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Oct. 3, 2014

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s hockey team officially opens its 2014-15 campaign with a home series against New Hampshire. The teams will meet Friday (6:07 p.m.) and Saturday (2:07 p.m.) at the OSU Ice Rink in Columbus, Ohio.

 

FOLLOW ALONG

Can’t make it to the rink? Fans can follow along with scoring updates on the team’s official Twitter account, @OhioState_WHKY. Also, be sure to check out the squad’s other social media accounts for an inside peek at what it’s like to #LiveIt like a Buckeye – Facebook and Instagram.  

 

BONHOMME INDUCTED INTO OHIO STATE ATHLETICS HALL OF FAME

Tessa Bonhomme, a four-letterwinner for the Buckeye defense, was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame Sept. 26. Following the induction ceremony dinner, Bonhomme joined 12 of her fellow Buckeye inductees for a public recognition at halftime of the Ohio State football game vs. Cincinnati.

 

Bonhomme is Ohio State’s only ACHA First Team All-American. She was a Second Team All-American in 2007 and a two-time finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, which is given annually to the top women’s collegiate hockey player. A three-time All-WCHA selection, Bonhomme was voted the WCHA Player of the Year as a senior in 2008, when she was also recognized as a First Team All-American. Her 128 career points are most all-time at OSU for defensemen scoring.

 

A Sudbury, Ontario, native, Bonhomme competed with the Canadian National Team throughout her time at OSU and redshirted the 2005-06 season to centralize with Team Canada. She was one of the last cuts for the 2006 Olympic squad before playing a vital role in Canada’s gold-medal winning run at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

 

Bonhomme represents the women’s hockey program as its second inductee in the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame, joining Buckeye great Emma Laaksonen.

 

PRESEASON PREP

Ohio State welcomed the Western Ontario Mustangs for an exhibition matchup last weekend at the OSU Ice Rink. The game ended in a 2-2 overtime draw; however, Buckeye junior Kendall Curtis found the back of the net, helping the Scarlet and Gray to victory in the shootout, 1-0, in three rounds.

 

Ohio State dressed all three goalies, with freshman Kassidy Sauve earning the starting nod. Sauve was credited with seven saves in the net. Freshman Alex LaMere took over the reigns in the second, with five saves earned, while veteran Stacy Danczak combined for seven stops in the third period and overtime.

 

SCOUTING THE WILDCATS

New Hampshire is led by first-year head coach Hilary Witt, who served as an assistant coach for the U.S. Women’s Hockey Olympic Team. The squad returns a total of 16 letterwinners from a season ago. UNH lost its top two point producers to graduation, but returns eight double-digit point scorers. 

 

The Wildcats opened their season with a 2-1 loss to the University of Maine last Saturday. Margo Lund scored New Hampshire’s lone goal, while goaltender Vilma Vaattovaara recorded 35 saves.

 

“We expect them to play fast, play with tempo and play with skill,” Ohio State head coach Nate Handrahan said. “Coming in from Hockey East, they will be a quality opponent for us to face.”

 

OH CAPTAIN(S), MY CAPTAIN(S)

Senior Sara Schmitt will don the captain’s “C” for the Scarlet and Gray during the 2014-15 season, while fellow seniors Kari Schmitt and Kara Gust will be recognized as the team’s assistant captains. The leadership unit, announced by head coach Nate Handrahan, exhibits excellence on and off the ice as backbones of the Buckeye defense and Ohio State Scholar-Athletes.

 

“I believe they are very capable and responsible to lead our team to where we want to be,” Handrahan said. “Sara is an excellent person who has been an unrecognized leader in her time as a Buckeye. She has shown to be well rounded in all areas of her life and will be able to interact with all team members in a positive, constructive way. I trust her and her abilities to lead us effectively.”

 

BEHIND THE BENCH

Handrahan is entering his fourth season at the helm of the Ohio State women’s hockey program. In his first three seasons as a Buckeye, Handrahan has compiled an overall record of 50-48-12. He is the second women’s hockey coach in the 12-year history of the program. Handrahan, a graduate of Niagara University, is joined by second-year assistant coaches Carson Duggan and Keith Maurice.

 

Handrahan has high expectations for the 2014-15 Buckeyes following a fifth-place WCHA run last season.

 

“I thought from Thanksgiving moving forward, especially into the second half of the season, we were one of the hottest teams in the country,” Handrahan said. “If the second half of last year was any indication, I’m pretty excited about the group as they come back.”

 

MEET THE BUCKEYES

Ohio State returns 17 letterwinners from a season ago, including nine forwards, seven defensemen and one goaltender. Eight will be welcomed into the Buckeye family as newcomers, four of which will suit up as forwards, two on defense and two in goal.

 

On offense, the Buckeyes will be led by nine of the Top 10 point earners from the 2013-14 campaign. With a line of 7-21-28, senior captain Sara Schmitt ranks as Ohio State’s top returning point producer, while sophomore standout Claudia Kepler led the Buckeyes with 12 goals last season. After losing both goaltenders to graduation, the Buckeyes will look to Danczak or newcomers LaMere and Sauve to fill the role.

 

BUCKEYES FIFTH IN WCHA PRESEASON POLL

Ohio State was projected to finish fifth in the 2014-15 WCHA Head Coaches’ Preseason Poll. The Minnesota Gophers are the preseason favorite after advancing to the NCAA championship game in each of the last three seasons. 

 

WHAT’S UP IN THE WCHA?

Ohio State recently extended a warm welcome to newly instated WCHA commissioner Aaron Kemp. As a part of his “goodwill tour” to all eight WCHA institutions, Kemp was introduced to the Buckeye student-athletes, coaches and media during his time in Columbus.

 

“I had the opportunity to meet with the team, which I thought was spectacular,” Kemp said. “To be able to really talk to the student-athletes and tell them what my vision is, show them who I am and give them an idea of what we are looking at for the future. I also try to solicit some feedback from them and see what they want. Ultimately that’s why we’re here, to provide a good experience for the student-athletes.”

 

Under the direction of Kemp, the WCHA is committed to increasing brand exposure and awareness through a variety of venues. One of the most prominent is via social media. The conference’s new handles for the women’s WCHA are as follows: Twitter (@wcha_whockey) and Facebook (WCHA Women’s Hockey).

 

ON TO THE NEXT ONE

Ohio State will open conference play on the road against the high-powered Wisconsin Badgers on Friday, Oct. 10. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:07 p.m. (ET) in Madison, Wis. The series will continue Saturday, with an afternoon contest at 2:07 p.m. (ET).