Rookie Natalie Spooner scores twice to reach 20-goal mark, finishes with three-point game
COLUMBUS, Ohio Freshman forward Natalie Spooner scored twice and added an assist for a three-point game as the Ohio State women’s hockey team completed a home sweep of North Dakota with a 4-2 victory Saturday at the OSU Ice Rink. Fellow rookie Kim Theut also had a multiple-point game with two assists.

The sweep was the first home sweep for the Buckeyes since defeating Bemidji State twice earlier this season (Oct. 24-25). OSU is now 8-19-3 overall with a 6-16-2-2 record in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. The Fighting Sioux move to .500 on the season at 13-13-4 and 9-12-3-0 in the league.

With her two goals, Spooner became just the fifth Buckeye to score 20 goals in a season. The native of Scarborough, Ontario, increased her point total to 29 with her 10th multiple-point game on the year.

Spooner and Theut combined to open the scoring for the Buckeyes at 18:39 of the first period for a 1-0 lead at the first intermission. The pair took advantage of a 2-on-2 situation with Theut passing the puck from along the left boards to Spooner in the middle who then jammed it in from the front of the net. Sophomore defenseman Teal Bishop tallied the second assist.

Ohio State built its lead to 2-0 in the second on Spooner’s second goal at 8:54. Sophomore defenseman Shannon Reilly fed the puck up to Spooner. She jumped in front of three Sioux and charged down the slot scoring again from the front of the net.

In the third period, the Buckeyes scored consecutive goals 11 seconds apart to pull away. Freshman forward Melissa Feste snuck in her own rebound just between the UND goalie’s left skate and the right post of the goal at 16:06. She was assisted by Theut and Spooner.

Off the following faceoff, OSU set up its fourth goal with senior defenseman Megan Hostasek passing the puck in to classmate Hayley Klassen, where she scored from the right side.

With time winding down and the Buckeyes in and out of the penalty box, North Dakota pulled its goalie to increase its two-man advantage to 6-on-3 and scored twice. Casie Henson put the Sioux on the board at 16:06 with assists by Randi Motsko and Alyssa Wiebe. Wiebe and Kelly Lewis then set up Motsko at 16:53 to move the score to 4-2

Despite North Dakota skating with an extra attacker for most of the last three minutes, the Ohio State defense clamped down and held on to complete the sweep.

Senior goaltender Liana Bonanno finished with 21 saves to improve to 7-14-2. Stephanie Ney (6-6-1) had 35 saves for North Dakota.

Overall, Ohio State outshot the Fighting Sioux 39-23. The Buckeyes were 0-of-6 on the power play and 7-of-9 on the penalty kill.

Ohio State next travels to No. 3/4 Minnesota Duluth to face the Bulldogs, Feb. 13-14 at the DECC in Duluth, Minn.