Oct. 5, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ohio– The Ohio State women’s hockey team kicks off its 13th season with a WCHA series against Bemidji State, Oct. 7-8. Games begin at 7 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday at the OSU Ice Rink and admission is free.
Ohio State Buckeyes (0-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) vs. Bemidji State Beavers (1-0-1, 0-0-0 WCHA)
Friday, Oct. 7 – 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 8 – 4 p.m.
Live video: Buckeye Vision (OhioStateBuckeyes.com)
Live audio: Scarlet and Gray Radio (OhioStateSports.net)
Live stats: OhioStateBuckeyes.com
Ohio State opened its preseason with an exhibition game vs. WIlfrid Laurier Sept. 23 at the OSU Ice Rink, capturing a 3-1 win over the Golden Hawks. A trio of Buckeyes scored in freshmen Kayla Sullivan and Danielle Gagne and senior Melissa Feste. Splitting time in goal were redshirt sophomore Chelsea Knapp and sophomore Lisa Steffes. Knapp stopped all nine goals faced, while Steffes tallied 10 saves and gave up the lone WLU goal.
The Buckeyes also held its Scarlet and Gray game Sept. 30 at the OSU Ice Rink. Scarlet came away with a 4-3 win and was led by freshman Taylor Kuehl who scored two goals and had one assist. Senior Natalie Spoonertallied a goal and an assist, while netting a shot during the shootout at the end for Gray.
This Saturday the Ohio State women’s ice hockey team will celebrate the international flavor of its student-athletes with International Day. Fans are encouraged to wear shirts and jerseys from other countries while enjoying foreign music favorites and the chance to win great prizes with trivia about the players and their home countries!
The Buckeyes open their regular season at home for the first time since 2006-07, starting on the road the last four years. This also marks the first time in six seasons the squad has opened the year against a WCHA opponent. Ohio State is 13-6-3 in season-opening series and picked up a pair of wins at Robert Morris last year.
Ohio State hired Nate Handrahanin May as the program’s second head coach in the 12-year history. Handrahan joined the Buckeyes after serving five years as head coach of the Robert Morris women’s hockey program. Taking over the team following its inaugural season in 2005-06, Handrahan’s coaching style established a young program that has showed great strides of growth each year he was the helm.
Joining Handrahan behind the bench are his former Robert Morris assistants Scott Spencer and Candice Moxley. Spencer spent five years with the Colonials and acted as associate head coach of the program last season. Moxley was with Robert Morris for two years before coming to Columbus, specializing in practice planning and opponent scouting.
BEMIDJI STATE BEAVERS
The Beavers come to Columbus with a 1-0-1 record after skating to a scoreless tie with Providence Sept. 30 and following with a 3-1 upset over then-10th ranked Providence at home. The squad saw goals from a trio of student-athletes as Rachael Kelly, Kimberly Lieder and Montana Vichorek each found the back of the net. The team finished last season with a 14-17-4 overall mark (11-13-4-2 in the WCHA) and returns an experienced defensive group in goaltender Zuzana Tomcikova and defensemen Lieder, Vichorek, Marlee Wheelhouse and Erika Wheelhouse. Offensively, the Beavers lost 40 percent of its scoring from last year and will look to juniors Emily Erickson and Sadie Lundquist to be scoring leaders.
The Buckeyes traveled to Bemidji State in the final series of the regular season, Feb. 18-19. The Beavers opened with a 4-1 win, but the two squads skated to a 1-1 tie the following day with Ohio State earning the extra point in the shootout. Natalie Spoonerled the Scarlet and Gray with one goal and one assist and finished with a plus-2 rating at the end of the weekend.
VERSUS BEMIDJI STATE
Ohio State leads the all-time series against Bemidji State with a 27-14-9 record. The Buckeyes and the Beavers went 1-1-2 against each other last season. Natalie Spooner and Laura McIntosh lead Ohio State in scoring vs. the Beavers with 12 points. Spooner has five goals and seven assists, while McIntosh has two goals and 10 assists. Junior Hokey Langan has scored five goals and tallied four assists for nine points. In goal, Chelsea Knapp holds a 2-1-1 record against the Beavers with a 1.72 goals-against average, while Lisa Steffesis 1-1-2 with a 1.92 goals-against average.
Ohio State returns 17 letterwinners from last season, including its top three scorers who combined for more than half of the team’s goals – Natalie Spooner (26g, 13a), Laura McIntosh (14g, 33a) and Hokey Langan(13g, 18a). McIntosh and Spooner enter their senior seasons as members of the Century Club. McIntosh ranks third at Ohio State with 131 career points (35g, 96a), while Spooner is sixth with 113 career points (69g, 44a). The duo have already made their mark in the program’s history as McIntosh is Ohio State’s leader in career assists and Spooner is second on Ohio State’s career goals list. Langan is on pace to join the Century Club as she enters the season with 84 career points (38g, 46a).
Heading the blueliner pack are seniors Kelly Wild and Brittany Carlson. Wild played a key role in scoring this season as the Mendota Heights, Minn., product finished fifth on the squad with 19 points on three goals and 16 assists. Carlson, from Hudson, Wis., will continue to hold the back and guide OSU’s defensive corps. Looking to be competitors in the net are goalies Chelsea Knapp and Lisa Steffesas both bring a wealth of experience in their young careers.
SPOONER NAMED TO FOUR NATIONS TEAM
Senior Natalie Spooner, of Scarborough, Ontario, earned a spot on the Team Canada squad that will represent its country at the 2011 Four Nations Cup held Nov. 9-14 in Sweden. The tournament features teams from Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United States. Spooner was a member of the team that captured gold in last year’s tournament.
The Buckeyes continue their homestand, hosting WCHA opponent St. Cloud State at the OSU Ice Rink, Oct. 14-15. Games begin at 7 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday and admission is free.