyes, winning 4-2 and 3-0 over Minnesota Duluth. Minnesota took care of Bemidji State, 5-0 and 8-0; Wisconsin downed St. Cloud State, 5-0 and 4-1; North Dakota took care of Minnesota State, 6-1 and 8-1.
Minnesota has been the No. 1 team in the country since the season began and is in the midst of a NCAA record 44-game winning streak dating back to last season. The defending WCHA and national champions carry a 36-0-0 overall record this season, 30-0-0 in league play. The Gophers have outscored opponents 197-29 this season and rank at or near the top of NCAA DI women’s hockey in almost every offensive statistical category. Junior Amanda Kessel leads the potent Gopher attack with her nation-leading 94 points, 43 goals and 51 assists. Freshman Hannah Brandt leads all rookies with 77 points while senior Megan Bozek leads all defensemen with her 52. Senior goaltender Noora Raty has gone 33-0-0 while recording an NCAA record 15 shutouts and putting up a goals-against average of only 0.93 to go along with a .956 save percentage.
BUCKEYES VS. GOPHERS
Minnesota holds a 54-8-1 advantage in the all-time series and have not lost to the Buckeyes since Oct. 20, 2007. Ohio State suffered sweeps to Minnesota on the road, Oct. 19-20, and at the OSU Ice Rink, Feb. 8-9. In the October games at Ridder Arena the Buckeyes fell by scores of 7-2 and 8-0 as Kuehl was the only OSU skater to find the back of the net, doing so twice in game one. At home in Columbus the Buckeyes were downed by scores of 5-2 and 5-3. Each game was tied midway through the contest before the Gophers pulled away down the stretch. In the 5-3 loss the Buckeyes became the first team this season to lead the Gophers at multiple times in one game. Sophomore Danielle Gagne, Langan, K. Schmitt, Hollowell and junior Kara Gust all found the back of the net in the series.
OSU POSTSEASON HISTORY
The 1999-00 season was the first for the Ohio State women’s hockey program and the women’s WCHA. In each of the first six seasons of the league, the Buckeyes made the semi-final round of the WCHA Playoffs. Since going to the current postseason format in the 2005-06 season, Ohio State has made the Final Face-Off round only twice, in 2007 and 2010. The Buckeyes have played in one WCHA Championship game, that being in 2001, suffering a 3-0 loss at the hands of Minnesota Duluth.
Ten members of the Ohio State women’s hockey team have been named WCHA Scholar-Athletes for 2012-13. White Bear Lake, Minn., native Madison Marcotte (Jr., D) and Espoo, Finland product Minttu Tuominen (Sr., F) are both second-time recipients of the award.
First time honorees include: Becky Allis (Jr., D, West Olive, Mich.); Stacy Danczak (So., G, Macedonia, Ohio); Taylor Kuehl (So., F, Minnetrista, Minn.); Kari Schmitt (So., D, Canton, Mich.); Sara Schmitt (So., D, Canton, Mich.); Paige Semenza (Sr., F, Pittston, Pa.); Kayla Sullivan (So., F, Flower Mound, Texas); Kim Theut (Sr., F, Harrison Township, MI).
To earn recognition as a WCHA Scholar-Athlete, conference-member student-athletes must have completed at least one year of residency at their present institution prior to the current academic year and must also have a grade-point average of at least 3.50 on a 4.0 scale for the previous two semesters or three quarters, or may qualify if his/her overall GPA is at least 3.50 for all terms at his or her present institution.