Jan. 29, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s hockey team hits the road this weekend for a WCHA battle with St. Cloud State at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, Minn., Jan. 31-Feb. 1. Friday night is set for an 8:07 p.m. ET puck drop while Saturday’s contest is set for 4:07 p.m. ET.
Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 – 8:07 p.m. ET
Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 – 4:07 p.m. ET
Ohio State has an overall record of 9-12-5, 4-11-5 in the WCHA.
Last Time Out: Minnesota State
Ohio State came away with six points in the league standings after sweeping Minnesota State at the OSU Ice Rink this past weekend. The Buckeyes won 3-2 in overtime Friday night and 4-2 Saturday afternoon. Freshman Claudia Kepler and senior Ally Tarr got the scoring started for OSU Friday with power play goals in the second and third periods, respectively. The Mavericks would score twice in the third to send the game to overtime and that’s when sophomore Julia McKinnon netted the game-winner for OSU.
Kepler would again lead the scoring off on Saturday and following a MSU goal, sophomore Kendall Curtis and junior Danielle Gagne scored back-to-back goals for the Buckeyes. A short-handed goal for MSU brought them within one score but Kepler returned the favor with a short-hander of her own in the third. Senior goaltender Lisa Steffes racked up 46 saves in the two victories for the Buckeyes. The OSU penalty kill unit held Minnesota State scoreless on all six of its power play opportunities.
After picking up six points in the WCHA standings with two wins over Minnesota State the Buckeyes sit sixth with 19 points. OSU is seven points ahead of both MSU and this week’s opponent St. Cloud State who each have 12. Bemidji State is currently in fifth place with 21 points. OSU travels to Bemidji Feb. 14-15. The top four teams in the final league standings will host WCHA First Round Playoff series, with winners of those best-of-three series heading to Bemidji State’s Sanford Center for the WCHA Final Face-Off. Minnesota (55 points), Wisconsin (54), North Dakota (44) and Minnesota Duluth (35) currently sit 1-4 in the standings, respectively.
News and Notes
Kepler Named WCHA Rookie of the Week
Freshman forward Claudia Kepler was named WCHA Rookie of the Week the league announced Jan. 29. Kepler tallied five points on three goals and two assists in the sweep of Minnesota State this past weekend at the OSU Ice Rink. Kepler has 14 points this season on a team-leading 10 goals and four assists. Saturday marked the second multi-goal performance for Kepler this season. It is the second time garnering Rookie of the Week honors for the Verona, Wis. native.
Tarr Moving On Up
Senior forward Ally Tarr is making her way up the ranks on multiple program scoring lists. She currently sits 12th all-time at OSU in career points with 92 and is within striking range of at least four former Buckeyes including Hayley Klassen (95), Shana Frost (98), Emma Laaksonen (99) and Amber Bowman (102). Former Buckeye Laura McIntosh is number one all-time with 170 career points. Tarr’s 43 career goals place her ninth at OSU and put her within five goals of Klassen (44), Frost (46) and McIntosh (47). Former OSU All-American Natalie Spooner has the most goals scored in Buckeye history as she finished with 100 in her career. Tarr is also second all-time at OSU in game-winning goals with 11. Only Spooner, who had 16 game-winners in her career, has more.
Ohio State finishes its regular season non-conference slate with a 5-1-0 record; its only blemish coming in a 2-1 defeat to No. 10 Robert Morris Nov. 26. OSU started the season with a road win over then-nationally ranked Mercyhurst Oct. 5 and earned a sweep on the road at New Hampshire Nov. 30-Dec. 1. The Buckeyes finished off their out-of-conference schedule with a sweep of Penn State at the OSU Ice Rink. The Buckeyes outscored their non-conference opponents 22-7 on the season.
About St. Cloud State
The Huskies, under the direction of seventh-year head coach Jeff Giesen, come in with an overall record of 4-21-3, 3-17-2 in WCHA play. SCSU is led offensively by seniors Molli Mott (10-8-18) and Julia Gilbert (7-10-17), as well as junior Abby Ness (6-6-12). Junior Julie Friend and sophomore Katie Fitzgerald have split time between the pipes, with Friend seeing around 62.5 percent of the playing time. Friend has a goals-against average of 2.55 and a save percentage of .933, while Fitzgerald has recorded a 2.98 GAA and a .917 save percentage.
Buckeyes vs. Huskies
Ohio State holds the edge in the all-time series with St. Cloud State with a record of 33-23-7. OSU took four out of six points in the series with the Huskies earlier this season in Columbus, Oct. 11-12. The teams skated to a 2-2 tie in the first game and SCSU took the extra point with a shootout win. The Buckeyes responded with a 4-2 victory the following day. Kuehl, Sara Schmitt, Gagne, Tarr, Curtis and Kari Schmitt all lit the lamp for OSU in the series and redshirt senior goaltender Chelsea Knapp stopped 52 of 56 shots faced in the series.
The Buckeyes went 3-0-1 against the Huskies last season, winning a pair of November games in St. Cloud, 3-2 and 4-2, and tying and winning at the OSU Ice Rink in January, 1-1 and 3-1. OSU won the shootout in the tie, 1-0. Tarr, Kuehl and Gagne each tallied two goals apiece against St. Cloud State last season.
Three Former Buckeyes are Sochi Bound
Three alumni of the OSU women’s hockey program will be heading to Sochi this February to represent their respective nations at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Natalie Spooner (2009-12) will skate for Canada while Emma Terho (Laaksonen; 2001-04) and Minttu Tuominen (2010-13) will represent Finland. It will mark the first Olympic appearance for Spooner, second for Tuominen and an unprecedented fifth appearance for Terho.
Buckeyes Incoming Recruit Class Includes Seven
Nate Handrahan, head coach of the Ohio State women’s hockey team, has announced the signing of six new student-athletes to National Letters of Intent who are expected to join the program in Fall 2014. The new class of signees includes forwards Allison Gasuik, Julianna Iafallo and Lauren Spring, defensemen Jessica Dunne and Danielle Sadek, and goaltender Kassidy Sauve. Goaltender Alexandria LaMere will also be joining the Buckeyes in the Fall.
Ohio State plays host to No. 2 Wisconsin Friday and Saturday, Feb. 7-8, at the OSU Ice Rink. Friday is set for a 7:07 p.m. start while Saturday is scheduled for 4:07 p.m.