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Oct. 16, 2014

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s hockey team (2-2-0, 0-2-0-0 WCHA) will return to home ice this weekend for a pair on contests against WCHA foe Bemidji State (4-0-0, 0-0-0-0 WCHA). Hosted at the OSU Ice Rink in Columbus, Ohio, the squads will faceoff Friday at 6 p.m. (ET) and Saturday at 12 p.m. (ET).

Follow the Buckeyes
Fans unable to make the trip to Columbus have a variety of ways to follow the action. Scoring updates will be available from the Buckeye’s official Twitter account, @OhioState_WHKY, while a link to live stats has been provided above. Both games will be available for streaming through BuckeyeVision ($). Scarlet and Gray Sports Radio will also be on the call with play-by-play coverage.

Football Frenzy
With the Ohio State vs. Rutgers football game set for a 3:30 p.m. (ET) kickoff in adjacent Ohio Stadium, fans attending the hockey game Saturday should plan accordingly. Parking will be available in all “Day of Game” lots, with a set fee of $15.00. A game day parking map can be found at the link provided: http://go.osu.edu/gameday_parking.  All “Day of Game” lots are labeled in red.

Last Time Out – OSU 0-2-0 vs. Wisconsin
Introduced this week as the top-ranked team in the nation, Wisconsin proved to be a handful for Ohio State in its first road and conference tilt of the season. The Buckeyes were blanked by the Badgers, 6-0, in game one and fell by a score of 3-0 in game two.

“Wisconsin is a terrific hockey club,” Ohio State head coach Nate Handrahan said following the series. “They play with a lot of speed and skill. That’s something we need to always keep in mind. Game speed and team speed are not necessarily about how fast you play.

“I think it was a tale of two games on Friday and Sunday,” Handrahan continued. “On Sunday, we played a much better game. In the first period, we came out and played with some grit, the way we needed to.”

Buckeyes vs. Beavers
Ohio State holds the edge in the all-time series with Bemidji State as the Buckeyes have a record of 33-18-11 against the Beavers. Last season, Bemidji took the season series, 2-1-1. However, it marked just the second time in the series’ history the Beavers have claimed a series tilt. The Buckeyes are 16-7-5 all-time in Columbus against Bemidji State.

Beaver Bits
Ohio State will mark the first conference opponent the Bemidji State Beavers have faced this season. The Beavers have recorded their best start in program history, going 4-0-0 in nonconference play. In the latest polls released by USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine, Bemidji State received votes toward ranking among the nation’s elite.

On offense, BSU has showcased strong depth as 17 of 21 skaters who have suited up have contributed at least one point. The team’s leader in scoring is junior forward Megan Lushanko, who has netted two goals and dished three assists for five points. A strong junior class overall, three of Lushanko’s classmates – Stephanie Anderson, Kaitlyn Tougas and Ivana Bilic – follow closely with four points each.

Protecting the net, the Beavers have utilized two goalies – Brittni Mowat and Erin Deters. Mowat, a sophomore this season, has recorded a record of 2-0-0 with an 1.00 goals against average and a .958 save percentage, while the rookie, Deters, mirrors the win total with a 0.50 goals against average and a .978 save percentage. 

Sauve Saves
As Ohio State’s starter in goal for the opening four contests, freshman goalie Kassidy Sauve is learning the ropes. The rookie put in work against the high-powered offense of Wisconsin, posting 44 saves on Sunday. The 22 stops she was credited with in the second period alone is one away from tying an Ohio State record (23), which was set by Melisa Glaser in 2000. Sauve is 2-2-0 thus far with a 2.96 goals against average and a .908 save percentage.

The Dynamic Duo
Each with an assist this season, Sara and Kari Schmitt remain eighth and ninth on Ohio State’s all-time list of career points by a defenseman with 61 points and 57 points, respectively. Sara needs one point to advance to seventh all-time, while Kari will reach her next plateau with three added points.

Oh Captain, My Captain
Sara Schmitt, a senior this season, 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 in 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.”

The Buckeyes Are Back
Ohio State returns 17 letterwinners from a season ago, including nine forwards, seven defensemen and one goaltender. Eight have been 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, Sara Schmitt ranks as Ohio State’s top returning point producer, while Kepler led the Buckeyes with 13 goals last season. After losing both goaltenders to graduation, the Buckeyes will look to Stacy Danczak or newcomers Alex LaMere and Sauve to fill the role.

A Shot at the Schott
It’s official! Ohio State will suit up in Value City Arena for its upcoming series vs. St. Cloud State. Puck drop will take place at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 31 and 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1.