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Dec. 11, 2001

%^$COLUMBUS, Ohio-The Western Collegiate Hockey Association-Women’s League announced it has named Ohio State offensive defenseman Emma Laaksonen (So., Espoo, Finland/Makelanrinteen) player of the week for the week ending Dec. 8. Laaksonen almost single-handedly led the Buckeyes to a series sweep over Minnesota State, Mankato, Dec. 7 and 8, either scoring or creating every Ohio State goal (two goals, three assists). The award is Laaksonen’s second-she was named player of the week Nov. 19-and the fourth league honor for the Buckeyes this season.%^$

%^$”I thought she had a solid weekend on both sides of the puck,” Jackie Barto, OSU head coach, said. “She is playing exceptionally strong on defense for us right now and is a catalyst on the power play. She also is making very good offensive decisions with the puck.”%^$

%^$Laaksonen had the lone assist on the gamewinner Friday and sealed Ohio State’s 2-0 win with an empty-net goal. Saturday, she scored the gamewinner on the power play and set up Ohio State’s other two goals as the Buckeyes defeated the Mavericks, 3-1. She was named the first star of the game for her performance. Laaksonen took eight shots on net and had a +2 rating through two games. She also played an integral role in the Buckeyes going 2-for-3 on the power play Saturday.%^$

%^$After seeing action in just 12 games, Laaksonen is second on the team in scoring (6-9-15). She leads the WCHA and is third in the nation among defensemen with 1.25 points per game.%^$

%^$Laaksonen will not be in the lineup this weekend as she left Monday for Tikkurila, Finland, to join the rest of her Finnish teammates in preparation for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. A member of the Finnish National Team when it won the bronze medal in the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, Laaksonen was one of eight (three defensemen) to be guaranteed a spot on the Olympic Team when Finland convened for camp earlier this year.%^$

%^$Ohio State (7-6-3 overall, 4-5-3 in the WCHA), riding a 5-1-1 record in its last seven games, will face Princeton in a non-conference series this weekend. The Buckeyes and Tigers will face off at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the OSU Ice Rink in Ohio State’s last two games of 2001.