Ohio State BUCKEYES (14-16-2, 8-16-2-2 WCHA) vs.
Bemidji State BEAVERS (12-15-3-2, 10-13-3-2 WCHA)
Friday, Feb. 18 – 2 p.m. (CT) • Saturday, Feb. 19 – 2 p.m. (CT)
Sanford Center • Bemidji, Minn.
Live audio (local): The River 92.1 FM
Listen Online: BeaverRadioNetwork.com
Live Stats: www.BSUBeavers.com
Links to audio/stats available on the women’s hockey schedule page on OhioStateBuckeyes.com
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s hockey team completes the 2011 regular season this weekend, traveling to face Bemidji State in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association series, Friday and Saturday. Both games begin at 2 p.m. CT at the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minn. The Buckeyes (14-16-2, 8-14-2-2) are returning to the ice after dropping two games against No. 6 Minnesota Duluth last weekend in Columbus. The Beavers (12-15-3, 10-13-3-2) lost 4-1 and 3-0 at Minnesota on the road last weekend.
BUCKEYES IN A NUTSHELL
Ohio State is averaging 2.91 goals per game, while allowing an average of 3.25. The Buckeye special teams are operating at 17.3 percent on the power play (24-of-139) and 80.0 percent on the penalty kill (96-of-120).
Leading the Buckeyes in points and assists is Laura McIntosh, with 45 and 33, respectively. Natalie Spooner has scored a team-high 25 goals, including 10 on the power play, and has 37 points. Hokey Langan is second in assists and goals and third in points with a 13-17-30 line. Patrolling the OSU net is freshman Lisa Steffes, who is 14-16-2 with a 3.13 GAA and .904 save percentage.
LAST TIME OUT: NO. 6/6 MINNESOTA DULUTH
Ohio State lost two games Feb. 11-12, hosting No. 6 Minnesota Duluth in its final home series of the 2011 season at the OSU Ice Rink. In four games vs. the Bulldogs this year, the Buckeyes went 1-3-0 vs. Minnesota Duluth.
In game one, the Scarlet and Gray jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first period on a power-play goal by junior forward Laura McIntosh with assists from defenseman Kelly Wild and junior forward Natalie Spooner. McIntosh faked a slap shot in the middle of the UMD zone before sending a quick wrist shot into the back of th net at 9:10. However, the Bulldogs would score four unaswered goals in the next two periods to take a commanding 5-1 lead. Ohio State ended the night on a postive note when freshman Ally Tarr claimed her seventh goal of the seaon deep in the UMD zone following a cross pass from the left side by sophomore Kim Theut at 10:45. Senior captain Christina Mancuso also had an assist on the Buckeye score.
In game two, Minnesota Duluth won 5-1 vs. the Scarlet and Gray. Spooner had the only Buckeye score on an unassisted goal when she beat the UMD goalie for her team-best 25th goal of year, to break up the shutout.
Minnesota Duluth Series Notes:
STEFFES BREAKS SAVES RECORD
With her 31 saves in game one vs. the Bulldogs Feb. 11, rookie goaltender Lisa Steffes broke the program’s single-season saves record, passing former Buckeye Liana Bonanno, who recorded 886 saves during the 2008-09 campaign. Steffes, currently with 939 saves, has made 30-plus saves in 18 games and has five games with over 40 saves. The Amherstburg, Ontario, native leads the NCAA with 939 saves this season and is the only goalie in the nation with over 900 saves. She also leads in the NCAA in minutes played at 1914:35.
Junior forward Laura McIntosh is first on the all-time career assists record with 96 assists in less than three complete seasons as a Buckeye. The native of Waterloo, Ontario, broke the record on her first assist in game two at St. Cloud State Jan. 29 on a Natalie Spooner power-play goal at 6:10 in the second period. Currently with 33 helpers this year, McIntosh has had back-to-back seasons with at least 30 assists. She is six assists shy of breaking Harrigan’s single-season assist record of 38 set during the 2004-05 campaign.
SPOONER LEADS BUCKEYES
Junior forward Natalie Spooner was named WCHA Offensive Player of the Week Feb. 2 after tallying six points with four goals and two assists in the two victories at St. Cloud State Jan. 28-29. The award was her first of the season and sixth WCHA weekly award of her career.
