Feb. 20, 2016
Columbus, Ohio—Ohio State (10-23-1, 6-21-1-1 WCHA) closed out its regular season on Saturday with a 3-2 loss to No. 9 North Dakota (16-11-5, 13-10-5-3 WCHA), earning a season series split with the Fighting Hawks.
After the game the team’s seven seniors were honored in front of a large Buckeye faithful. Kendall Curtis, Stacy Danczak, Julia McKinnon, Melani Moylan, Bryanna Neuwald, Maggie Rothgery, and Cara Zubko were all given their moment to shine for their dedication to the program during their time in Columbus.
With the regular season wrapped up, Ohio State will look ahead to next weekend and the WCHA conference tournament. OSU will serve as the No. 7 seed and will travel to No. 2 seed Minnesota.
With the fans already buzzing thanks to yesterday’s win and the excitement of senior day ahead, they were given more to cheer about thanks to the Buckeyes’ quick starting offense. Alexa Ranahan fired a shot from the point just 51 seconds into the game that found the back of the net, her first goal of the season and the game’s first goal as well. Maddy Field added an assist on the goal, her eighth of the year. Not two minutes later Lauren Spring scored her seventh goal of the year (and registered her third point of the weekend) on a highlight reel score that whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Spring took possession of the puck near center ice, whizzed into the North Dakota zone, maneuvered the puck around a defender and lifted a backhand shot past the UND goalie to put Ohio State up 2-0. Assists on the play were credited to Moylan and Dani Sadek, her team-leading 18th helper of the season.
North Dakota would add a goal of its own later in the period to cut its deficit in half, and the score of 2-1 would hold going into the second period. Getting the start in goal for her last game in OSU Ice Rink, Danczak was tested a lot early and made several impressive saves to keep her team in the lead.
The second period was very much North Dakota’s best period of the weekend. It outshot Ohio State 14-7 and scored two goals to go up 3-2 after 40 minutes. The first goal of the period came on the power play at 10:22 and the second goal was scored at 16:28. There was almost a third goal for UND; a scrum in front of the net ended with Danczak securing the puck, but it took officials several minutes to determine if it had crossed the goal line at any point, which it obviously did not.
Neither team was able to score in the third and final period so that score of 3-2 held as the final. The Buckeyes certainly had chances in the final frame though, seeing as the outshot their opponents 12-to-8, three of which came on a power play. Though only trailing by a goal, Ohio State was unfortunately on the penalty kill for much of the final five minutes due to a couple penalties.
Though the final game of the 2015-16 season at OSU Ice Rink left a sour taste in the Buckeyes’ mouths, they’ll have a shot at revenge over the Golden Gophers this upcoming weekend. The two teams last met in the post season during the 2012-13 season when they played in the semifinals of the WCHA Final Face-Off. More information on this weekend’s action will follow.