Dec. 2, 2016
Columbus, Ohio— Ohio State (7-8-2, 3-8-2 WCHA) returned from its bye week on Friday with a tilt against No. 9 North Dakota (7-5-5, 5-4-4-2 WCHA) that ended in a 1-1 tie. UND won the shootout 2-1 to take the extra point in the WCHA standings. It was the Buckeyes’ first home game that did not end in regulation since Dec. 5, 2014.
“It was hard fought,” head coach Nadine Muzerall said. “You lose in shootouts and you still feel like it’s a loss even though it’s a tie. The girls battled today. We were dying out a little bit in the third period, which might have had something to do with the bye week, but they played sensational hockey for about 50 minutes. They also played well in the overtime period; I’m pleased with our effort this evening.”
Ohio State struck first tonight; Maddy Field scored her sixth goal of the season just 35 seconds into the second period to put her team ahead 1-0. In the waning moments of a power play that had carried over from the first period, Julianna Iafallo and Dani Sadek made some excellent passes on a play that ended with the puck on Field’s stick. Ohio State’s leading scorer did what she does best, put the puck in the back of the net, in the manner she does best:
“I think every one of my goals this year have gone through the five-hole,” Field said after Friday’s game. “It’s my go-to move I guess. Jules made a really nice pass and Dani made a really nice pass and I just saw an opening.”
Notable for Ohio State was that it killed both of UND’s power play chances, extending its streak to 11 straight games and 24 consecutive penalties killed. A team hasn’t scored a power play goal against the Buckeyes since Oct. 15 when Bemidji State converted three power play chances.
Despite the shot differential- North Dakota outshot OSU 43-23- neither team was lacking for quality offensive chances. Field led the way for the Buckeyes with five shots on net while Jacyn Reeves, Julianna Iafallo, and Katie Matheny all added three apiece. It was Matheny’s first game the Wisconsin series nearly two months ago; the captain had been out with an injury, and her team was more than happy to have her back.
“Obviously it was great,” Muzerall said of having her captain back on the ice. “Not just on the ice where she produces great goal scoring opportunities, but her leadership. Having your captain back and knowing that your captain is healthy is big. She said in the locker room that when she woke up today it felt like Christmas morning.”
After the first period in which the Fighting Hawks tallied 15 shots, the Buckeyes outshot their WCHA foes 10-9 in the second period, generating good pressure on the offensive end. North Dakota would come back in the third period with 17 shots to OSU’s eight; one of those 17 shots found the back of the net to tie the game. Ryleigh Houston scored her third goal of the year at the 8:01 mark of the third period.
While Muzerall mentioned her team’s fatigue in the later stages of the game, she also acknowledged that it’s something they’re all working on, and getting better at dealing with.
“When you’re legs are tired is when your mental part has to kick in,” Muzerall said. “Your body can go a lot farther than you think it can, it’s just your mind that shuts down. We’re working on our mental toughness in that regard and it’s coming.”
This is the third time this season Ohio State has earned points against a ranked opponent, and the team’s leading scorer, rightfully, felt very good about her squad’s performance on Friday.
“I’m really proud of our team,” Field said. “We came out with everything we can. Obviously it stinks to lose in a shootout but I’m really proud of us.”
Ohio State will get another crack at No. 9 North Dakota on Saturday at 3:07. Fans planning on attending the game should keep in mind that OHSAA football will still be going on, so plan on parking on the north end of St. John Arena/OSU Ice Rink.