Two first period goals in a thirty-second span from freshman forwards Tatum Skaggs and Liz Schepers gave the No. 7 Ohio State women’s hockey team (17-5-4, 10-2-4 WCHA) the early momentum they needed to run away to a 5-1 defeat of No. 5 Minnesota (17-8-2, 10-6-2 WCHA) Saturday at the OSU Ice Rink.
The win marked the first series sweep of Minnesota in Ohio State history.
Skaggs started the scoring 7:25 into the first period with her team-leading 16th goal of the season after forcing a Golden Gophers defensive zone turnover and converting on a wrist shot from the right circle.
On the following shift, Schepers extended the Buckeye lead with her seventh goal of the season. Schepers was able to find the puck after a shot from senior forward Julianna Iafallo created a scramble in front of the net.
The Buckeyes second-period flurry began with Maddy Field’s 11th goal of the season 9:21 into the period. The Buckeyes again took advantage of a Minnesota turnover, as senior forward Lauren Spring stole the puck in the Ohio State offensive zone and contributed the assist.
“The way we play is very aggressive,” Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said, “the [more] time and space you take away from a player… that annoys them. And so you do try to pressure.”
Sophomore forward Rebecca Freiburger added to the Buckeye lead 26 seconds later with her fifth goal of the season. Assists were credited to Spring and junior forward Grace Zarzecki. The goal ended Minnesota freshman goaltender Alex Gulstene’s outing after she was pulled for senior goaltender Sidney Peters.
With just under 10 minutes left in the game, Minnesota senior forward Sydney Baldwin scored her seventh goal of the season, spoiling Ohio State junior goaltender Kassidy Sauve’s shutout bid.
Field provided an insurance goal for Ohio State with just 2:10 remaining in the third period, her second of the game and 12th of the season. Schepers and sophomore defenseman Jincy Dunne tallied assists on the play.
The dominant win against the highly ranked Golden Gophers extended the Buckeyes’ win streak to five games.
“I hope that people start to respect the Buckeyes,” said Muzerall, “I feel that we’re getting some looks but people still aren’t respecting the way this team is really playing… I think we proved our reputation tonight.”
Ohio State will look to continue its winning streak in a road series against Minnesota Duluth which begins Friday at 4:07 p.m. in AMSOIL Arena.