The No. 4 Ohio State women’s hockey team (6-2, 3-1 WCHA) traveled up to Minneapolis to take on the No. 3 Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-1-1, 4-1-1 WCHA) in an early Top 5 matchup that saw a series split. The first game was won by Minnesota by a score of 3-0 and the Buckeyes won the second by a score of 3-2.
Ohio State found themselves overmatched on the road against a tough Minnesota team and despite its efforts, lost 3-0.
The first period saw Ohio State coming out hot, getting the first three shots on goal of the game, but none of them found the net and the same went for Minnesota throughout the first period. Both teams notched 10 shots on goal but remained scoreless after 20 minutes.
Minnesota took the lead more than 11 minutes into the second period when senior forward Taylor Williamson shot one past freshman goaltender Andrea Braendli off a rebound that got away from the goalie to give the Golden Gophers a 1-0 lead. Senior forward Tianna Gunderson and junior defenseman Patti Marshall earned assists on the play. Throughout the second period, the Buckeyes were outshot by the Gophers 18-5.
Momentum did not shift to Ohio State’s favor as the Gophers extended their lead off another rebound shot, this time by freshman forward Catie Skaja with assists by redshirt senior forward Nicole Schammel and sophomore forward Gracie Zumwinkle.
In an attempt to mount a late comeback, Braendli was pulled in favor of another attacker for the Buckeyes, but it resulted in an empty net goal with just 32 seconds left for Williamson’s second goal of the game to clinch the victory for Minnesota. Ohio State was severely outshot by Minnesota 19-3 in the period.
Fresh off winning player of the week for her efforts against Minnesota State, Braendli notched a career high 44 saves.
On Saturday, Ohio State held off a late Minnesota comeback to win the game 3-2, splitting the series.
The Buckeyes took the lead just 5:10 into the first period when freshman defenseman Sophie Jacques scored her first career goal.
Minnesota struck back when Schammel got one by Braendli later in the period to tie it up, 1-1. Schammel was assisted by Zumwinkle and freshman defenseman Gracie Ostertag.
Moving to just past the halfway point of the second period, sophomore forward Emma Maltais scored a power play goal to shift momentum back to Ohio State and give them a 2-1 lead. Redshirt junior Jincy Dunne recorded an assist on the goal.
The Buckeyes extended their lead early into the third period when senior forward Madison Field scored an insurance goal to put Ohio State up two. Maltais and Dunne assisted Field on the play.
Minnesota was not to be deterred, and a shot by senior forward Taylor Williamson with just under three minutes left in the game cut the lead to 3-2.
However, that one goal was all that the Gophers were able to muster as Braendli put together another strong performance, this time saving 40 shots to give Ohio State the victory.
Minnesota outshot the Buckeyes 42 to 27, but Ohio State took advantage of scoring opportunities when they presented themselves, and Braendli and the defense combined to clinch a tough away victory against a Top 5 Minnesota team.
Ohio State remains on the road for next week as they travel to Canton, New York for a non-conference matchup against St. Lawrence. Puck drop for the series opener is set for 6 p.m. on Friday.