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No. 9/10 Ohio State Buckeyes (7-6-1, 3-6-1-1 WCHA) vs.
Bemidji State Beavers (6-5-1, 4-3-1-1 WCHA)
Friday, Nov. 26 – 7 p.m.  •  Saturday, Nov. 27 – 7 p.m.
OSU Ice Rink  •  Columbus, Ohio

Live video: Buckeye Vision (OhioStateBuckeyes.com)
Live audio (Saturday): Scarlet & Gray Sports Radio (OhioStateSports.net)
Live stats: OhioStateBuckeyes.com
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 9/10 Ohio State women’s hockey team is grateful for home ice this Thanksgiving weekend, hosting Bemidji State in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association series, Nov. 26-27. Games begin at 7 p.m. both Friday and Saturday at the OSU Ice Rink and admission, as always, is free.

The Buckeyes (7-6-1, 3-6-1-1) are coming off a road split with the defending NCAA champs Minnesota Duluth while the Beavers (6-5-1, 4-3-1-1) were off last weekend.

BUCKEYES IN A NUTSHELL
Ohio State returned to both national rankings after a week out of the top 10, earning the 10th spot in the U.S. College Hockey Online poll and the ninth place in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.

Like last season the OSU offense is among the best in the NCAA, in seventh with an average of 3.50 goals per game. Ohio State’s power play is fourth in the nation at 22.6 percent (14-of-62) and the penalty kill is perfect in 20 of its last 22 chances over six games.

Leading the Buckeyes in points and assists is Laura McIntosh, with 26 and 20, respectively. Natalie Spooner has scored a team-high 14 goals, including five on the power play, and has 19 points. Hokey Langan is second with 22 points (9g, 13a). Patrolling the OSU net is freshman Lisa Steffes, who is 7-6-1 with a 2.90 GAA and .912 save percentage.

LAST TIME OUT: No. 3 MINNESOTA DULUTH
Ohio State split a road series at then-No. 3 Minnesota Duluth, Nov. 19-20 at the DECC. The Buckeyes upset the Bulldogs the first game in a 4-2 win before falling the second game, 8-0. In the first game, Natalie Spooner posted her third-consecutive two-goal performance, scoring the opening goals for the Buckeyes. Paige Semenza tallied the gamewinner at the end of the second period and Hokey Langan sealed the victory with an empty-netter with 1:14 left.

Freshman goaltender Lisa Steffes then became just the third Buckeye to make 50 or more saves in a game Saturday. She stopped 50 shots for the first 50-save game since Deidre Facklis had as many Dec. 9, 2007 and was only four shy of tying the record set by April Stojak Jan. 28, 2000. All three performances were set against Minnesota Duluth. Steffes also made 31 saves in the win Friday night for a total of 81 against the Bulldogs.

Bulldog Series Notes:

  • The victory Friday gave Ohio State back-to-back wins against Minnesota Duluth for the first time in 50 meetings. The Buckeyes handed UMD its last loss of the 2009-10 season before they won the NCAA championship.
  • Four of Ohio State’s five wins against the Bulldogs have been in Duluth.
  • The Buckeye penalty kill held opponents scoreless in 21-consecutive opportunities over five-plus games. UMD scored on the power play Saturday to end the streak that dated back to Oct. 30.

SHE’S BAAAAAAACK!
After missing four games with the Canadian National Team, Natalie Spooner scored twice to lead Ohio State to a 4-2 upset at No. 3 Minnesota Duluth, Nov. 19 at the DECC. She responded for the Buckeyes each time the Bulldogs took a one-goal lead with the first and second OSU goals of the game.

It was her third-consecutive two-goal game and her fifth multiple-goal performance in only 10 contests this season. She has tallied two or more points eight times. The two goals extended Spooner’s point streak to 13 games to tie for the third-longest in Ohio State history. She also set the Buckeye record for consecutive games with a goal at 10. She has tallied at least a point in 21-consecutive series dating back to the second series of last season.

A LOOK AT BEMIDJI STATE
Bemidji State has had several notable games already this season, including wins against nationally-ranked Mercyhurst and Minnesota Duluth, as well as a win and tie vs. North Dakota. This is the Beavers’ first road series since early October.

Leading BSU is senior Erin Cody with a team-high nine goals, 10 assists and 19 points. In net is Slovakian Olympic goalie Zuzana Tomcikova who is 5-4-0 with a .932 save percentage and 2.12 GAA.

BUCKEYES VS. BEAVERS
Ohio State leads the all-time series 26-13-7, but the teams are tied at 2-2-2 in their last six games. The Buckeyes and Beavers tied for fifth in the WCHA last season.

Natalie Spooner leads Ohio State in scoring vs. Bemidji State with nine points (4g, 5a) in eight games. Laura McIntosh has eight assists in eight meetings and Shannon Reilly also has eight points (2g, 6a). Hokey Langan scored five goals and had six points in four meetings with the Beavers last season.

HELPING HAND
Laura McIntosh led the WCHA in overall assists last season with 35 and is well on her way to eclipsing that mark this season. Through 14 games, the Waterloo, Ontario, native already has set up 20 goals to lead the conference (seven ahead of teammate Hokey Langan, who is tied for third in the category). 

McIntosh has 83 helpers in her two-plus seasons and is only three assists away from tying for second with Tessa Bonhomme in the Ohio State career assists. Jana Harrigan (2003-06) holds the all-time record with 92. McIntosh is close to breaking Harrigan’s mark for assists in WCHA games – Mac has 65 and is three away from the record.

30, 40, 50 …
Lisa Steffes recorded her sixth and seventh games of the season with 30 or more saves, including a 50-save outing, in a road split at No. 3 Minnesota Duluth, Nov. 19-20. The freshman goalie made a total of 81 saves against the Bulldogs. She had 31 saves in a 4-2 win in game one and also assisted on the game-tying goal – her third helper of the season. 

Steffes then became only the third OSU goalie to reach the 50-save milestone in the second game. It was the first time since Deidre Facklis had as many Dec. 9, 2007 and was only four shy of tying the record set by April Stojak Jan. 28, 2000. All three performances were set against Minnesota Duluth. Steffes has made the second-most saves in the NCAA so far this season with 425 in 14 games. 
 
UP NEXT
Ohio State is off next weekend in preparation for finals week. The Buckeyes then close out the first half of the season at No. 7 Minnesota, Dec. 10-11 in Minneapolis.