Oct. 26, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s hockey team heads to Mankato, Minn., for a two-game series against WCHA opponent Minnesota State, Oct. 28-29. The Buckeyes (3-2-1, 3-2-1-1) and the Mavericks (4-4-0, 0-2-0) will play at 8:07 p.m. (ET) Friday and at 4:07 p.m. (ET) Saturday at the All Seasons Arena. 

Ohio State Buckeyes (3-2-1, 3-2-1-1 WCHA) at Minnesota State Mavericks (4-4-0, 0-2-0 WCHA)
Friday, Oct. 28 – 8 p.m. ET
Saturday, Oct. 29 – 4 p.m. ET

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Ohio State traveled to nationally-ranked North Dakota last weekend in its first WCHA road series of the season. The Fighting Sioux topped the Buckeyes 11-1 Friday and 7-1 Saturday at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D.

Senior forward Laura McIntosh led Ohio State, scoring both Buckeye goals on the weekend. On Friday, the Waterloo, Ontario product scored in the second period on an assist from freshman Kayla Sullivan. McIntosh scored the first goal of the game Saturday at 5:49 in the first with assists to sophomore Ally Tarr and freshman Sara Schmitt. The assist for Sullivan Friday was the first of her career, while Schmitt’s assist earned her the first point of her career. 

The Buckeyes, under first-year head coach Nate Handrahan, are third in WCHA standings entering the weekend. Ohio State has 11 points with a 3-2-1-1 record in conference play. Nationally-ranked Wisconsin (No. 1) and Minnesota (No. 2) are tied for first with 15 points and a 5-1-0 WCHA record. 

With her two points on the weekend, senior Laura McIntosh continues to inch closer to the top of the career points list at Ohio State and has 139 points for third-best in the program’s history. She is seven points shy from tying former Buckeye Jeni Creary (2002-05) for second in the record books with 146 points. 

Minnesota State enters the weekend with a 4-4-0 overall mark and is 0-2-0 in conference play. The Mavericks opened WCHA competition last week at No. 2 Minnesota and fell to the Gophers in a pair of shutouts, losing 3-0 Friday and 7-0 Saturday.

Lauren Barnes and Lauren Smith each have a goal and seven assists for eight points on the season to lead the team. Kathleen Rogan has a team-high six goals with one assist, while Emmi Leinonen and Kari Lundberg have seven points each (3g, 4a). Netminder Alli Altman is 3-3-0 on the season with a 3.34 goals-against average and 152 saves. 

The Buckeyes have a 39-9-4 all-time series lead over Minnesota State and are 19-3-2 in Mankato. The Mavericks and the Buckeyes split last season with Minnesota State picking up wins in Columbus and Ohio State sweeping in Mankato.

Senior forwards Laura McIntosh and Natalie Spooner and junior forward Hokey Langan have double-digit points against the Mavericks. McIntosh has a team-best 23 points (8g, 15a), while Spooner has 12 goals and six assists for 18 points over 12 games. Langan has scored nine goals and handed out four assists in seven games against Minnesota State. 

Ohio State traveled to Mankato and picked a pair of 3-2 wins over the Mavericks, Jan. 14-15. Laura McIntosh had three points on the weekend, scoring two goals and having one assist. Natalie Spooner had two goals, while Tina Hollowell and Kelly Wild each had two assists. 

Splitting time in the net for the Buckeyes are goalies Chelsea Knapp and Lisa Steffes, having three starts apiece. Steffes, a sophomore from Amherstburg, Ontario, is 2-1-0 on the year with a 3.39 goals-against average and a .880 save percentage.

Knapp, a redshirt sophomore from York, N.Y., is 1-1-1 overall and has a 5.25 goals-against average with a .822 save percentage. 

This year’s newbies are quickly becoming key factors in the team’s success this season. Taylor Kuehl is tied for a team-best four assists, while Danielle Gagne has two goals and one assist on the young season. Kayla Sullivan has one goal and one assist for the Buckeyes and twin sisters Kari Schmitt and Sara Schmitt have been key roles for the team’s defensive strike. 

Five Buckeyes scored their first-career points against Bemidji State, Oct. 7-8. That Friday night had three of the five tally points in sophomores Annie Svedin and Madison Marcotte and freshman Taylor Kuehl. Svedin and Kuehl picked up assists on Natalie Spooner’s second goal of the game at 3:41 in the first period. Marcotte followed with an assist on another Spooner goal at 5:00 in the second.

Freshman Kayla Sullivan scored the first goal of her career, finding the back of the net at 1:41 in the second period in the 5-3 win over the Beavers, Oct. 8. She was assisted by classmate Danielle Gagne, earning her first collegiate point.

In the series at North Dakota, Sullivan tallied the first assist of her career on Friday and Sara Schmitt picked up the first point and assist of her career Saturday. 

Ohio State returns 17 letterwinners from last season, including its top three scorers who combined for more than half of the team’s goals – Natalie Spooner (26g, 13a), Laura McIntosh (14g, 33a) and Hokey Langan (13g, 18a). McIntosh and Spooner enter their senior seasons as members of the Century Club. McIntosh ranks third at Ohio State with 139 career points (39g, 100a), while Spooner is tied for fifth with 121 career points (76g, 45a). The duo have already made their mark in the program’s history as McIntosh is Ohio State’s leader in career assists and Spooner is second on Ohio State’s career goals list. Langan is on pace to join the Century Club as she currently has 87 career points (39g, 48a).

Heading the blueliner pack are seniors Kelly Wild and Brittany Carlson. Wild played a key role in scoring this season as the Mendota Heights, Minn., product finished fifth on the squad with 19 points on three goals and 16 assists. Carlson, from Hudson, Wis., will continue to hold the back and guide OSU’s defensive corps. Looking to be competitors in the net are goalies Chelsea Knapp and Lisa Steffes as both bring a wealth of experience in their young careers. 

Senior Natalie Spooner, of Scarborough, Ontario, earned a spot on the Team Canada squad that will represent its country at the 2011 Four Nations Cup held Nov. 9-14 in Sweden. The tournament features teams from Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United States. Spooner was a member of the team that captured gold in last year’s tournament. 

Ohio State returns to the OSU Ice Rink for a WCHA series against the top-ranked Wisconsin Badgers, Nov. 4-5. Both games are set for 7:07 p.m. ET starts.