March 2, 2018

No. 5 Buckeyes Face No. 7 Minnesota In WCHA Semifinal

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March 2, 2018

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The No. 5 Ohio State University women’s ice hockey team heads to Minnesota this weekend for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Faceoff. In their WCHA semifinal game, the Buckeyes face the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Puck drop is set for 6:07 p.m. ET on Saturday. If the Buckeyes defeat Minnesota, they’ll move on to play the winner of the Wisconsin vs. Bemidji State semifinal game in the WCHA Championship game on Sunday.

Game Notes

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Last Time Out

The Buckeyes (23-9-4, 14-6-4 WCHA) opened their post-season run with a sweep of Minnesota State last weekend in the OSU Ice Rink. Maddy Field netted the first hat trick of her career in Friday’s contest as OSU cruised to a 6-0 win. Charly Dahlquist, Lauren Boyle and Emma Maltais scored one goal each as Amanda Zeglen earned the first shutout of her career. Field continued her scoring on Saturday, netting two goals as the Buckeyes punched their ticket to the WCHA Final Faceoff with a 5-2 win. Tatum Skaggs also scored two goals, while Maltais lit the lamp once to secure the 5-2 win.

Two Buckeyes Earn WCHA Year-End Honors

With the overwhelming success the Buckeyes had on the ice this season, it makes sense that some of the WCHA yearly honors would make their way to Columbus. On Wednesday Emma Maltais was named the WCHA Rookie of the Year, and OSU Head Coach Nadine Muzerall was named the WCHA Coach of the Year, powered by GoodWood Hockey. Maltais comes into the weekend with a WCHA leading 40 points. She was named to the All-WCHA First Team and All-WCHA Rookie Team last week. This is the third time that a Buckeye has earned the WCHA Rookie of the Year award, following in the footsteps of Jeni Creary in 2002, and Hokey Langan in 2010. In just her second year at the helm, Muzerall has helped lead a historic turnaround for the Buckeyes. The team has tallied a program best 23 wins this season, and the 14 WCHA wins are also the most in program history. This is the first time that an OSU coach has won the WCHA Coach of the Year award.

Buckeye Bits

Emma Maltais leads the WCHA with 40 points and her 24 assists are tied for second in the league. Her 1.18 points-per-game and five game winning goals also lead the league. Skaggs leads the WCHA with 23 goals and .64 goals-per-game. Her 37 points are second only to Maltais in the conference. Kassidy Sauvé’s nine shutouts are good for second in the WCHA and rank third in the nation. Her 849 saves lead the conference and come in at sixth in the NCAA.

Trophy Case

In addition to the yearly awards announced this week, the Buckeyes brought home some hardware in the weekly and monthly awards also announced this week. With her five goals over the weekend, Maddy Field earned the WCHA Offensive Player of the Week honors. Field led the conference in goals last weekend. Tying Field’s WCHA leading five points was Lauren Boyle, who earned the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week award. Boyle tallied five points from one goal and four assists, while helping the Buckeyes only allow two goals in their series with Minnesota State.

For the second consecutive month, Emma Maltais earned the WCHA Rookie of the Month award, and Tatum Skaggs earned the WCHA Offensive Player of the Month award. This is the fourth WCHA Rookie of the Month win for Maltais, who also earned WCHA Rookie of the Year honors earlier this month. Maltais finished the month of February with seven points, the second highest point total on the team. Skaggs led the team with eight points to earn her second WCHA Offensive Player of the Month award. The rookie opened the month with a four-point weekend against No. 1 Wisconsin, and finished February off with a two-goal performance against Minnesota State.

About The Golden Gophers

Minnesota (22-10-3, 13-8-3 WCHA) is led by a trio of 30-point scores in Grace Zumwinkle, Sydney Baldwin and Nicole Schammel. Zumwinkle’s 35 points pace the Golden Gophers and are tied for third in the WCHA. Baldwin, the WCHA Defensive Player of the Year, comes into the weekend with 32 points. Schammel has 30 points of her own, and leads the team with 16 goals. In a rivalry traditionally dominated by Minnesota, the Buckeyes have proven to be a thorn in the Gopher’s side this season, with Ohio State winning three of the four contests, and scoring a shootout win in the lone tie between the teams this season. The OSU sweep of Minnesota back in January was the first time the Buckeyes had swept the Golden Gophers in program history.