Feb. 28, 2018
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COLUMBUS, Ohio — As a stellar season of hockey inches toward the end, two members of the Ohio State University women’s ice hockey team have claimed some Western Collegiate Hockey Association awards. Emma Maltais has been named the WCHA Rookie of the Year, and head coach Nadine Muzerall has been selected as the WCHA Coach of the Year, powered by GoodWood Hockey, conference officials announced on Wednesday.
Maltais comes into the WCHA Final Faceoff leading the conference with 40 points, the highest point total for any Buckeye since Natalie Spooner finished the 2011-12 season with 50 points. Her 1.18 points-per-game also lead the league, and she’s tied for the top spot with five game winning goals. She ranks second in the conference with 24 assists, and 16 goals are tied for fourth in the league.
The Burlington, Ontario native won a program record three WCHA Rookie of the Month awards and tallied three Rookie of the Week wins as well. She’s the third Buckeye to earn the WCHA Rookie of the Year award, following Jeni Creary in 2002 and Hokey Langan in 2010. Maltais was named to the All-WCHA First Team and All-WCHA Rookie Team last week.
In her second year at the helm, Muzerall has helped push the Buckeyes to new heights. The 23 wins the team has racked up this year are a new program record, and the No. 2 seed in the WCHA Tournament is the highest seed the team has ever had. Under her leadership, the team enjoyed one of the best home ice advantages in the nation, going 16-2-2 in the OSU Ice Rink. During the latter half of the season the Buckeyes rattled off eight consecutive wins at home, including sweeps of No. 1 Wisconsin and then No. 5/6 Minnesota.
This is the first WCHA Coach of the Year honor bestowed upon an OSU coach, adding to the laundry list of firsts accomplished by this year’s team. The team is looking to punch their ticket to the NCAA women’s ice hockey tournament for the first time in program history, and appear to be in a good position to do so.
The easiest way to get into the NCAA women’s ice hockey tournament is to win the WCHA, and the Buckeyes can move one step closer to that on Saturday when they face the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the WCHA Semifinals. That game is set for a 6:07 p.m. start on Saturday.