Dec. 12, 2015
Columbus, Ohio— In its last game of the calendar year, the Ohio State women’s hockey team (6-12-0, 3-11-0 WCHA) fell to Minnesota Duluth (9-10-1, 6-7-1 WCHA) on Saturday 5-2.
After striking first in yesterday’s game, the Buckeyes fell behind early after a goal from Minnesota Duluth’s Michela Cava. 16:13 into the period, Ohio State’s Claudia Kepler tied the game in style with her seventh goal of the season. Kepler and several Bulldog skaters were all fighting for possession behind the net, when Kepler took control and lifted the puck past UMD goalie Kayla Black. The stalemate wouldn’t last long, however, as Cava notched her second goal of the game with just nine second left in the period to put her team ahead 2-1 after the first 20 minutes of play.
Thanks to Maddy Field, that deficit didn’t last too long; the freshman took a beautiful stretch pass from teammate Maggie Rothgery and zoomed by a couple of Minnesota Duluth defenders to tie the game at 2-2 and get quite a rise out of the crowd at OSU Ice Rink. Bulldog Lara Stalder answered a few minutes later, though, to put her team ahead 3-2 at the 4:22 mark of the period. 23 seconds later, Ohio State was whistled for elbowing to send Minnesota Duluth to the power play, and with about 20 second left in that opportunity another Buckeye was sent to the box, giving the Bulldogs a 5-on-3 advantage. Luckily Ohio State was able to kill both penalties to remain a perfect 3-for-3 to that point on the penalty kill. With 2:18 remaining in the period, Stalder found the back of the net again, putting the Buckeyes down 4-2 entering the third period.
Despite being down two goals entering the final period, Ohio State still had some momentum in its favor; it outshot Minnesota Duluth 10-7 in the second period and would start the period on a power play, albeit a very short one. The game, however, went the other way for the Buckeyes, who were outshot 13-5 in the final 20 minutes of play. In addition to that, they spent a large portion of the period on the penalty kill due to six penalties totaling 31 minutes. Field and Cara Zubko were both issued 10-minute misconduct penalties, with Zubko’s being issued in tandem with a five-minute major for contact to the head.
To Ohio State’s credit though, Minnesota Duluth didn’t capitalize on a power play until after the final penalty had been called. The Buckeyes finally succumbed to the Bulldog pressure on a 5-on-3 when Stalder notched her third goal of the game to put UMD up 5-2. That score would hold as the final, handing Ohio State its eleventh conference loss of the year.
Pretty much all of the damage was done by three players: Stalder, Cava, and Ashleigh Brykali combined for 11 of Minnesota Duluth’s 13 points on the day.
Ohio State has now made the rounds of its WCHA foes and will have the next 20 days off before returning to the ice against Penn State on January 2-3 at OSU Ice Rink.