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Women’s Hockey: Ohio State welcomes Bemidji State for final home series

Ohio State senior defender Dani Sadek (8) looks for a pass in the first period of the game against Minnesota on Jan. 19. Ohio State won 3-2. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

The No. 6 Ohio State women’s hockey team will face off against Bemidji State in a rematch from earlier in the season at the OSU Ice Rink at 6:07 p.m. Friday and 3:07 p.m. Saturday.

Ohio State (20-8-4, 13-5-4-3 WCHA) traveled to Bemidji, Minnesota, for a weekend series in November. The Buckeyes lost the series opener in a shootout after the teams tied in regulation at three. They evened the series in the second game with a 5-4 victory.

The Beavers (13-16-3, 8-11-3-2 WCHA) rely on a handful of scorers, with five of their players totaling more than 20 points on the season. Freshman forward Claire DeGeorge leads the team with 22 points and 15 assists. Sophomore forward Haley Mack is not far behind at 21 points, while junior forward Emily Bergland leads the team in goals with 10.

Ohio State could make history when it faces the Beavers this weekend. The Buckeyes’ 20 wins are currently the most in program history, meaning one victory would make the team the winningest in program history.

“I think winningest programs always come down to the players,” associate head coach Peter Elander said. “I’m very happy for the seniors. If anyone a couple years ago told them they would be a part of a team with the most wins in Ohio State women’s hockey program, I don’t know if they would have believed that.”

The two games against Bemidji State will be the final two of the regular season for Ohio State, and the final home games for four seniors — defender Dani Sadek, defender Liv Halvorson, forward Julianna Iafallo and forward Lauren Spring.

“I’ve loved every second of it. I’ve looked up to them on and off the ice,” said Halvorson, who transferred from Providence after her freshman season. “I wish I had another two years with them, but I’ve learned so much from them athletically and just how they are as people. I’ve enjoyed every moment with them, I’ll miss them too much.”

Junior forward Charly Dahlquist has a short history with Ohio State, but her lone season here has been impactful in large part to the impact of the seniors, she said. Before becoming a Buckeye, she played for North Dakota for two seasons, and had the chance to play on the other side of the ice as her now-teammates.

Now, having only spent the 2017-18 season as a Buckeye, she is feeling mixed emotions while saying goodbye to the class of seniors.

“Its interesting to see that, because I did compete against them,” Dahlquist said. “Now, they are all my best friends. Honestly, those four girls, we are going to miss them so dearly. This weekend we are going to play for them, it’s all about them. There are a lot of emotions happening, happy and sad. I think if we can get those six points for them, that is huge.”

In their last time out on the ice, the Buckeyes split a series on the road against Minnesota State. Ohio State lost 4-1 in the first game on Friday before bouncing back with a 3-2 win Saturday.

“Friday we didn’t play our game,” Dahlquist said. “On Saturday we knew what we had to do differently. Me and Emma got those two goals and I think, somehow, it helped us.”

Elander said the team has struggled to win on the road, citing an inability to handle adversity.

“As soon as we get a goal against us we have a little panic,” Elander said. “So, that’s why we are really happy with the Saturday game. We are down 2-1 and twenty minutes left, we turned the game and won the game. It was huge for our confidence.”

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