The native of Scarborough, Ontario, recorded her third-career hat trick as well as an assist in game one to help the Buckeyes win, 6-1. In the second game, Spooner continued her offensive momentum, tallying a goal and an assist as Ohio State claimed the sweep with a 3-2 victory.
She tallied her team-high 25th goal of the season vs. Minnesota Duluth Feb. 12 in Columbus and leads the Buckeyes with 14 multi-point games this season.
She is now one goal away from second place on the Ohio State career goals category. Spooner also owns the Buckeye record for career game-winning goals with 12 and stands sixth in career points with 111.
Natalie Spooner entered elite company Jan. 21-22. After netting her 20th goal of the year, she is only the second Buckeye to have three 20-goal seasons in her career, joining Jeni Creary (2002-05).
The Scarborough, Ontario, native has eight multiple-goal performances and has tallied two or more points 14 times this year in 23 games played. Of her team-leading 25 goals, 10 have been scored on the power play and four are gamewinners.
A LOOK AT BEMIDJI STATE
The Beavers, fifth in the WCHA standings with 35 points, have dropped three-consecutive series against nationally-ranked opponents Minnesota Duluth, Wisconsin and most recently, Minnesota. Bemidji State is averaging 1.93 goals per game while allowing an average of 2.67. The Beaver special teams are operating at 13.6 percent on the power play (16-of-118) and 86.1 percent on the penalty kill (93-of-108).
Leading the Beavers in points, goals and assists is Erin Cody, with 34, 19 and 15, respectively. Patrolling the BSU net is Zuzana Tomcikova, who is 11-9-2 with a 1.92 GAA and .932 save percentage.
BUCKEYES VS. BEAVERS
Ohio State leads the all-time series against Bemidji State with a 27-13-8 record.
Natalie Spooner leads Ohio State in scoring vs. the Beavers with 12 points (5g, 7a) in 10 games. Laura McIntosh has 10 assists in 10 games and Shannon Reilly has nine points (2g, 7a). Hokey Langan has scored five goals and nine points in six meetings with the Beavers.
WHEN LAST WE MET
Earlier this season, the Buckeyes tied, 2-2, winning the shootout 1-0 in game one vs. BSU and won game two of the series, 3-1, in Columbus Nov. 26-27.
In game one, Laura McIntosh scored with 3:36 in regulation and Natalie Spooner tallied a shootout goal vs. the Beavers. Ohio State claimed a 1-0 lead into the first intermission with a goal by Becky Allis at 5:15. Freshman goalie Lisa Steffes posted 33 saves in the contest.
In game two, McIntosh and Spooner had a goal and assist apiece and Steffes stopped 34 of 35 shots face to defeat the Beavers, 3-1. McIntosh scored an impressive goal from the slot to give OSU the early 1-0 lead in the first period. The Buckeyes took a 2-1 advantage following a goal by Spooner on an Ohio State power play with a minute left in the second period. Sophomore foward Minttu Tuominen sealed the victory with a n empty-net goal at 19:06.
REILLY RETURNS TO FORM
After 24 points as a freshman and 19 as a sophomore, Shannon Reilly had a tough season last year with only 11. However, the Chanhassen, Minn., native has found the scoring touch once again this season. She is tied for third in the WCHA overall in defenseman scoring with 22 points and is 14th in the NCAA with 0.69 points per game.
Reilly ranks fourth on the Buckeyes with 14 assists and has a personal-high for goals with eight.
Freshman Ally Tarr has been a factor in the Buckeyes offense as of late. The forward from London, Ontario, scored the gamewinning goal in the final minute vs. the Huskies Jan. 29 to give her team a 3-2 victory and the series sweep. In game one, Tarr recorded her first-career multi-goal performance with two in the Buckeyes 6-1 victory. Her 13 points this season lead all Buckeye freshmen in scoring, with seven points in the last eight games.
This season, the Buckeyes have had limited minutes in the penalty box with an average of only 8.9 penalty minutes per game – good for 30th in the nation and the second-lowest average in the WCHA overall. Ohio State has drawn four or fewer penalties in 19 of its games this season.
The average is a stark contrast to the last four seasons when the Buckeyes have placed in the top 10 in the NCAA in PIM, peaking at 15.3 in 2006-07 and with an average of 13.8 in that span.