Ohio State breaks from WCHA play for two nonconference games against No. 5/6 Saints
After taking a break last weekend, the Ohio State women’s hockey team returns to the ice with a nonconference series at No. 5/6 St. Lawrence, Nov. 28-29 in Canton, N.Y. The Buckeyes will celebrate Thanksgiving en route to St. Lawrence, where the teams face each other for the first time since January 2003. Games begin at 4 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday at Appleton Arena.
    Ohio State, 5-9-0 overall and 3-9-0 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, played in 14-consecutive games before taking off last weekend. The Saints, 8-2-2 overall and 5-1-0 in the ECAC, are coming off a loss at Princeton and win at Quinnipiac last weekend.

    Live scoring the Ohio State-St. Lawrence series will be available on the Saints’ official athletics Web site: Links to the games are available on the Ohio State women’s hockey schedule page on
    Live video of the games also will be available through B2 Networks with links on both the St. Lawrence and Ohio State Web sites.

    The Buckeyes (5-9-0, 3-9-0 WCHA) are seventh in the conference standings, two points behind Minnesota State, whom they face in two weeks. Ohio State has swept or been swept in six of seven series this season.
    Leading the Buckeyes is freshman forward Laura McIntosh with a team-high 17 points and 13 assists. Fellow rookie forward Natalie Spooner is right behind her with 12 points and a Buckeye-best nine goals.
    Patrolling the Ohio State net for the majority the season has been senior goaltender Liana Bonanno. The assistant captain is 5-8-0 with a .900 save percentage and 3.59 goals-against average. Sophomore netminder Deidre Facklis has started two games with four appearances.

     The Buckeyes played in 15-consecutive games, beginning with an exhibition game Sept. 26, before breaking last weekend. After playing the series at St. Lawrence, Ohio State will again take a weekend off in preparation for finals. The Buckeyes conclude the first half of their season with a WCHA series at Minnesota State, Dec. 12-13, and an exhibition game vs. the U.S. National Team, Dec. 14 in Blaine, Minn.

    The series at St. Lawrence will be the first meeting between the Saints and Ohio State since January 2003. It also will be the first two-game series between the Buckeyes and Saints. The teams have played four single-game meetings (two in Columbus and two in Canton) with SLU leading the series, 3-1-0. The OSU win was a 3-2 victory in Columbus, Jan. 19, 2002.

     Ohio State is facing its fifth nationally-ranked opponent of the season this weekend at St. Lawrence. The Saints are ranked No. 5 in the and No. 6 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls released Monday and Tuesday, respectively. In the first half of their season, the Buckeyes also have faced No. 2 Minnesota and Wisconsin, No. 8/9 Minnesota Duluth and No. 9 Providence (rankings as of date of games). North Dakota entered the polls at No. 10 following its series against Ohio State.

    Ohio State returned to Columbus for its lone home series in a five-series stretch but was unable to take advantage of home ice, falling by scores of 3-0 and 8-3 to then-No. 8/9 Minnesota Duluth, Nov. 14-15 at the OSU Ice Rink.
    Freshman forward Natalie Spooner returned to the Buckeyes after two weekends away with Team Canada at the Four Nations Cup. The Scarborough, Ontario, native picked up right where she left off with two goals in the Saturday game. Spooner’s second goal was scored while on the penalty kill for Ohio State’s first shorthanded goal of the season.

 Of Ohio State’s seven points in game two, five of them were collected by freshmen. Along with Natalie Spooner’s two goals, Laura McIntosh, Melissa Feste and Kelly Wild each had assists.
 Senior goaltender Liana Bonanno posted her second-consecutive game with 39 saves Friday. The assistant captain from Mount Sinai, N.Y., followed with 32 saves while playing the first 50:21 Saturday.
 Bonanno has made 30 or more saves in seven of 12 starts this season. She has stopped a season-high 39 shots three times.

    With three points against St. Cloud State (Nov. 8-9), senior forward Hayley Klassen moved into 11th in Buckeye career scoring with 72 points. The co-captain from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, has 36 career goals to rank sixth all-time. She has three three-point performances this season and ranks third on the team in scoring with nine points (5g, 4a) even after missing two series with an injury.

    In her third season, junior forward Raelyn LaRocque has already tied her career high in points just 14 games into the schedule. With her two assists at St. Cloud State (Nov. 8-9), the native from The Pas, Manitoba, upped her point total to seven on three goals and four assists. LaRocque totaled 13 points (5g, 8a) in 71 games played her first two seasons.

