COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s hockey team was defeated by No. 6 Minnesota Duluth, 5-2, Friday at the OSU Ice Rink in the first game of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association series. The Buckeyes (14-15-2, 8-15-2-2 WCHA) and Bulldogs (17-7-3, 15-7-3-0 WCHA) will conclude the series at 4 p.m. Saturday. Ohio State will recognize its five seniors before the start of the game on Senior Day.

Highlighting the game for the Buckeyes was freshman goalie Lisa Steffes, who broke the program’s single-season saves record after stopping 31 UMD shots to total 906 saves in 2011. The native of Amherstburg, Ontario, Steffes passes former Buckeye Liana Bonanno, who recorded 886 saves during the 2008-09 campaign. She is the only goalie in the country to have at least 900 saves this season.

The Buckeyes opened the scoring at 9:10 in the first period after junior forward Laura McIntosh tallied a power-play goal with assists from junior defenseman Kelly Wild and junior forward Natalie Spooner. McIntosh faked a slap shot in the middle of the UMD zone before sending a quick wrist shot into the back of the net to give Ohio State the 1-0 lead.

However, the Bulldogs evened the game, 1-1, following a goal by Elin Holmlov at 16:39 when she sent a quick wrist shot over the shoulder of Steffes from the right side of the Buckeye net. Jessica Wong and Jocelyne Larocque were credited with the assists.

Although the Buckeyes had an 11-9 lead in shots in the second period, Minnesota Duluth continued its offensive momentum with three goals to show for in the 20 minutes of play. Laura Fridfinnson made it 2-1 at 6:01 on a power-play goal, firing a quick one-timer into the back of the net in the middle of the OSU zone. Brienna Gilanders put the Bulldogs ahead, 3-1, after scoring just 1:26 later in the period with assists from Pernilla Winberg and Holmlov. Fridfinnson pushed the lead to three goals when she scored a shorthanded goal for Minnesota Duluth at 11:16.

In the third period, Holmlov found the back of the net again for the Bulldogs, scoring at 8:51, while Wong picked up her third assists and Larocque added a second helper to give UMD the 5-1 lead.

Ohio State ended the night on a positive note when freshman Ally Tarr claimed her seventh goal of the season deep in the UMD zone following a cross pass from the left side by sophomore forward Kim Theut at 10:45. Senior captain Christina Mancuso also had an assist on the Buckeye score.

Overall, the Bulldogs had a 36-32 shot advantage against the Buckeyes. Ohio State went 1-of-7 on the power play, while Minnesota Duluth was 1-of-4.

Steffes falls to 14-15-2 on the season, while UMD goalie Kim Martin improves to 12-5-0 in 2011.