Dec. 1, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State women's hockey team takes a break from WCHA competition and faces CHA opponent Niagara this weekend for a two-game series at the OSU Ice Rink. The Buckeyes (8-5-1) and the Purple Eagles (7-6-4) take to the ice Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.
Ohio State Buckeyes (8-5-1) vs. Niagara Purple Eagles (7-6-4)
Friday, Dec. 2 - 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 3 - 2 p.m.
Live video: Buckeye Vision (OhioStateBuckeyes.com)
Live audio: Scarlet and Gray Radio (OhioStateSports.net)
Live Stats: OhioStateBuckeyes.com
The Buckeyes, under first-year head coach Nate Handrahan, are fourth in WCHA standings entering the weekend. Ohio State has 20 points with a 6-5-1-1 record in conference play. Top-ranked Wisconsin is in first with 27 points (9-1-0), while Minnesota (8-2-0) and North Dakota (7-4-1) round out the Top 3.
Join the Ohio State women's hockey team this weekend for an exciting series with Niagara and enjoy KidsFest on Saturday, featuring a postgame skate with Brutus and the team! The Columbus Blue Jackets will be there giving out some prizes, too. There will be tons for fans to enjoy, so bring the whole family out for a day of fun!
Head coach Nate Handrahan and assistant coach Candice Moxley will be facing their alma mater this weekend as both played for and graduated from Niagara. Handrahan ('00) was a stand-out defenseman for the Purple Eagles and finished with 13 goals and 68 assists for 81 points. Moxley ('05) totaled 78 points (34g, 44a) in her career at Niagara and was a 2004-05 All-CHA Second Team honoree.
LAST TIME OUT: MINNESOTA DULUTH
The Ohio State women's hockey team hosted nationally-ranked Minnesota Duluth, Nov. 25-26, and split the two-game series with the Bulldogs. The Buckeyes picked up a 4-1 upset over UMD Friday, but fell to the Bulldogs, 6-2, Saturday at the OSU Ice Rink.
Senior assistant captain Natalie Spooner led the Buckeyes with four points on four goals vs. the Bulldogs. The Scarborough, Ontario, product tallied all four scores in Ohio State's win Friday, marking the second time this season she has had four goals in a game. Senior captain Laura McIntosh tallied two assists on the weekend and the two points placed her second overall in Ohio State history with 147 career points. A pair of Buckeyes scored a goal on Saturday in junior Hokey Langan and sophomore Ally Tarr. Langan's goal at 3:26 in the first was a short-handed goal - the second of her career. Tarr scored a power-play goal at 6:18 in the second, which is the first power-play score of her career.
SPOONER EARNS WCHA HONOR
Senior forward Natalie Spooner was named WCHA Player of the Week Wednesday by the league office. The honor was the second of the season for Spooner and the eighth of her career. She scored all four goals in Ohio State's 4-1 win over Minnesota Duluth last Friday, marking the second time this season she has score four goals in a game. The hat trick was the fifth of her career and the four-goal performance was the third of her career. In addition, she also finished with a plus-3 on-ice rating and fired 18 shots on goal over the two-game series with the Bulldogs.
The four goals moved Spooner to fourth overall on Ohio State's career points list with 129. She leads the Buckeyes in scoring this season with 17 points (13g, 4a) and is four goals away from tying Jeni Creary's record of 86 career goals.
The Purple Eagles enter the weekend with a 7-6-4 overall mark after finishing 1-0-1 last weekend at home. Niagara hosted WCHA opponent St. Cloud State at the Dwyer Arena and topped the Huskies, 5-1, Friday before skating to a 2-2 draw Saturday.
Jessica Hitchcock and Kelsey Welch have a team-best 13 points on the year with Jenna Hendrikx in third with 11 points (5g, 6a). Hitchcock has scored a team-best eight goals and dished out five assists, while Welch has seven goals and six assists. Niagara's Sara Moses has seen the most playing in net, competing in 10 games for the Purple Eagles. She has a 3.45 goals-against average and is 2-4-3 on the year.
BUCKEYES VS. PURPLE EAGLES
Ohio State holds a 5-0-3 record against Niagara, winning the last two meetings between the teams. The series began in 2003-04 with the Buckeyes capturing a pair of wins at home. The last meeting between the Buckeyes and Purple Eagles was during the 2007-08 season and Ohio State came away with two wins (4-0, 4-3).
The Buckeyes traveled to Niagara Falls, N.Y., during the 2007-08 season and came away with a pair of wins over the Purple Eagles. Ohio State opened with a 4-0 on Jan. 25, 2008, and was led by former Buckeye Rachel Davis who scored two goals and dished out an assist. The team closed out the series with a 4-3 victory the following day. Morgan Marziali tallied two goals, while Erin Key shad three assists.
This year's newbies are quickly becoming key factors in the team's success this season. Taylor Kuehl leads the team with nine assists and ranks 24th nationally in freshman scoring. Danielle Gagne has four goals and two assists on the season, while Kayla Sullivan has two goals and one assist for the Buckeyes. Sara Schmitt has played a key role for the team's defensive strikes and Sara has also added one goal and three assists to the team's offensive play.
A pair of Buckeyes picked up the first goals of their careers in Ohio State's 6-3 victory at Syracuse, Nov. 18. Sophomore Madison Marcotte scored the team's first goal of the game at 18:50 in the first, while freshman Sara Schmitt notched Ohio State's fifth goal at 9:22 in the third.
- Annie Svedin - first-career point/assist: Oct. 7 vs. Bemidji State
- Madison Marcotte - first-career point/assist: Oct. 7 vs. Bemidji State; first-career goal: Nov. 18 at Syracuse
- Taylor Kuehl - first-career point/assist: Oct. 7 vs. Bemidji State
- Ally Tarr - first-career hat trick: Oct. 8 vs. Bemidji State
- Kayla Sullivan - first-career point/goal: Oct. 8 vs. Bemidji State; first-career assist: Oct. 21 at North Dakota
- Danielle Gagne - first-career point/goal: Oct. 8 vs. Bemidji State; first-career goal: Oct. 14 vs. St. Cloud State
- Sara Schmitt - first-career point/assist: Oct. 22 at North Dakota; first-career goal: Nov. 18 at Syracuse
Ohio State returns 17 letterwinners from last season, including its top three scorers who combined for more than half of the team's goals - Natalie Spooner (26g, 13a), Laura McIntosh (14g, 33a) and Hokey Langan (13g, 18a). McIntosh and Spooner enter their senior seasons as members of the Century Club. McIntosh ranks second at Ohio State with 147 career points (41g, 106a), while Spooner is fourth with 129 career points (82g, 47a). The duo have already made their mark in the program's history as McIntosh is Ohio State's leader in career assists and Spooner is second on Ohio State's career goals list. Langan is on pace to join the Century Club as she currently has 92 career points (42g, 50a).
Heading the blueliner pack are seniors Kelly Wild and Brittany Carlson. Wild leads all defensemen with eight points this season on one goal and seven assists. Carlson, from Hudson, Wis., has added two assists and continues to hold the back and guide OSU's defensive corps. Competitors in the net are goalies Chelsea Knapp and Lisa Steffes. Both bring a wealth of experience in their young careers.
Ohio State takes to the road for a WCHA series against No. 2 Minnesota at Ridder Arena, Dec. 10-11. Both games are set for 3:07 p.m. ET.