Rookie goalie Lisa Steffes turns away 31 shots as Buckeyes snap four-game winless streak
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s hockey team had great performances on both ends of the ice Friday in a 4-2 upset of third-ranked Minnesota Duluth at the DECC in Duluth, Minn. After missing the last two series, junior forward Natalie Spooner returned to the Buckeyes from the gold medal-winning Canadian National Team at Four Nations Cup and picked up right where she left off with her third-consecutive two-goal game.
Rookie goaltender Lisa Steffes (7-5-1) turned in another solid outing with 31 saves, including all 13 shots faced in the third period, against the defending NCAA champs.
The victory snaps a four-game winless streak for the Buckeyes as they improve to 7-5-1 overall and 3-5-1-1 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Minnesota Duluth is 8-3-0 and 6-3-0 in the conference.
The teams exchanged goals in the opening period for a 1-1 tie at the first intermission. Minnesota Duluth scored just 13 seconds after the puck dropped on a goal by Jocelyn Larocque with assists from Brienna Gillanders and Elin Holmlov. Spooner then scored her first goal at 9:43, set up by sophomore Tina Hollowell and junior defenseman Kelly Wild even things up.
Gillanders then tallied a goal of her own 3:15 into the second period, but once again Spooner responded by scoring on a breakaway off a long pass by Steffes just over a minute later to once again tie the game.
Ohio State took its first lead at 18:26 for a 3-2 score at the second intermission. Junior Laura McIntosh set up sophomore Paige Semenza for her second goal of the season. The assist was McIntosh’s 20th of the year, while sophomore Hokey Langan picked up the second helper – her 13th overall.
After skating through most of the third period with the one-goal lead, the Buckeyes took advantage of a late power play to seal the win. UMD pulled goal Jennifer Harss for an extra skater, but Langan fired the puck into the empty net with 1:14 left in the game for the 4-2 final. Minttu Tuominen picked up the assist on the goal.
Overall, Ohio State continued its strong penalty kill with its fifth-consecutive perfect at with a 5-of-5 mark. The Buckeyes were 1-of-7 on the power play.
UMD had a 33-27 lead in shots and Bulldogs goalie Harss registered her first loss of the season in net (3-1-0) with 23 saves.
The Buckeyes and Bulldogs conclude their series with a 7 p.m. (CT) game Saturday at the DECC.