Nov. 3, 2017
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The No. 4 Ohio State University women’s ice hockey team faces its biggest challenge of the season this weekend when it hits the road to take on the No. 1 University of Wisconsin Badgers for a Western Collegiate Hockey Association series this weekend in Madison, Wisconsin.
Last Time Out
The Buckeyes (7-0-1, 5-0-1 WCHA) used a pair of 4-0 shutouts over St. Cloud State to continue their undefeated start to the season before their bye week. In the first game against St. Cloud four different Buckeyes scored, including the first goals of the season for Lauren Spring and Rebecca Freiburger, as Kassidy Sauvé made 26 saves to secure the shutout. The second game saw some of the usual suspects step up for OSU with Maddy Field scoring her sixth goal of the season, Julianna Iafallo netting her fourth and fifth goals of the year in the second period, and Emma Maltais lighting the lamp for the fifth time this season as Ohio State wrapped up its second consecutive 4-0 win. For the second straight game Sauvé made 26 saves in the shutout, the 16th of her career.
Maltais leads the WCHA in points-per-game with 1.50, while her 12 points rank third in the conference. Her points, along with her five goals and seven assists are tops in the WCHA among freshmen. Her line mate Tatum Skaggs is tied for second among freshmen in the conference in points with nine, while tying Maltais in goals with five of her own. Field’s .75 goals-per-game lead the conference, while her six goals put her in a tie for second, and her 10 points tie her for sixth in the WCHA. Sauvé leads the NCAA with four shutouts, and leads the WCHA with 216 saves, and a .952 save percentage.
Keeping Things In Perspective
The magnitude of this weekend’s series isn’t lost on anyone, it’s two of the top four teams in the nation, and both teams have not lost a game yet this season. For OSU Head Coach Nadine Muzerall and her squad, all of that has to go out the window. “We don’t want to get the women too amped up. It’s still another game, we have to play our game the way we have all season and not worry about the rankings. We’re facing a strong opponent, but we’re going to go out there and play the game our way, it’s been successful for us so far.”
For their work in the St. Cloud series, both Field and Maltais earned weekly WCHA honors. Field took home the WCHA Offensive Player of the Week award, while Maltais was named the WCHA Rookie of the Week. Additionally, Maltais was selected as the WCHA Rookie of the Month after posting a team-high 12 points in the opening month.
About The Badgers
Wisconsin (12-0-0, 6-0-0 WCHA) are currently ranked No. 1 in the nation, and hold a one-point lead over the Buckeyes in the WCHA standings. The Badgers are led by Abby Rogue’s WCHA leading 16 points and 12 assists. Presley Norby is right behind her with 13 points of her own. Wisconsin also has a top-tier goaltender blocking their net in Kristen Campbell. The sophomore ranks second in the WCHA in saves, save percentage, and shutouts, only trailing the Buckeye’s own Sauvé.