The Ohio State women’s hockey team claimed victory against No. 9 North Dakota on Saturday, after settling for a tie in Friday’s match.
The Buckeyes (8-8-2, 4-8-2) were outshot 44 to 18 by the Fighting Hawks (7-6-5, 5-5-4), but coach Nadine Muzerall saw her team remain calm and collected throughout the game.
“I didn’t want the girls to feel like they were panicking,” Muzerall said. “You know, this team isn’t used to winning, and so I want them to have that relentless pursuit of perfection, to feel confidence and poise when (they) have it.”
The Buckeyes were on the defensive from the second the puck dropped, with North Dakota outshooting OSU 10-0 in the first five minutes of play. Halfway through the period, OSU had only registered one shot on net.
The Scarlet and Gray, however, were determined to get on the board. With less than 30 seconds left to play, freshman forward Rebecca Freiburger found an opening around North Dakota’s defense and scored the first goal of the game and her third of the season.
The Fighting Hawks were quick to cut OSU’s lead in the second period, scoring their first goal of the game less than two minutes into the period.
The Buckeyes countered later in the period with a goal from freshman forward Samantha Bouley. Redshirt freshman defenseman Jincy Dunne and junior defenseman Liv Halvorson had the assists. OSU took a 2-1 lead into the final period.
“The first goal late in the first period really set the tone (and) it really built into the second period,” Bouley said. “We didn’t get down after they scored their tying goal, so that’s what led us to winning.”
It was a defensive battle through much of the final period. Each team had just one shot in the period through the first five minutes.
With one minute remaining, North Dakota removed its goaltender from the net for an extra skater, but OSU stood tall.
When the final buzzer sounded, the Buckeyes skated off the ice with the win, as well as some newfound confidence.
“It’s really a big boost for our team, especially beating a ranked opponent,” Bouley said. “It gives us confidence for when we play Wisconsin, who’s ranked number one right now.”
Muzerall said that she hopes the win will energize the team to play two competitive back-to-back games and dig up its untapped potential.
“I was told once that Ohio State is known to be a sleeping giant and I’m really thinking that is true,” she said. “I’m just looking for some consistency in the girls and that’s what I challenge them. I need two full games from them, so I think we’re going to take that going into Wisconsin, instead of only playing pieces of the game or one full game.”