The No. 6 Ohio State women’s hockey team will face off against Clarkson in the semifinals of the Frozen Four on Friday in Minneapolis.
The Golden Knights (34-4-1) are the top-seeded team in the tournament and eliminated Mercyhurst with a 2-1 victory in the quarterfinals, which allowed them to advance into the semifinals. They also won the national championship last season.
“Clarkson is a great team,” Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said. “They are well coached. They’ve been known to be a very defensive team, they have some offense and a very good goaltender. This isn’t going to be the first beast we’ve come across. We’ve had some key signature wins against teams that have helped us prepare for teams like Clarkson.”
Although the Buckeyes are tempted to look ahead at the championship game, freshman forward Emma Maltais said they are only thinking about Clarkson.
“Making the Frozen Four is obviously a big accomplishment,” Maltais said. “I think we all know that we don’t want to be done yet. We have a common goal in mind and that’s to win the national championship. We are going to take it one game at time and Clarkson is our first opponent.”
The Buckeyes are coming straight off of a shutout victory against Boston College to propel them into the semifinals. Not long after the win, they took to the ice to prepare for what the semifinals had in store for the team.
“The celebration ended Monday morning,” senior forward Julianna Iafallo said. “We woke up and had practice. Yesterday, we got back to it. We are not done yet.”
After the game against Boston College, Muzerall said she told the team to enjoy the win but it had to get back to work on Monday.
This season’s success by Ohio State could come as a shock for someone who has seen them in previous seasons. The Buckeyes are breaking their own mold, yet still view themselves as the underdog.
“So many people doubt us,” Iafallo said. “They didn’t believe we would make it this far. So, we want to prove them wrong.”
Wisconsin advanced to the Frozen Four along with their opponent, Colgate. The Frozen Four semifinal games will take place back to back Friday night at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
If the Buckeyes beat the Knights, they will advance to the final bracket of the tournament, where they would have a shot at the program’s first national title. The NCAA championship game will be held on Sunday at Ridder Arena.