Sophomore forward Emma Maltais and the Buckeyes were on point Saturday against St. Cloud State, coming out with a commanding performance that led to a 3-2 win.
With the win, Ohio State (9-3, 5-1 WCHA) completed the weekend sweep of St. Cloud State (4-8, 2-6 WCHA).
“It’s nice to see that we played six solid periods of hockey,” Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said. “You just build confidence from that. They were all hard fought and all four lines got to play, illustrating our depth. We’re going to take that and roll into next weekend.”
Ohio State came out firing on all cylinders in the first period. The Buckeyes controlled the puck and led in shots on goal with 11, while holding St. Cloud State to three shots on goal for the entire period.
Their hard play was finally rewarded more than 16 minutes into the first period. Sophomore Tatum Skaggs found the net past St. Cloud State junior goaltender Janine Alder to give the Buckeyes an early 1-0 lead. This goal marks Skaggs’ team-leading seventh of the season, and the goal was assisted by freshman forward Sara Saekkinen and sophomore defenseman Lisa Bruno.
“It’s a huge advantage, getting off to a good start,” Muzerall said. “You can feel more relaxed with the puck. We peppered all yesterday and just couldn’t finalize on our scoring chances. Alder is a very good goalie, so we had to make sure we had to make our chances count. St. Cloud has some good goaltending, but we have the strength.”
The Huskies came roaring back early in the second period. Just over a minute into the second period, senior forward Julia Tylke shot one past freshman goaltender Andrea Braendli to even the game up at 1-1.
The Buckeyes took the lead right back less than four minutes into the second period when senior forward Madison Field ripped a shot past Alder for her sixth goal of the season. Maltais was credited with her league-leading 13th assist on the season. Redshirt junior Jincy Dunne also was credited with an assist.
“Emma is relentless, she’s a 200-foot player,” Muzerall said. “She’s not going to back down. She’s not going to stop. She’s going to all the things nobody likes with stops and blocking shots. She does a lot of the little things that don’t show up on a statistic sheet.”
Ohio State found the net more than 14 minutes into the second period. Maltais and Dunne set up senior forward Charly Dahlquist for the short-handed goal that gave the Buckeyes a 3-1 lead. Dahlquist earned her fifth goal of the season and Maltais and Dunne assists, Maltais’ 14th.
“It’s cool to get a short-handed goal that’s not an empty net goal,” Maltais said. “To finally have our forecheck produce something is really cool. Obviously, Charly is always in the right spot and she put that short side. That’s all her on that on that shot. I owe everything to the people I play with.”
Ohio State’s lead was cut to just one more than 16 minutes into the third period when junior forward Hallie Theodosopoulos scored for the Huskies. Freshman forward Jenniina Nylund assisted Theodosopoulos on the goal.
With time winding down in the game, St. Cloud State pulled its goalie to gain an extra attacker on the ice in an attempt to tie the game up and force overtime, but it was not enough to get past Braendli as the Buckeyes held on to get the win.
“We were looking to play a full 60 minutes and aside from a couple three-minute breakdowns, we did that,” Maltais said. “We were really buzzing as a full team today and yesterday, and I think that says a lot about how we’re progressing as a team.”
Ohio State heads back on the road to face the Bemidji State in an in-conference matchup series on Nov. 9 and Nov. 10.