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Bonanno makes 30 saves in third shutout of season; Keys has three-point game
 
ST. CLOUD, Minn. Junior goaltender Liana Bonanno stopped all 30 shots faced as the fifth-seed Ohio State women’s hockey team blanked fourth-seed St. Cloud State, 3-0, Saturday at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, Minn., to force a decisive third game in the first-round WCHA playoff series. The shutout was the third of the season for Bonanno as the Buckeyes improved to 17-16-3 overall (11-14-3 WCHA). The Huskies are 17-14-5 (11-13-4 WCHA).

Bonanno, a native of Mount Sinai, N.Y., posted her seventh game of the year with 30 or more saves and improved to 14-12-3. She saved all 14 shots faced by the SCSU power play as the Buckeyes were a perfect 7-of-7 on the penalty kill. Bonanno also was helped twice by her teammates. Freshman defenseman Shannon Reilly swept out a loose puck that was sitting along the goal line while the Huskies were on the power play in the second period and junior forward Morgan Marziali tapped out a loose puck in the goal crease in the third.

The Ohio State seniors did their best to extend their careers to at least one more game, registering eight of the team’s nine points, led by a three-point performance by forward Erin Keys on a goal and two assists.

In a first period that featured two shots off the pipe by each team, the Buckeyes scored twice to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. On the first Ohio State goal, senior defenseman Lisa Chesson picked up the puck from Reilly, and in a heads up play, passed it from the OSU zone up to Keys at the far blueline. She skated it in on a breakaway and fired a shot on. After her rebound flipped up into the air, Keys charged toward the net and jammed it in at 6:26.

The St. Paul, Minn., native has opened the scoring for the Buckeyes the last five games in a row. Chesson tallied her 17th assist on the goal while Reilly had her 18th and third of the series.

Ohio State upped its lead to two goals while on the power play at 18:18. While passing the puck around in the lower right corner, senior defenseman Tessa Bonhomme fed the puck from the faceoff circle to Keys stationed at the right corner of the net. She flicked it up to fellow senior Mallory Peckels who tapped it over to Bonhomme in the slot. She scored on wrist shot from in front of the net for her 16th goal of the year, while Peckels and Keys picked up their 17th and 23rd assists, respectively.

After skating to a scoreless second period and battling the Huskies throughout the third, the Buckeyes sealed the win with an empty net goal at 18:45. Senior forward Jody Heywood notched her third goal of the season when she shot the puck from along the boards past a St. Cloud State player and into the back of the empty net. Keys and Peckels had the assists.

Keys increased her point streak and goal streak to five games. She has 10 points in the span, including eight goals. Her three points upped her season point total to 48, tying her total from last season which ranks second all-time in the Ohio State record books. Keys also now stands third in season goals with 24.

Bonhomme, the team captain from Sudbury, Ontario, extended her point streak to six games with a total of nine points. The two-assist game for Peckels was the sixth multi-point performance for the Minocqua, Wis., native. Chesson, of Plainfield, Ill., has now had a point in 10 of the last 12 games.

Overall, Ohio State had a 34-30 advantage in shots and was 1-of-4 on the power play. St. Cloud State goaltender Kendall Newell made 31 saves and is 11-11-4.

The Buckeyes and Huskies will meet for a final first-round game Sunday at 2:07 p.m. (CT). The winner will advance to the league championship, renamed the WCHA Final Faceoff, March 8-9 in Duluth, Minn. Live scoring and audio for the game is available through the St. Cloud State athletics Web site with links to it on the Ohio State women’s hockey schedule page at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.