Ohio State snaps Bulldogs’ NCAA-leading unbeaten streak at 12 games, posts first win over Minnesota Duluth since 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio – After coming close to an upset Friday night in overtime, the Ohio State women’s hockey team made sure it took care of business against No. 2/3 Minnesota Duluth by winning 6-3 Saturday at the DECC in Duluth, Minn. The Buckeye victory ends a 14-game winless streak against UMD dating back to Dec. 8, 2006, and also brings to an end the Bulldogs’ NCAA-leading unbeaten streak at 12 games.

The win also keeps Ohio State (15-13-4, 12-12-2-0 WCHA) in the hunt for home ice for the first round playoffs in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. The Buckeyes are in sixth place in the conference standings with 26 points, but only three points separate them and third-place St. Cloud State, whom Ohio State hosts next weekend in its regular-season finale. The top 4 teams in the league host best-of-three  playoff series to determine who advances to the WCHA Final Faceoff.

Four Buckeyes had multiple-point games, led by three-point performances from freshman Hokey Langan (1g, 2a), senior Raelyn LaRocque (1g, 2a) and sophomore Natalie Spooner (2g, 1a). Sophomore Laura McIntosh also had a goal and an assist.

With her three points, Langan set the Ohio State record for freshman scoring with her 45th point of the season. The forward from Chatham, Ontario, broke the previous mark held by Jeni Creary with 44 points in 2001-02. Langan has 21 goals and 24 assists through the first 32 games of her college career.

Providing solid support in net was freshman goalie Chelsea Knapp, who bounced back from the overtime loss to make 32 saves for her 13th win of the season (13-13-4). The York, N.Y., native stopped all 10 shots faced by the UMD power play to help the Ohio State penalty kill post a perfect 8-of-8 mark.

Ohio State took advantage of a 4-on-3 power play opportunity to score in the opening period and carry a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Rookies Langan and Paige Semenza connected at 16:13 with Semenza netting her fourth goal of the year.

Minnesota Duluth (22-8-2, 18-6-2-1 WCHA) tied the score 5:11 into the second with a goal by Emmanuelle Blais, but McIntosh returned the lead to the Buckeyes just 54 seconds later with an unassisted goal.

Spooner then tallied her eighth power play goal of the season at 15:46, set up by Langan and junior defenseman Shannon Reilly, for a 3-1 lead. Audrey Cournoyer cut the Bulldog deficit to one-goal at 17:24, but Ohio State again had a quick answer at 18:29 when LaRocque was set up by Spooner and McIntosh.

UMD’s Jessica Wong scored 3:27 into the third period to cut the score to 4-3, but the Buckeyes sealed the win by scoring twice in the last three minutes of the game. Spooner netted her second goal of the game at 17:49, assisted by senior co-captain Rachel Davis. Fellow co-captain LaRocque then fed Langan the puck who shot it into the empty net at 19:11 for the 6-3 final.

Overall, Minnesota Duluth had a 36-27 advantage in shots. Ohio State was 2-of-4 on the power play, scoring on their only shots with the man-advantage. Jennifer Harss (20-8-2) had 21 saves in the Bulldog net.

Up next, Ohio State hosts St. Cloud State in the final regular-season series of the year. Games against the Huskies begin at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday at the OSU Ice Rink and admission, as always, is free. Prior to the start of the Saturday game, the Buckeyes will honor their three seniors – Rachel Davis, Raelyn LaRocque and Michele Tonnessen.