Courtesy of the Ohio State athletic department
Coming off a four-game winning streak, the No. 8 Ohio State women’s ice hockey team (9-3-0) is set to play its first-ever regular season games inside the confines of the Schottenstein Center.
The Buckeyes, which typically play at OSU’s Ice Rink off of Woody Hayes Drive, will take on the Wisconsin Badgers (7-3-2 ) .
The change in venue, arguably, has left the team with plenty to look forward to this weekend.
“I think we’re all definitely really excited. It’s going to be a different atmosphere,” said senior forward Tina Hollowell. “We react well to any situation, doesn’t matter if there’s a bunch of people or only a couple people there.”
With a much larger stage and arena surrounding it, the Buckeyes might need to do their best to maintain focus and, as coach Nate Handrahan said, realize it’s just another series.
“The reality is that it’s an ice surface, and both teams have to just play on it,” Handrahan said.
A change in location, however, doesn’t mean a change in the team’s attitude.
“I think we kind of create our own atmosphere and excitement on the bench,” said sophomore forward Taylor Kuehl. “And if we do that, it doesn’t really matter where we play.”
With only one loss at home this year (a 2-0 setback against North Dakota on Oct. 13), the team hopes to continue its winning streak into this weekend and take down the Badgers.
“Our team gets excited to play wherever we are; we could be on the road or even here on the ice rink,” Handrahan said. “I think this will be a really good test for us.”
Similarly ,Kuehl said, regardless of the venue, the camaraderie between OSU’s players might be enough to carry them past any distractions and the Badgers.
“I think the chemistry is great right now for the team,” Kuehl said. “We’re just excited to be here.”
Working on the team’s chemistry and continuing to pull in wins is how Handrahan said he wants to power through the rest of the season.
“Ultimately, our goals as a program are to be in the NCAA tournament, and it’s not many times you get to play on your own campus,” Handrahan said. “Overall, we’re just preparing for today and tomorrow and a great Wisconsin team.”
The Buckeyes are set to take on the Badgers at 2:07 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Schottenstein Center.