Buckeyes battle Bulldogs at 7 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday at the OSU Ice Rink
COLUMBUS, Ohio After back-to-back road series, the Ohio State women’s hockey team returns to Columbus for the final home series of 2008 to host defending NCAA champion Minnesota Duluth in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association series, Nov. 14-15.  Games begin at 7 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Saturday at the OSU Ice Rink and admission is free.
    Ohio State and UMD are tied for fifth in the conference with six points apiece. The Buckeyes, 5-7-0 overall and 3-7-0 in the WCHA, are coming off a split at St. Cloud State. The Bulldogs, 4-4-2 overall and 2-4-2 in the league, were off last weekend.

    Live scoring the Ohio State-Minnesota Duluth series will be available on the Buckeyes’ official athletics Web site: Links to the games are available on the women’s hockey schedule page.

    Ohio State had its first series split of the 2008-09 season at St. Cloud State last weekend, winning 3-2 Saturday before  falling 5-2 Sunday. The Buckeyes (5-7-0, 3-7-0 WCHA) are in a three-way tie for fifth in the conference with Minnesota Duluth and SCSU.
    Leading the Buckeyes is freshman forward Laura McIntosh with a team-high 16 points and 12 assists. Fellow rookie forward Natalie Spooner is right behind her with 10 points and a Buckeye-best seven goals.
    Patrolling the Ohio State net for the majority the season has been senior goaltender Liana Bonanno. The assistant captain is 5-6-0 with a .905 save percentage and 3.26 goals-against average.

    Minnesota Duluth leads the all-time series with Ohio State with a 34-3-4 record. The Buckeyes dropped all four games to the Bulldogs last season as UMD won the regular-season WCHA title. Ohio State last defeated the Bulldogs in a 3-0 shutout, Dec. 8, 2006 in Duluth.

    Ohio State split a series at St. Cloud State, Nov. 8-9. The Buckeyes won the first game by a score of 3-2 Saturday before falling to the Huskies 5-2 Sunday. In game one, senior Hayley Klassen scored twice and sophomore Shannon Reilly added the gamewinner in the third period. Freshman Laura McIntosh set up all three OSU goals and Klassen assisted on the third goal for a three-point game.
    In game two, Reilly and junior Raelyn LaRocque set up both Buckeye goals scored by Christina Mancuso and Rachel Davis. The goal was Mancuso’s first lamplighter of the season.

 It was the first split for Ohio State six series into the 2008-09 season.
 Rookies Melissa Feste and Brittany Carlson also had assists in the first game. It was the first helper as a Buckeye for Feste and the second assist of the season for Carlson.
 Senior goaltender Liana Bonanno tied her season-high with 39 saves in the second game. She totaled 67 saves in the series with six goals allowed.
 The Buckeye penalty kill was a perfect 9-of-9 against the Huskies.

    With three points against St. Cloud State last weekend, 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 12 games into the schedule. With her two assists last weekend at St. Cloud State, 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 last Sunday 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 (12) and points (16) and is tied for seventh in the NCAA with 1.00 assists per game.

    With three more assists lat weekend at St. Cloud State, freshman forward Laura McIntosh increased her season total to 12 and take the overall assists lead in the WCHA. The Waterloo, Ontario, native is second among freshmen and third overall in points with 16.
    Despite missing four games while competing with Team Canada, fellow rookie forward Natalie Spooner is tied for fourth in goals with seven. Her 10 points tie for sixth in freshman scoring and are tied for 21st overall. Senior forward Hayley Klassen has also moved into a tie for 11th in goals with five after scoring twice against SCSU last weekend.

    Ohio State was without one of its top scorers, freshman forward Natalie Spooner, for the last two series while she was with Team Canada. On Oct. 29, Spooner met up with the Canadian National Team in Quebec to prepare for the 2008 Four Nations Cup. The international tournament between the U.S., Canada, Finland and Sweden was held Nov. 4-9 in Lake Placid, N.Y. Canada fell to the U.S. in a shootout in the championship game to win silver.
    Spooner, a native of Scarborough, Ontario, was the youngest member of the team turning 18 just weeks ago. This was the third Team Canada squad she has been named to in 2008. She began the season as a member of the silver medal-winning U-18 team in January, was selected to the U-22 team in August and was chosen for the national team in September.

    Along with freshman forward Natalie Spooner, former Buckeye defenseman Tessa Bonhomme also competed with the Canadian National Women’s Team at the 2008 Four Nations Cup.
    Bonhomme, of Sudbury, Ontario, played in her third Four Nations Cup. She helped Team Canada win gold in 2005 and ’06. She was a member of the gold-medal winning Canadian National Women’s Team at the 2007 IIHF World Women’s Championships and participated in the Olympic Centralization Program in 2005-06. She is currently playing with the Calgary Oval X-treme of the Western Women’s Hockey League.

     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 split last weekend at St. Cloud State was the first for Ohio State in six series this season. In the five previous series, the Buckeyes either swept their opponents or had been swept. Ohio State took both games on the road at Providence (Oct. 3-4) and at home against Bemidji State (Oct. 24-25). OSU has dropped series to WCHA foes Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota.

    The Ohio State freshman class continues to be the backboard of the team’s offense, accounting for 47 percent of its points. All six rookie skaters have collected at least two points this season, totaling 35 points on 13 goals and 22 assists. Laura McIntosh leads the team in points (16) and assists (12), followed by Natalie Spooner with 10 points, including a team-high seven goals. Defenseman Kelly Wild has dished out three assists.
    The other three classes have combined for 38 points. The seniors are second with 16 points, followed by the juniors with 12 and sophomores with 10.

    Ohio State breaks from the road this weekend after back-to-back road 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 hits the road once again heading to St. Lawrence over Thanksgiving and wraps up the first half with a series at Minnesota State (Dec. 12-13) and exhibition game against the U.S. Women’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 144-167-31 (93-124-25 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.

    The Ohio State women’s hockey team selected senior forwards Morgan Marziali and Hayley Klassen as captains and senior goaltender Liana Bonanno as assistant captain for the 2008-09 season, head coach Jackie Barto announced Sept. 26. It is the first captain honor for all three.

    The Western Collegiate Hockey Association became the first NCAA Division I women’s conference to officially re-introduce the shootout to college hockey, after the option was installed by the rules committee announced by associate commissioner Sara R. Martin Aug. 28. The Central Collegiate Hockey Association, of which the Ohio State men’s hockey team is a member, also announced plans to use the shootout in its men’s games.
    A National Hockey League-style three-player shootout will be used to determine a winner for all WCHA regular season games still tied after regulation and the standard five-minute (5:00) overtime.

    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 will take a week off before heading to St. Lawrence for a nonconference series over the Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 28-29. The puck drops at 4 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday in Canton, N.Y. It is the first meeting between the two teams since January 2003.