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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s hockey team concluded the 2010-11 season with a 3-2 loss to No. 3/5-ranked Minnesota Saturday. Competing for a slot in the WCHA Final Faceoff, the No. 6-seed Buckeyes (14-19-3, 8-19-3-3 WCHA) fell to the No. 3-seed Golden Gophers for the second night in the best-of-three series at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, Minn.

Down two, the Buckeyes battled back to even the score at 2 in the third period, but a late goal by Minnesota ended Ohio State’s overtime hopes.

With the loss, the Buckeyes conclude the season with an overall mark of 14-19-3, while Minnesota improves to 25-8-2 and advances to the WCHA Final Faceoff next weekend.

Minnesota would strike first with a goal from Sarah Erickson at 10:48 of the first period. Carding her 100th career point, Erickson connected with Amanda Kessel for the goal. The Gophers’ Sarah Davis then capitalized on an Ohio State hooking penalty just over a minute later at 11:54 to bring the Gopher lead to two. Kelly Terry and Kelly Seeler were credited with the helpers.

Skating four-on-five, the Buckeyes were able to generate some offensive momentum when sophomore Paige Semenza fired a shorthanded goal from sophomore Minttu Tuominen at 5:14 of the second stanza. The Buckeyes held  Minnesota scoreless in the period, as rookie goalie Lisa Steffes stopped all 15 shots on goal. Ohio State put 16 shots on net in the period.

The Buckeyes would get on the board again to even the score at 6:21 in the third, when senior Shannon Reilly tallied her ninth goal of the season. The power play goal was assisted by Touminen who ended the game with two points.   

Racking up 15 shots on goal to the Buckeyes’ six in the final period, the Gopher offense remained strong. At 16:51, Kessel fired the unassisted gamewinner to send Minnesota to the WCHA Final Faceoff. Ohio State pulled Steffes for the extra attacker with 1:10 remaining in regulation but were unable to get a shot on net.

Steffes concluded her rookie season with 35 saves and a record of 14-19-3. 

Both squads were able to capitalize on the power play opportunity. The Buckeyes were 1-of-2, while the Gophers went 1-of-3.

Game Notes:

·         Ohio State tallied 32 shots on goal to Minnesota’s 38.

·         With two helpers, Minttu Tuominen ended the season with 10 points.

·         Steffes ended the year with an Ohio State record 1,085 saves. She leads the country in minutes played and saves.