The Ohio State women’s hockey team “cant take a day off,” even during a week with no game.
“I wouldn’t consider it relaxed,” coach Nate Handrahan said about the Buckeyes past week without a game. “Rest? Maybe a little bit, but I think when you’re talking about being a competitive Division I athlete you want to play a game.”
Handrahan said the Buckeyes (4-2-0, 2-2-0) got better this week because they had more time to focus on specific areas of play to prepare for St. Cloud State University (2-3-1, 1-0-1).
“Specialty situations that come up throughout a game, like six-on-five situations, four-on-four, three-on-three,” Handrahan said. “Just things to make sure everyone is kind of in the know and knows what our plans are.”
Junior forward Julia McKinnon described the week off as “a battle.”
“I don’t think we relaxed, I think in the WCHA you cant have a week off, we kept going everyday and I think we just wanted to get better. We can’t take a day off,” she said.
Handrahan said his team is ready to step on the ice against SCSU and be “the most competitive and hardest working team” out there.
“This is a new year for them. They have a new coaching staff and a new system,” Handrahan said. “I kind of expect them to play a pretty stingy style of defense but at the same time play pretty energetic offensively.”
SCSU introduced Eric Rud as the new coach of the women’s hockey during a press conference in late May.
He was a former assistant coach of the men’s hockey team at SCSU from 2005-10. More recently, he served as an assistant men’s hockey coach at Colorado College.
Rud is now the fourth head coach in the history of SCSU’s women’s hockey program. The Huskies first season of women’s hockey was 1998-99. It wasn’t until the start of the 1999 season that SCSU joined the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Both the Buckeyes and the Huskies had defensive players recognized by the WCHA last week.
OSU freshman goalie Kassidy Sauve, was named WCHA rookie of the week, while SCSU senior defenseman Audrey Hanmer, was named WCHA defensive player of the week.
“The strength of (SCSU’s) team, they have some solid defenseman and two really great goaltenders,” Handrahan said. “But until they figure out a different way to decide the game someone has to score.”
Handrahan also spoke highly of his own stopper.
“Kassidy has done some nice things early on this season,” he said.
“It’s definitely an honor,” Sauve said about being named WCHA rookie of the week. “But I couldn’t have done it without my team, so I give the credit to them.”
Sauve is tied for third in the nation with two shutouts. In her young career as a Buckeye, she has earned a save percentage of .925 and a goals against average of 2.10.
Sauve said she is prepared for whatever SCSU offense is going to throw at her.
“They are going to drive the net and take a lot of shots I just have to stand my ground,” she said.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to take on the Huskies in a two-game series at the OSU Ice Rink. The first game is set for Friday at 6:07 p.m. and the second for Saturday at 1:07 p.m.