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Oct. 9, 2014

Ohio State vs. No. 2 Wisconsin
Friday, Oct. 10 – 7:07 p.m. CT/8:07 p.m. ET
Sunday, Oct. 12 – 1:07 p.m. CT/2:07 p.m. ET
LaBahn Arena – Madison, Wis.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s hockey team (2-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) faces second-ranked Wisconsin (4-0-0, 2-0-0 WCHA) this weekend in Madison, Wis., marking the Buckeyes’ first conference contest of the 2014-15 campaign.  Puck drop Friday is set for 7 p.m. (CT), while the teams will faceoff Sunday at 1 p.m. (CT).  Both games will be played at Wisconsin’s LaBahn Arena.

Way to Follow
Fans not making the trip to Madison have a variety of ways to follow the action. The league tilt will be streamed live through BTN Plus ($). A link to live stats has been provided by Wisconsin, while scoring updates will be available from the Buckeyes’ official Twitter account: @OhioState_WHKY.

Last Time Out – OSU 2-0-0 vs. New Hampshire
The Buckeyes returned to the ice with a two-game home series against UNH last weekend. Opening the season with a sweep, Ohio State downed the Wildcats, 1-0, in game one and rallied for a 4-3 victory in game two. Ohio State showcased its depth with 13 players recording at least one point in the series. Sophomore Claudia Kepler and junior Kendall Curtis each led the team with two points apiece.

Game One – Ohio State 1, New Hampshire 0: Kepler’s second-period goal lifted the Buckeyes to a 1-0 season-opening win Friday at the OSU Ice Rink. The shutout was credited to freshman Kassidy Sauve, who recorded 24 saves in the first contest of her Buckeye career.

Game Two – Ohio State 4, New Hampshire 3: Starting the second game of the series off on a strong note, the Buckeyes recorded three unanswered goals in the first period alone. New Hampshire, however, came out firing on offense in the second. Unable to counter the attack, Ohio State watched its previous three-goal lead dwindle to 3-2 at the end of the period. Moving on to the third, the Wildcats tied the game, 3-3, early in the period. With overtime looming, the Buckeyes answered with a game-winning goal from Kepler with 31.1 seconds remaining on the clock.

Kepler Named WCHA Offensive Player of the Week
Kepler, a sophomore this season, was named WCHA Offensive Player of the Week, the conference office announced Tuesday. It marks the first occasion Kepler has received the honor during her collegiate career. Last season, she was recognized twice as WCHA Rookie of the Week.

Kepler’s two goals vs. UNH marked the first and second game-winners of her Buckeye career. A native of Verona, Wis., the Buckeyes expect big things from Kepler this season. As a freshman, she amassed 19 points on 13 goals and six assists. Leading the team in goals with 13, she became the first Buckeye freshman to do so since 2009-10. The same goal total ranked second among WCHA freshmen for the 2013-14 campaign.

Buckeyes vs. Badgers
Wisconsin holds a strong edge in the all-time series with Ohio State. The Buckeyes are just 9-53-6 against the Badgers overall, while trailing 5-24-3 in games played in Madison. Ohio State dropped four contests to the Badgers during the 2013-14 campaign, two at LaBahn Arena in Madison and another pair at the OSU Ice Rink in Columbus. Buckeye returners Kepler and Kari Schmitt each netted two goals vs. Wisconsin last season.

Badger Bits
Wisconsin is coming off a sweep of No. 10 Minnesota Duluth. Three players tallied multiple goals in the series, as Emily Clark scored twice in UW’s 4-1 win Friday, while Blayre Turnbull and Sarah Nurse each recorded two goals in the Badgers’ 6-2 win Saturday. Clark was named WCHA Preseason Rookie of the Week after netting the game-winner on Friday night. Featuring a high powered offense, Wisconsin leads the nation in shots (44.75 shots per contest) and ranks third in scoring offense (5.25 goals per game).

Bonhomme in Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame
Tessa Bonhomme, a four-letterwinner for the Buckeye defense, was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame Sept. 26. Following the induction ceremony dinner, Bonhomme joined 12 of her fellow Buckeye inductees for a public recognition at halftime of the Ohio State football game vs. Cincinnati.

Bonhomme is Ohio State’s only ACHA First Team All-American. She was a Second Team All-American in 2007 and a two-time finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, which is given annually to the top women’s collegiate hockey player. A three-time All-WCHA selection, Bonhomme was voted the WCHA Player of the Year as a senior in 2008, when she was also recognized as a First Team All-American. Her 128 career points are most all-time at OSU for defensemen scoring.

A Sudbury, Ontario, native, Bonhomme competed with the Canadian National Team throughout her time at OSU and redshirted the 2005-06 season to centralize with Team Canada. She was one of the last cuts for the 2006 Olympic squad before playing a vital role in Canada’s gold-medal winning run at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

Bonhomme represents the women’s hockey program as its second inductee in the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame, joining Buckeye great Emma Laaksonen.

Oh Captain, My Captain
Senior Sara Schmitt will don the captain’s “C” for the Scarlet and Gray during the 2014-15 season, while fellow seniors Kari Schmitt and Kara Gust will be recognized as the team’s assistant captains. The leadership unit, announced by head coach Nate Handrahan, exhibits excellence on and off the ice as backbones of the Buckeye defense and Ohio State Scholar-Athletes.

“I believe they are very capable and responsible to lead our team to where we want to be,” Handrahan said. “Sara is an excellent person who has been an unrecognized leader in her time as a Buckeye. She has shown to be well rounded in all areas of her life and will be able to interact with all team members in a positive, constructive way. I trust her and her abilities to lead us effectively.”

Behind the Bench
Handrahan is in his fourth season at the helm of the Ohio State women’s hockey program. In his first three seasons as a Buckeye, Handrahan has compiled an overall record of 50-48-12. He is the second women’s hockey coach in the 12-year history of the program. Handrahan, a graduate of Niagara University, is joined by second-year assistant coaches Carson Duggan and Keith Maurice.

Handrahan has high expectations for the 2014-15 Buckeyes following a fifth-place WCHA run last season.

“I thought from Thanksgiving moving forward, especially into the second half of the season, we were one of the hottest teams in the country,” Handrahan said. “If the second half of last year was any indication, I’m pretty excited about the group as they come back.”

The Buckeyes Are Back
Ohio State returns 17 letterwinners from a season ago, including nine forwards, seven defensemen and one goaltender. Eight have been welcomed into the Buckeye family as newcomers, four of which will suit up as forwards, two on defense and two in goal.

On offense, the Buckeyes will be led by nine of the Top 10 point earners from the 2013-14 campaign. With a line of 7-21-28, Sara Schmitt ranks as Ohio State’s top returning point producer, while Kepler led the Buckeyes with 13 goals last season. After losing both goaltenders to graduation, the Buckeyes will look to Stacy Danczak or newcomers Alex LaMere and Sauve to fill the role.

On To the Next One
Ohio State will return to its home ice for a two-game tilt with Bemidji State next weekend. The teams will suit up Friday, Oct. 17, as well as Saturday, Oct. 18. Puck drop will be at 6:07 p.m. (ET) on Friday and 12:07 p.m. (ET) on Saturday.