Feb. 7, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s hockey team welcomes Minnesota Friday (7:07 p.m.) and Saturday (1:07 p.m.) at the OSU Ice Rink.

Friday, Feb. 8, 2013/7:07 p.m.   
Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013/1:07 p.m.

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Video: Coach Handrahan, Langan and Kuehl

Ohio State has an overall record of 16-10-2, 11-9-2 in the WCHA. 

The Buckeyes are coming off a series split at Bemidji State, winning in overtime 2-1 on Friday and losing 2-1 Saturday. On Friday, senior forward Tina Hollowell notched her 10th goal of the season, 4:33 into the third, to lock the game up at 1-all. Redshirt senior Kim Theut and freshman Cara Zubko tallied assists on the score from Hollowell. The game-winner came off the stick of junior forward Ally Tarr, 41 seconds into the overtime period and was unassisted.

On Saturday, the Buckeyes tied the game up at 1-all when freshman forward Julia McKinnon netted her 12th goal of the season 1:24 into period two, but that would be all the scoring Ohio State could muster on the day. Freshman Melani Moylan picked up her second assist on the McKinnon score. Redshirt junior goaltender Chelsea Knapp stopped 39 of 42 shots faced in the series with the Beavers.

Tarr has a team leading 27 points this season on nine goals and 18 assists. Her 27 points match a career best. She has scored eight goals in the Buckeyes last nine games and is averaging 1.04 points per game in 26 games played this season. The London, Ontario, native has four three-point games this season and her game-winning goal at Bemidji last Friday was the tenth of her career, putting her into a tie for second all-time on Ohio State’s career game-winning goals list.

Ohio State finds itself in the top-half of the WCHA in many team statistical categories including: scoring offense (3rd- 3.00 G/GM); scoring defense (4th- 2.39 G/GM); power play (3rd- 22.3%); and penalty kill (4th- 83.8%). Tarr is 10th in the league in overall scoring with 27 points. Paige Semenza, Taylor Kuehl, Hokey Langan and Kari Schmitt all find themselves among the top-25 in the league for scoring as well. K. Schmitt is third in the WCHA for defenseman scoring, while Sara Schmitt is tied for eighth. McKinnon is fourth in the league in rookie scoring. 

Ohio State currently sits tied with Wisconsin and Minnesota Duluth for third place in the WCHA standings with 37 league points. The Buckeyes are two points back of second place North Dakota. Minnesota sits atop the league with an undefeated record and 66 points. Trailing the Buckeyes are Minnesota State (19), Bemidji State (16) and St. Cloud State (13).

This weekend’s league series include: Minnesota at Ohio State, Bemidji State at North Dakota, Minnesota State at Minnesota Duluth, and Wisconsin at St. Cloud State.

Knapp comes into the weekend carrying an overall record of 16-9-2 and a .630 winning percentage. She has started 27 of 28 games this season for Ohio State. Knapp is seeing career bests in goals-against average (2.25) and save percentage (.919).

The defending national champions are in the midst of a NCAA record-breaking stretch of 36 consecutive games won dating back to last season. Minnesota (28-0-0, 22-0-0 WCHA) has outscored opponents 158-22 and have only trailed for a total of 46 minutes and six seconds the entire season. Offensively the Gophers are paced by junior Amanda Kessel and her nation-leading 37 goals, 46 assists and 83 points. Freshman Hannah Brandt’s 67 points are second-best in the nation and senior Megan Bozek sits 15th nationally with 41. Senior goaltender Noora Raty recently set the NCAA record for career wins and has a nation-leading save percentage of .958 and sits second in the country with a 0.91 goals-against average.    

Ohio State is 8-52-1 all-time against Minnesota. The last win against the Gophers came on Oct. 20, 2007. Earlier this season the Buckeyes were swept by Minnesota at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, losing 7-2 and 8-0. Kuehl scored both goals for Ohio State in the series.  

Ohio State travels to Grand Forks, N.D., for a series with North Dakota Feb. 15-16.