    Freshman Laura McIntosh ended her point streak at six games Nov. 9 in St. Cloud. She totaled 13 points during that span and has five multiple-point games overall this season. The forward from Waterloo, Ontario, leads the Buckeyes in assists (13) and points (17) and is tied for sixth in the NCAA with 0.93 assists per game.

     Laura McIntosh was named WCHA Co-Rookie of the Week, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association announced Nov. 5. She shared the award with Alyssa Wiere, a forward from North Dakota.
    McIntosh played a part in five of six Buckeye goals in a road series at North Dakota, Nov. 1-2. The rookie forward from Waterloo, Ontario, had an assist on the second goal in game one. She followed by setting up or scoring all four OSU goals in the second game, alternating with assist, goal, assist and goal. Her line totaled 10 points that contest.

    Laura McIntosh’s rookie of the week award is the second-consecutive for a Buckeye. Natalie Spooner earned the award Oct. 29. 
    Spooner factored into four of Ohio State’s five goals in a sweep of Bemidji State at the OSU Ice Rink (Oct. 24-25). The freshman from Scarborough, Ontario, scored twice in a 3-0 shutout of the Beavers in game one. In the second game, Spooner set up the first goal before scoring the gamewinner for the 2-1 victory.

    The Ohio State freshman class continues to be the backboard of the team’s offense, accounting for 50 percent of its points. All six rookie skaters have collected at least two points this season, totaling 40 points on 15 goals and 25 assists. Laura McIntosh leads the team in points (17) and assists (13), followed by Natalie Spooner with 12 points, including a team-high nine goals. Defenseman Kelly Wild has dished out four assists.
    The other three classes have combined for 40 points. The seniors are second with 17 points, followed by the juniors with 12 and sophomores with 11.

    Ohio State took a break from the road against Minnesota Duluth (Nov. 14-15) after back-to-back series at North Dakota and St. Cloud State. The Buckeyes are in the middle of a stretch where they play four of five series on the road to close out the first half of the season. OSU hit the road once again this weekend heading to St. Lawrence and wraps up the first half with a series at Minnesota State (Dec. 12-13) and exhibition game against the U.S. Select Team in Blaine, Minn.

    The Ohio State women’s hockey program is celebrating its 10th year throughout the 2008-09 season. Under the direction of head coach Jackie Barto for the duration of the program, the Buckeyes have developed into a nationally-ranked team while battling in the top women’s hockey league, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. The Buckeyes have an overall record of 144-169-31 (93-126-25 WCHA) during their nine-plus seasons and have never finished below fifth in the conference standings.

    Senior goaltender Liana Bonanno earned two Defensive Player of the Week awards to open the 2008-09 season. She received the honors from U.S. College Hockey Online, Oct. 6, and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, Oct. 8.
    Bonanno backstopped Ohio State to an upset sweep at then-No. 9 Providence, Oct. 3-4 in Providence, R.I. The assistant captain made a total of 70 saves with just three goals allowed to the Friars for a .959 save percentage. She made 39 saves, just three shy of her career high, in a season-opening 2-1 victory. She then made 31 saves in the second game as the Buckeyes rallied for a 3-2 win to complete the sweep. A native of Mount Sinai, N.Y., Bonanno has now made 30 or more saves in a game 19 times in her career.

    The Buckeyes hosted Wilfrid Laurier in an exhibition game at the OSU Ice Rink, Sept. 26, in which they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Golden Hawks. WLU goalie Liz Knox, the Canadian Under-22 netminder, stopped 41 shots.
    The loss might be a good sign for the upcoming season, though. The Buckeyes fell to Wilfrid Laurier, 2-1, in an exhibition game prior to 2006-07 and then went on to set the team record for wins in a season with a 20-13-4 mark.

    Two former Buckeyes Lisa Chesson and Erin Keys, have been chosen to participate in a residency program hosted by the U.S. Women’s National Team, USA Hockey announced last May. The two Buckeyes recently completed their college careers and are part of the 18 post-NCAA players that have been selected to the training program that will take place from September 2008 to April 2009 in Blaine, Minn.
    Chesson and Keys will get the opportunity to face their former teammates during the 2008-09 season, as the Buckeyes play the U.S. Select Team in an exhibition game in Minnesota, Dec. 14.

    The Buckeyes wrap up the first half of their season Dec. 12-13 with a WCHA series at Minnesota State. After breaking next weekend, Ohio State plays the Mavericks in Mankato, Minn., before heading up to Blaine for an exhibition game against the U.S. Select Team, Dec. 14. The team will then be off until Jan. 2-3 with a nonconference series vs. Boston University.