Sept. 27, 2012

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s hockey team is set to begin their 14th season in program history and second under the lead of Nate Handrahan. The season gets kicked off with a non-conference series against visiting Lindenwood at the OSU Ice Rink, September 28-29. The puck is scheduled for a 7:07 p.m. drop on Friday, Sept. 28 and a 4:07 p.m. start is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 29. The Buckeyes finished last season with a 16-16-4 mark overall, 13-14-1 in the WCHA, good for fifth place.


Friday, Sept. 28, 2012- 7:07 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012- 4:07 p.m.

Ohio State will open up its regular season schedule at home for the second season in a row. Last season, the Buckeyes hosted the Beavers of Bemidji State on opening weekend and came away with a 4-4 tie, which was won in the shootout by Ohio State. They then picked up a 5-3 victory the following afternoon. The Buckeyes are 14-6-4 all-time in opening series games. Sophomore forward Kayla Sullivan notched her first-career goal and junior forward Ally Tarr had a hat trick in the team’s first win of last season.

The Buckeyes return 17 letterwinners from last season including five seniors, all forwards, in Kim Theut; Hokey Langan; Paige Semenza; Minttu Tuominen; and Tina Hollowell. The juniors have the biggest representation on this year’s team with seven, including forward Ally Tarr; defensemen Madison Marcotte, Becky Allis, Annie Svedin; and goaltenders Lisa Steffes and Chelsea Knapp. Six sophomores are back with a full year of experience under their belts, in forwards Taylor Kuehl, Kayla Sullivan, and Danielle Gagne; defensemen Kari and Sara Schmitt; and goaltender Stacy Danczak.

Ohio State lost five letterwinners from last season’s squad, but added six newcomers who hope to come in and make an impact early on. Those new Buckeyes include freshmen forwards Kendall Curtis, Julia McKinnon, and Melani Moylan; as well as freshmen defensemen Bryanna Neuwald and Cara Zubko. Junior defensemen Kara Gust also joins the team after spending two years as a defenseman for Quinnipiac University.

Although the Buckeyes lost a significant amount of their scoring output with the loss of the 2011-12 senior class (45.8 percent), they do return a wealth of skaters with ability to provide offense. Junior forward Ally Tarr had a breakout season in 2011-12 and is the leading returning scorer from a year ago with 27 points on 17 goals and 10 assists. Senior forward Hokey Langan tallied 21 points a season ago on eight goals and 13 assists. Langan currently sits tied for sixth all-time at Ohio State in goals scored with 46 and seventh in career points with 105. Three other Buckeyes return from last year who had double-digits points, including senior forward Paige Semenza (5-9-14), sophomore forward Taylor Keuhl (3-11-14), and sophomore forward Danielle Gagne (6-4-10).

Junior goaltender Lisa Steffes saw action in 28 of 36 games last season, finishing the year with a record of 12-12-1, a goals allowed average of 3.08 and a save percentage of .894. She earned WCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors last season on Nov. 2, 2011, after a solid weekend of play against Minnesota State. Chelsea Knapp, a redshirt-junior, will also be back for Ohio State and has plenty of prior experience in goal. Last season she saw ice time in 15 games and had a record of 4-4-3, a goals allowed average of 3.20 and a saves percentage of .885. In 2009-10, Knapp started all 35 games as a freshman, but was forced to sit out the 2010-11 season due to injury.

Lindenwood finished its inaugural season in 2011-12 with a record of 8-21-0. The Lions finished the season on a high note, winning seven of eight games including their last six. This season will mark the Lions first season as a member of the College Hockey America conference. The other members of the CHA include Mercyhurst, Robert Morris, Syracuse, Penn State and RIT.

This weekend marks the first-ever meeting between Ohio State and Lindenwood. Last season Lindenwood went 0-6 against WCHA opponents, including two games against Wisconsin and Minnesota State, and one game against Bemidji State and North Dakota. This season the Lions will face the WCHA in 14 games including the two to start the season with the Buckeyes.

The Ohio State women’s hockey team selected senior Hokey Langan as captain for the 2012-13 season. Seniors Paige Semenza, Tina Hollowell and Minttu Tuominen will serve as assistant captains. Semenza also served as an assistant captain in 2011-12.

Chris MacKenzie has joined the coaching staff as an assistant coach after spending the last three seasons as the head coach of the women’s program at Niagara University, where he himself played collegiately for the Purple Eagles (1996-2000). Prior to taking over the women’s program at his alma mater, MacKenzie served as an assistant coach at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell for their men’s squad.

Jeff Salajko, who served as a volunteer assistant coach for the men’s program from 2009-10, joins the staff as a volunteer coach and will work directly with the goalies. A native of Kitchener, Ontario, Salajko spent eight seasons in the professional ranks as a goaltender. Former Buckeye women’s hockey player Brittany Carlson will serve as an undergraduate volunteer assistant coach. She suited up for the Scarlet and Gray 142 times in her career and tallied 15 points on three goals and 12 assists. Carlson was three times named WCHA All-Academic and Academic-All Big Ten and was named a WCHA Scholar-Athlete twice.

Ohio State will kick off WCHA play next weekend with a trip to Duluth, Minn., to take on the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs at Amsoil Arena. Game time for Friday, Oct. 5, is set for an 8:07 p.m. ET start, and Saturday, Oct. 6, is scheduled for a 5:07 p.m. ET start.