Oct. 14, 2016
Bemidji, Minn.— Ohio State (3-1-1, 3-1-1 WCHA) earned its first win over a ranked team this season when it took down No. 8 Bemidji State (3-2-0, 1-2-0 WCHA) 3-1 on Friday afternoon.
It’s the first win over a ranked team since the Buckeyes defeated then-No. 9 North Dakota on Feb. 19 last season 3-1. It’s the first win over a ranked team on the road since they beat that same North Dakota team 3-2 earlier in the season.
The offensive contributions came from Lauren Spring, Rebecca Freiburger, and Erin Langermeier. Spring scored first just 4:10 into the game and Langermeier followed a couple minutes later with her second goal of the season. Ohio State has had a knack for scoring goals in bunches this season; it scored twice in the first two minutes of game one against RPI, and in game two it scored twice again within less than two minutes of game time. The bang-bang style of scoring has worked out so far, considering OSU is 3-0 in those games.
Freiburger sealed the deal with her first collegiate goal at the 7:44 of the second period to put the Buckeyes up 3-0. It was a beautiful goal by the freshman that was set up by Spring. A real “tic-tac-toe” type of goal as described by head coach Nadine Muzerall, who praised Spring’s play today.
“She was our MVP of today’s game,” said Muzerall. “She played the best two-way game today for us, scoring her goal and assisting on Rebecca’s. She’s been a fantastic leader for us and she has performed exceptionally well so far; we have big expectations for her this year.”
“We played really well,” said Spring, “from the defensive zone through and neutral zone and on offense as well.”
Spring and the rest of the Buckeyes also earned praise from the coaching staff about how quickly they’ve adapted to the new style of play.
“They’re starting to understand the X’s and O’s better,” Muzerall said. “They’re not skating around without purpose, they understand the style of play and where they need to be. They’ve been playing much smarter and it really shows. They’re not sticking their sticks out and committing penalties because they’re out of position. We only had the one penalty today and it was a fair call, so we’ve really improved with that.
“We played a lot more disciplined today. We did a great job of keeping them on the perimeter and out of the center of the ice.”
Offensive contributions have come from everywhere on the team, something Muzerall appreciates as well.
“When you don’t have to rely on just your top line for points,” she said, “when you can get contributions up and down the lineup, it makes things a lot easier.”
All of today’s points came from the second and third lines, three of which came from newcomers Freiburger and Jacyn Reeves.
Of course, an excellent Buckeye win couldn’t have happened without stellar play in net. Kassidy Sauve had another great game, stopping 35 shots including 18 in the final period.
“We’ve been great from the back on up, and that starts with Kassidy,” said Muzerall. “I believe we have one of the most talented goalies in the entire country.”
Between the goaltending, the defense, the offense, and everything in between, things have been coming together wonderfully for the Buckeyes.
“We’ve just really bought into this system that our coaches brought in,” Spring said of her and her teammates. “And when you have that belief and you start seeing results on the ice, it just makes us play that much harder and believe in this team that much more.”
Ohio State and Bemidji State will take to the ice tomorrow, Saturday, at 4:07 ET in game two of this series.