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Buckeyes blanked for the first time this season

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 10th-ranked Ohio State women’s hockey team could not get its offense going, falling to No. 2 Minnesota, 6-0, Saturday in front of 1,358 fans at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis. The Buckeyes were stifled the majority of the game and only able to generate a handful of scoring opportunities as they were shut out for the first time this season.

Ohio State moves back to .500 on the season at 9-9-4 overall and has a 6-8-2-0 record in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. The league-leading Golden Gophers are 17-3-2 with a 13-2-1-1 conference mark.

Minnesota built a 3-0 lead in the first period, scored one in the second and added two more in the third. Emily West of the Gophers scored just 1:08 into the game, with Anne Schleper netting her first of two goals in the contest at 7:06 and Brittany Francis tallying a last-minute goal at 19:51. Sarah Erickson assisted on all three goals with Francis also setting up the first two and West helping on the third.

Katie Frischmann scored the lone goal of the second period at 7:55. Buckeye freshman goaltender Chelsea Knapp (7-9-4) was pulled 32:34 into the game and finished with 18 saves. She was replaced by sophomore Barbara Bilko for her first game action of the season. In the last 27:26 of the game she made 13 saves with two goals allowed.

In the third period, Schleper tallied her second of the game at 7:37 with Becky Kortum scoring the final Minnesota goal at 12:14.

Erikson finished the game with four assists, while West and Francis had a goal and two assists apiece. Alyssa Grogan stopped all 26 shots faced in the Gopher net to improve to 5-1-0.

Overall, Ohio State trailed in shots, 37-26, and was 0-of-5 on the power play. A high point of the game for the Buckeyes was a perfect 4-of-4 performance on the penalty kill.

Up next, the Buckeyes return to the North Star State to face Minnesota State, Jan. 15-16 in Mankato, Minn. Games begin at 7 p.m. (CT) Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday at All Seasons Arena.

Game Notes:

  • The last time the Buckeyes were shut out was a 7-0 loss to Wisconsin in the first round of the WCHA playoffs, Feb. 27, 2009.
  • Barbara Bilko has three career appearances in net, all against Minnesota. Her last appearance was almost a year ago exactly (Jan. 10, 2009). Her two goals allowed Saturday was a career-low.
  • Kim Theut was issued a 10-minute misconduct in the third period – the first for Ohio State this season.
  • Ohio State was without two forwards for the Minnesota series – sophomore Natalie Spooner and freshman Minttu Tuominen. Both Spooner, with the Canadian Under-22 Team, and Tuominen, with the Finnish National Team, are competing in the 2010 MLP Cup in Germany. Tuominen is playing with former Buckeye All-American Emma Laaksonen, a Team Finland veteran vying for her fourth Olympics. Spooner and Team Canada won the gold medal Saturday.