The Ohio State women’s hockey team split a two-game series with No. 4 Minnesota (17-5-3, 12-4-3) in Minneapolis this weekend, losing the first game 2-1 and tying the second 1-1, ending in a 2-1 shootout victory. Saturday’s game marked the first time OSU has earned points against the Golden Gophers since Jan. 11, 2015. The Buckeyes moved to 11-12-3 overall and 5-12-3 in conference.
On Friday night, Ohio State had a 1-0 lead through the first two periods. After a scoreless first period, junior forward Julianna Iafallo scored the first goal of the game off an assist from sophomore forward Maddy Field to put Ohio State up 1-0 in the second. Minnesota was kept out of the net for the remainder of the second period thanks to 18 saves from Buckeye goalie Kassidy Sauve.
The Scarlet and Gray got off on the wrong foot in the third period with a penalty to put Minnesota on the power play. At 10:48 on the game clock, the Gophers scored their first goal of the game to tie things up 1-1. Shortly after, Minnesota scored again at 16:23 to take the 2-1 lead. The Gophers held off the Buckeyes for the remaining minutes and won 2-1. Sauve had 31 saves against Minnesota but the OSU offense had only eight shots on goal the entire game.
On Saturday, the game started out in a similar fashion with another scoreless first period. At 9:38 in the second, Minnesota scored the first goal of the game to take a 1-0 lead. The two teams had a combined seven penalties in the first two periods. At 1:27 in the third period, OSU senior forward Katie Matheny scored off an assist from Field to tie the game 1-1. Sauve defended the Minnesota attack perfectly for the rest of the period and the two teams went into overtime at Ridder Arena. The Buckeye goaltender had 26 saves through regulation.
Through five minutes of overtime, the teams remained scoreless and went to a shootout. Minnesota’s Lee Stecklein shot first and scored for the Gophers, but junior defenseman Dani Sadek responded with a goal of her own. The teams went through seven shooters until Iafallo got one past the Gopher goalie to secure the Buckeye win, 2-1. Due to NCAA rules, all shootout wins are recorded as ties in the record book.
Minnesota, the best power play team in the NCAA, had seven power play opportunities this weekend, all of which were killed by the Buckeyes. OSU went 0-3-1 against the top-ranked Golden Gophers this season which is an improvement from last year’s 0-4-0.
Next up, the Scarlet and Gray will travel to Duluth, Minnesota, for a two-game series against conference opponent No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth.