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Ohio State leads twice, but Bulldogs score six in third period for the win

DULUTH, Minn. The Ohio State women’s hockey team concluded its series at No. 3/4 Minnesota Duluth with a 7-2 loss Saturday at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center in Duluth, Minn. The Buckeyes felt the love early in the game with a 2-1 lead heading into the third period, but the Bulldogs scored six goals in the final stanza to rally for the win.

Ohio State is 8-21-3 overall and 6-18-2-2 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Minnesota Duluth is 21-7-4 and 16-6-4-1 in the conference.

The Buckeyes jumped on the board with a goal just 2:24 into the game. While skating through the goal crease, junior defenseman Rachel Davis jammed the puck in from the right side. She was assisted by classmate Raelyn LaRocque and freshman Laura McIntosh.

UMD came close to evening the score while on the power play in the 11th minute, but the Buckeyes caught a lucky bounce when the save by Liana Bonanno shot up and hit the inside of the cross bar but then landed outside the goal crease.

The Bulldogs were successful in the opening minute of the second period, evening the score 25 seconds in. While skating 4-on-4, Haley Irwin passed the puck from the left side of the slot down to Laura Fridfinnson who flicked it in from the right corner.

Ohio State regained the lead 9:23 when LaRocque charged the net and knocked in the rebound off a shot by McIntosh. Senior co-captain Hayley Klassen, the third member of the line, tallied the second assist. The Buckeyes maintained their 2-1 lead into the second intermission.

Minnesota Duluth tied the score again 5:20 into the third period. As the puck worked its way around the goal crease, Bonanno saved the first two shots, but the third rebound finally went in with Sara O’Toole scoring and Irwin and Erin Holmlov tallying the assists.

The Bulldogs then took the lead for the first time with a power play goal at 7:11. Holmlov flicked in a wrist shot from low on the right circle with O’Toole and Irwin setting up her up.

They added another goal for a 4-2 lead at 10:14 when Holmlov beat the Buckeye defense and scored on a breakaway, tucking the puck into the right corner. Irwin and Jaime Rasmussen had the assists.

Minnesota Duluth scored twice in the 14th minute. Saara Tuominen scored on a one-timer at 14:11 followed by a top-shelf goal by Erin Olson at 14:54. The final Bulldog goal was scored at 17:25 when Irwin scored from the left doorstep while on a 5-on-3 power play.

Bonanno totaled 36 saves while moving to 7-16-2 this season. Johanna Ellison of UMD finished with 26 saves and is 9-1-1.

Overall, UMD had a 43-28 advantage in shots. Ohio State was 0-of-5 on the power play with the Bulldogs were 2-of-7 with the man-advantage.

The Buckeyes return to Columbus next weekend for their final home series of the season when they face Minnesota State, Feb. 20-21. Games begin at 7 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday at the OSU Ice Rink and admission is free.

All weekend, OSU fans are encouraged to help the Buckeyes help those in need. The team will be collecting donations of toiletry items for Community Kitchen, Inc. Prior to the Saturday game, Ohio State will honor its seniors Bonanno, Klassen, Olivia Antognoli, Megan Hostasek and Morgan Marziali.