Senior weekend for the No. 6 Ohio State women’s hockey ended with a loss. The Buckeyes fell 2-1 in their last regular-season game Saturday against Bemidji State.
The two goals for the Beavers were scored by senior defender Alexis Joyce, who lit the lamp in the second period, and sophomore forward Jacqueline Kaasa, who beat Ohio State redshirt junior goaltender Kassidy Sauve in the third. Both goals went under review after speculation of the puck not passing Sauve.
During the referee’s deliberation of the shots, Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall used that time to get her players’ focus back to the game.
“During that time you just take a break, to say ‘Hey, goal or no goal you have to buckle down, defensively,’” Muzerall said. “It’s a time to collect them and let them know that they still have time, and we have to continue to press and not panic.”
The only goal scored by Ohio State was scored two minutes into the second period by junior forward Maddy Field.
“I told the girls, ‘It’s very obvious we’re upset, we lost on senior night,’” Muzerall said. “We have to pause and refocus but you have to reflect. If you are not reflecting and learning, then you’re going to have the same problems next weekend.”
Sauve was injured with three minutes left in the second period, and had medical personnel check on her. However, she played through the pain and ended the night with 25 saves added to her all-time program record for saves with 2,478.
Although the game didn’t end in Ohio State’s favor, Muzerall said the seniors honored before the game deserve credit for the program’s dramatic turnaround to a championship contender.
“They’re brilliant,” Muzerall said. “They’re brilliant young women that are going to help shape the future. They’re smart and motivated. They’re very mature young women and very ambitious. Great hockey players and better people. I’ve learned a lot through the five of them, and I hope they continue to come back next year and support us.”
The Buckeyes will lace up their skates next weekend and take the ice for their first round of the WCHA tournament. They will face off against Minnesota State in a three-game series. The first game is set for 6:07 p.m. Friday at the OSU Ice Rink.
“We look at it in phases,” Muzerall said. “This was the first phase; the regular season is now over. Now we are stepping into phase two, its conference [tournament] play. The thing is, it resets for everybody. It doesn’t matter who won what before. That just helped you get your placement and let you know who you’re playing. [Minnesota State is] going to come hungry for us … I think we’ll be ready.”