Feb. 18, 2017
Grand Forks, N.D.— Ohio State (13-16-5, 7-16-5-2 WCHA) played its final regular season game of the season on Saturday, falling to North Dakota (14-14-6, 11-12-5-3 WCHA) by a score of 3-2.
Coming into the game, Kassidy Sauve needed 17 saves to crack the Top 20 of the NCAA’s all-time single-season saves list. She reached that mark very early in the 3rd period, saving her 1,031st shot of the season to pass Shari Vogt of the 2004 Minnesota State Mavericks. Former goaltender Lisa Steffes set the Ohio State record in 2011 with 1,085 saves, so that’s the next mark to watch out for next weekend. The Whitby, Ontario native registered 29 saves over the course of Saturday’s game.
While she praised her fantastic goaltender, head coach Nadine Muzerall lamented the lack of help she received in Saturday’s loss.
“We didn’t help her at all today,” Muzerall said. “We did not play a defensive game at all for her today. Too many turnovers, too many giveaways, too many lackadaisical bad passes in crucial areas of the ice. We have to own that and be better.”
“She helps us every game and it’s disappointing when we can’t help her.”
Maddy Field scored the first goal for Ohio State with an assist coming from Liv Halvorson. It was Field’s third goal of the weekend after scoring twice on Friday; she’s now registered a point in 12 of her last 14 games, having been on a tear since the calendar flipped over to 2017 and receiving praise from Muzerall after the game for the amount of passion she played with this weekend.
After scoring on the power play the night before, Lauren Boyle did it again on Saturday. The unassisted goal was her fifth tally of the season and a welcome sight for a team that has seen struggles on the power play this season.
“We’ll win the little battles to win the war at the end,” Muzerall said of the way her special teams performed this weekend against North Dakota. “We’ll take a lot of pride in how our power play played this weekend.”
On the defensive end the usual suspects led the way in shots blocked. Dani Sadek, Jessica Dunne, and Jincy Dunne have been among the national leaders in that category all season long and today they recorded four, three, and three, respectively.
North Dakota started off the scoring with a goal 3:03 into the first period and retook the lead just a couple minutes after Ohio State tied it up in the second. A goal in the third period gave them a two score cushion, which was enough to survive the Buckeyes’ power play goal in the third period.
The loss to the Fighting Hawks brought a disappointing end to the regular season, but there’s no time to dwell as the postseason is now up next on the docket.
“It’s always disheartening when you lose the last game of the regular season,” Muzerall said. “We talked yesterday about having some positive energy going into the postseason, but on the flipside we’ll learn a lot from how we played today.”
With the loss, Ohio State’s destination for the first round of postseason is still up in the air as of this writing. It’s still possible for OSU to be either the fifth, sixth, or seventh, seed in the WCHA and the possibility remains to face either Minnesota, Minnesota Duluth, or North Dakota next weekend.