November 19, 2020

A Top-5 Matchup Begins the 2020-21 Women’s Hockey Season

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 21st season of Ohio State women’s hockey begins this weekend with the fifth-ranked Buckeyes travel to Minneapolis, Minn. for two games against No. 4 Minnesota at Ridder Arena. Puck drop is set for 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 21 and 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 22.

The Buckeyes will be returning to the place where they saw the highlight of their 2020 season: it was at Ridder Arena where Ohio State rallied in overtime twice to win last season’s WCHA Final Faceoff title last March, the first in program history.

How to Follow Along
Both games this weekend will be streamed live on BTN Plus (subscription required). Additionally, live stats will be available at gophersports.com as well as a Gameday central page with all the coverage links.

Watch: BTN Plus | Listen: GopherSports.com | Live Stats | GameDay Central

Briefly on the Buckeyes
Head coach Nadine Muzerall returns for her fifth season guiding the Buckeyes. A two-time WCHA Coach of the Year, she has accumulated a .607 win percentage (82-50-17) and a .540 win percentage in conference play (46-38.16).

Muzerall led the Buckeyes to new heights in the 2019-20 season as the team posted its third-straight 20-win season and tied a single-season win record, previously set by Muzerall and the Buckeyes in 2017-18. Along the way, Ohio State tallied eight wins against Top 10 opponents, including six victories over Top 3 teams. The Buckeyes also won their first ever WCHA Championship in just their second conference championship appearance. In the Final Faceoff, Ohio State defeated Minnesota and Wisconsin in overtime to give the Buckeyes their first automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Ohio State returns its top three point scorers from 2019-20: senior Emma Maltais (19-40-59), senior Liz Schepers (22-21-43) and senior Tatum Skaggs (17-25-42). Goaltender Andrea Braendli also returns after posting a school-record with 20 wins last year while finishing with a 1.89 goals-against average and .928 save percentage.

Other experienced returnees include junior Sophie Jaques, who has played in 73 career games, junior Madison Bizal, also a73-game veteran, and Lisa Bruno, a senior who has played in 111 games.

Notable Notes

  • Emma Maltais and Liz Schepers will serve as captains this year while Tatum Skaggs and Lisa Bruno will be alternate captains.
  • The four rising seniors accounted for nearly half of the team’s points last season, as Maltais, Schepers and Skaggs are all on the Buckeye’s top line.
  • In July, Zoe Hickel was hired as an assistant coach. She brings five years of professional playing and coaching experience, as well as two World Championships with Team USA, to the Buckeyes. She joins a staff that includes Muzerall, assistant coach Emily West and volunteer assistant Jincy Dunne.
  • Nine members of the women’s ice hockey team were named Big Ten Distinguished Scholars for the 2019-20 academic year. To be eligible for Big Ten Distinguished Scholar honors, student-athletes must carry a grade-point average of 3.7 for the previous academic year.
  • Ohio State has three consecutive 20-win seasons, the longest such stretch is program history.

Recent History vs. Minnesota

  • Last year, the Buckeyes were 3-2 against the Gophers with a series split both in Columbus and Minnesota during the regular season and a 4-3 overtime win in the WCHA Final Faceoff.
  • When the Buckeyes traveled to Ridder Arena last season, the Scarlet and Gray took down then-No. 1 Minnesota by a score of 4-1. For Hockey Day Minnesota, the Gophers came out victorious with a 2-1 decision.

Meet the Newcomers
Ohio State added four freshmen to its roster for 2020-21: Jenna Buglioni (Port Moody, B.C. / Greater Vancouver Comets), Riley Brengman (China, Mich. / Belle Tire), Shani Rossignol (Notre Dame de Lourdes, N.B. / Team Atlantic) and Amanda Thiele (Milford, Mich. / Belle Tire).

Around the WCHA

  • Four WCHA teams landed in the top eight of both the USCHO and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine preseason polls, with all four teams receiving the same ranking on both lists. Preseason league favorite Wisconsin is No. 1. Minnesota checks in at No. 4 with defending WCHA Final Faceoff champion Ohio State at No. 5 and Minnesota Duluth at No. 8.
  • Ohio State was picked to finish third in the WCHA preseason poll behind Wisconsin and Minnesota. The Buckeyes also played two players on the Preseason All-WCHA team: F Emma Maltais and G Andrea Braendli.