Feb. 25, 2017
Grand Forks, N.D.— Ohio State fell to North Dakota 4-1 on Saturday, bringing the two teams’ WCHA Playoff series to an even 1-1.
At long last, Kassidy Sauve broke Ohio State’s single-season saves record. The phenomenal goaltender accomplished that feat with her second save of the second period; on that play she surpassed former Buckeye Lisa Steffes, who made 1,085 saves in 2011. Sauve’s total has now reached 1,104, which puts her eighth on the NCAA’s all-time single-season saves list.
Sauve has been one of the best goaltenders in the country this season since it started. She has 98 more saves than any other goalie in the entire country and her save percentage (.942) is third in the NCAA, though it should be noted that the other goalies in the Top 4 have all faced less than 550 shots. Her 35 starts are more than anybody else and she’s second in the country in minutes played (one of two with at least 2,000 minutes between the pipes), making her extremely high level of play since day one all the more impressive. According to the NCAA’s record book, the only higher goalie with a higher single-season saves total from a WCHA school was Jennifer Harss of Minnesota Duluth in 2010 (1,138), which would put Sauve 35 away from setting a new conference mark.
Both games in this series have been tied after two periods of hockey, but the outcomes have both been very different. After winning an overtime thriller on Friday, the Buckeyes fell by a three goal margin on Saturday. Maddy Field’s power play goal tied things up late in the second period, but three North Dakota goals in the third period put them over the top.
Field’s goal continued a trend of power play success for Ohio State, which has now scored four power play goals in four games. The assists on the play came from Lauren Boyle and Sauve, who was rightfully credited with springing the play that led to the goal. Field’s team-leading 13th score of the season came blazing off her stick, leaving UND’s goaltender with no chance to stop it.
Each team converted on the power play on Saturday; Ohio State was 1-for-2 while North Dakota was 1-for-3.
Offensively Lauren Spring and Jacyn Reeves led the way with three shots apiece. Ohio State as a whole got 18 shots on net while the Fighting Hawks managed 37: 13 in the first and third periods and 11 in the second. A few more of those probably would have gotten through to Sauve had the defense not gotten in the way of 24 of them, the sixth time this season the Buckeyes have blocked at least 20 shots in a game. Dani Sadek led all skaters with eight blocked shots; she now has 92 this season, which leads the WCHA and is second in the NCAA.
“We have to be better tomorrow,” Sadek said after the game on Saturday. “We need more quality shots and bodies on the net.”
These two teams will play a winner-take-all game on Sunday at 3:07 p.m. ET for a trip to the WCHA Final Face-Off.