COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s hockey team opened its WCHA First Round Playoff series with a 4-2 loss to No. 3 Minnesota Friday at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, Minn. Down 4-0, the No. 6-seed Buckeyes (14-18-3, 8-18-3-3 WCHA) got two goals from Laura McIntosh in 33 seconds, but it was not enough to edge the No. 3-seed Golden Gophers who capitalized on two power play opportunities.
The Buckeyes are now 14-18-3, while Minnesota improves to 24-8-2.
The Gophers jumped on the board first with an unassisted goal by Kelly Seeler at 2:10. Holding the Scarlet and Gray to just six shots on goal in the first stanza, Minnesota’s Jen Schoullis would then find the net on the power play at 15:53. Anne Schleper and Megan Bozek were credited with the assists.
Minnesota continued its control of the puck out of the break with two more goals. Assisted by Amanda Kessel, Sarah Erickson tallied her 17th goal of the season at 6:49, while Schoullis converted another power play opportunity at 11:29 with the help of Schleper and Erickson.
The Buckeyes were able cut the deficit in half when junior McIntosh fired back-to-back goals to swing the momentum in Ohio State’s favor. Connecting with sophomores Tina Hollowell and Hokey Langan, McIntosh’s first goal came at 13:33. The Waterloo, Ontario, native then scored again unassisted just 33 seconds later at 14:06.
Unable to answer the Buckeye rally, Minnesota would head to the lockerroom trailing Ohio State 14-11 in shots on goal in the second.
Ohio State continued to fight in the final period, but its efforts were not enough for the Gopher defense who held the Buckeyes scoreless to secure the win.
Between the pipes, freshman goaltender Lisa Steffes made 34 saves for the Buckeyes. Her season mark is now 14-18-3.
The Buckeyes were 0-of-3 on the power play, while the Gophers were 2-of-5.
The best-of-three series continues Saturday with a 5 p.m. (CT) puck drop. If necessary, game three will take place at 4 p.m. (CT) Sunday.
Ohio State tallied 26 shots on goal to Minnesota’s 38.
With her two goals, McIntosh now has 47 points on the season with 14 goals and 33 assists. She led the Buckeyes in shots on goal with six against the Gophers.