Sixth-place Ohio State three points back from third-place St. Cloud State, seniors honored Saturday

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s hockey team concludes the regular season with a home series against St. Cloud State, Feb. 19-20. Games begin at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday at the OSU Ice Rink and admission, as always, is free.

Critical conference points are on the line with the sixth-place Buckeyes (15-13-4, 12-12-2-0 WCHA) just three points back from the Huskies (13-12-7, 10-11-5-4 WCHA), in a tie for third. The top 4 teams in the league standings get home ice for the first round of the WCHA Playoffs.

Both teams come into the final series with momentum as Ohio State upset then-No. 2/3 Minnesota Duluth, 6-3, last Saturday at the DECC, after a tough 5-4 overtime loss Friday. St. Cloud State tied 2-2 and won a shootout at league-leading Minnesota last Friday before a 6-3 upset of its own the following day at the National Hockey Center.

Buckeye Vision (
This season, the Buckeyes are streaming many of their home games live online at Log on to the official site of OSU athletics and click on the broadcast link on the women’s hockey page. The live-streaming video is available by purchasing Buckeye Vision.
Audio: Scarlet & Gray Sports Radio (
All links are on the Ohio State women’s hockey schedule page.

Prior to the Saturday game vs. St. Cloud State, the Buckeyes will honor its three seniors members – defenseman Rachel Davis and forwards Raelyn LaRocque and Michele Tonnessen.

Following the Saturday game will be a “Skate with the Buckeyes” session. Fans can bring their skates or rent them from the OSU Ice Rink.

As the regular season nears its end for the WCHA, there is still much up in the air with home ice for the first round of league playoffs on the line. After a split with Minnesota Duluth last weekend, the Buckeyes remain sixth in the conference standings with 26 points. They are three points back from St. Cloud State and Wisconsin in a tie for third, and Bemidji State is fifth with 28 points.

Minnesota leads the WCHA with 41 points, followed by Minnesota Duluth with 39. Rounding out the standings are Minnesota State (16) and North Dakota (14).

The Buckeyes spilt a series at No. 2/3 Minnesota Duluth, Feb. 12-13 at the DECC. Ohio State fell in overtime, 5-4, Friday before upsetting the Bulldogs, 6-3, Saturday.

Natalie Spooner scored with 4:47 left in the third period Friday to send the game into overtime, but UMD scored 3:53 into the extra session for the 5-4 victory. Laura McIntosh had a career game by assisting on all four Buckeye goals, while Spooner and Hokey Langan had a goal and assist apiece.

After coming close to an upset Friday, Ohio State made sure it took care of business against Minnesota Duluth by winning 6-3 Saturday. Four Buckeyes had multiple-point games, led by Langan (1g, 3a), Raelyn LaRocque (1g, 2a) and Spooner (2g, 1a). McIntosh also had a goal and an assist.

Providing solid support in net game two was freshman Chelsea Knapp, who bounced back from the overtime loss to make 32 saves for her 13th win of the season.

• Junior defenseman Sandy Nelson made the first goal of her career a memorable one last Friday when she opened the scoring 8:34 into the game.
• In the first game, the Buckeyes converted on 3-of-8 power play opportunities with their opening goal the only one scored at even-strength. It was the fourth time the Buckeyes have scored three power play goals in a game this season, but the first time since Oct. 30 vs. Minnesota State.
• Special teams were key for OSU in the series with a 5-of-12 mark on the power play and 15-of-16 mark on the penalty kill.
• Ohio State is 1-2-4 in overtime games this season. Both OT losses have been to Minnesota Duluth.
• The Buckeye victory snapped a 14-game winless streak against UMD dating back to Dec. 8, 2006, and also ended the Bulldogs’ NCAA-leading unbeaten streak at 12 games.

Hokey Langan and Natalie Spooner are among the 2010 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award nominees, USA Hockey announced Wednesday. The Buckeye forwards are two of the 45 student-athletes who have been nominated by NCAA Division I women’s hockey head coaches.The award is presented annually by The USA Hockey Foundation to the top player in women’s college hockey.

The coaches will select the top 10 finalists from among the group of 45, with the announcement taking place March 2. A 13-member selection committee will choose the three finalists (March 9), as well as the award recipient (March 20).

With six points at Minnesota Duluth last weekend, Hokey Langan set the Buckeye record for freshman points. The forward from Chatham, Ontario, has 46 points to surpass the mark of 44 set by Jeni Creary in 2001-02. Langan has 21 goals and 25 assists in 32 games.

For her accomplishment, Hokey Langan was named WCHA Rookie of the Week for the third time this season, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association announced Wednesday. It is the seventh weekly award for a Buckeye overall this year.

Ohio State’s offense is first overall in the WCHA and third in the NCAA with 3.28 goals per game. The Buckeyes also rank in the top 10 nationally in power play (6th, 19.9%) and penalty kill (8th, 88%).

Four players have 30 or more points: Hokey Langan (46), Laura McIntosh (38), Natalie Spooner (37) and Raelyn LaRocque (31). A total of 11 Buckeyes have notched 10 or more points. Langan leads the team with 21 goals and Spooner is second with 18 (4 gwg, 8 ppg). McIntosh leads in assists (29), followed by Langan (25) and LaRocque (23).

Rookie Chelsea Knapp has started 30 of 32 games in net with a 13-13-4 record, 3.01 GAA and .894 save percentage.

The Buckeyes are without freshman forward Minttu Tuominen, who left Jan. 29 to meet up with the Finnish National Team in Colorado. After a week of practice and a couple of exhibition games, the squad traveled to Vancouver for the Olympics.

Tuominen joins Emma Laaksonen (2001-04), a fellow Finn playing in her fourth Olympics. Former OSU defensemen Tessa Bonhomme (2004-08) is on Team Canada while Lisa Chesson (2005-08) is on the United States squad. Complete bios on all four Buckeyes in the Olympics are on page 6 of the notes PDF.

Natalie Spooner has a point in 10 of her last 11 games with 17 points, including nine assists, in that span. After only collecting nine assists in all of last season, the Scarborough, Ontario, native has 19 assists this year to rank fourth on the team.

Hokey Langan had one of the top games ever by a Buckeye Jan. 22, tying the Ohio State single-game records for goals (4) and points (5) in the Buckeyes’ 5-2 victory over Bemidji State. She is only the second OSU player to score four goals in a game and recorded just the fourth five-point game in team history.

The only other Buckeye to score four goals in a game was Natalie Spooner, Dec. 12, 2008 at Minnesota State. The last Buckeye to record a five-point performance in a game was Tessa Bonhomme (1g, 4a), Jan. 5, 2008 vs. North Dakota.

Senior co-captains Rachel Davis and Raelyn LaRocque are having career seasons in regards to offensive production. LaRocque has 31 points after beginning the year with a total of 27 in her previous three seasons. She also has more than doubled her career assists with 23.

Davis, who was primarily a defensive defenseman in her first three seasons, has season-bests in points (19) and assists (14). She entered the year with totals of 17 assists and 27 points.

Hokey Langan is in the midst of an outstanding freshman campaign. Among many notable achievements:
• She leads the Buckeyes in points (46) and goals (21) while second in assists (25).
• She leads all NCAA freshman with 1.44 points per game (good for eighth overall in scoring average in the NCAA).
• Her 46 points lead the WCHA overall. She is second in goals and tied for second in assists.
• In WCHA-only games, Langan is first with 41 points and 20 goals. She has a 15-point lead over any other league rookie.

Just 60 games into her career, Natalie Spooner is moving up the Ohio State records for career goals. She currently has 39 goals to tie for seventh. Spooner also has worked her way into Ohio State’s WCHA career records, in sixth place with 33 goals against conference opponents. She has 67 points to tie for 10th in points by forwards and tie for 15th overall.

With 77 points in her first 68 career games, Laura McIntosh entered the top 15 for Buckeye career points (11th) and top 10 for points by a forward (6th). She also broke into the top 10 in assists, tying for ninth with 57.

Freshman forward Paige Semenza has caught on to the college game with nine points on three goals and six assists in the last 14 games. The Pittston, Pa., native had just two points in her first 15 games.

St. Cloud State enters the series tied for third in the WCHA with Wisconsin at 29 points. The Huskies are 10-11-5 in the league, but have picked up four extra points with shootout wins. After struggling out the gates, SCSU is 9-3-7 in its last 19 games.

The Huskies are led in scoring by five seniors, including Holly Roberts (17-25-42), Caitlin Hogan (16-25-41), Felicia Nelson (27-12-39) and Meaghan Pezon (11-23-34). Junior goalie Ashley Nixon is 11-8-7 with a 2.60 GAA and .924 save percentage.

The all-time series between Ohio State and St. Cloud State could not be any closer, tied at 22-22-5. The meetings in Columbus between the Buckeyes and Huskies also are tied at 9-9-2. The last time the two met in the OSU Ice Rink, SCSU took both games by a goal (3-2 and 4-3), however in an earlier meeting this season the Buckeyes took three points (T 2-2, W 2-1) in St. Cloud.

Two season-firsts were recorded in a 6-0 win at Minnesota State (Jan. 15). Minttu Tuominen tallied a hat trick – the first scored by a Buckeye since Laura McIntosh had one Feb. 20, 2009 also against the Mavericks. Tuominen entered the game with three goals in her first 16 games played.

The shutout by Chelsea Knapp was the first blanking of a Buckeye opponent since a 3-0 win against Bemidji State, Oct. 24, 2008 in Columbus. It also was first time the Buckeyes have held an opponent scoreless on the road since a 3-0 win at St. Cloud State, March 1, 2008.
Hokey Langan was held without a point in the Minnesota series (Jan. 8-9), ending her point streak at 14 games (dating back to Oct. 16). She tied for the second-longest streak in Buckeye history with Jana Harrigan (2003-06), who also holds the team record for longest point streak at 17 games.

First round action of the WCHA playoffs begin next weekend with best-of-three series hosted by the conference’s top 4 teams, Feb. 26-28. Ohio State’s opponent as well as games and times will be determined after this weekend.