Ohio State junior forward Emma Maltais (17) moves the puck down the ice during the Ohio State-Minnesota game on Nov.15. Ohio State won 3-1. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | For the Lantern

This weekend, the Ohio State women’s hockey team will head to New York to kick off the first of six games against three nonconference opponents. 

No. 7 Ohio State (8-3-3, 6-3-3 WCHA) will go on the road to face Colgate (8-5-2, 3-2-1 ECAC) for the second time ever in games Friday and Saturday. The following weekend, it will play No. 3 Cornell at home, and one week later, match up against No. 8 Princeton in Las Vegas.

Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said that when she was working on scheduling nonconference teams for the season, she wanted her team to face Frozen Four-level competition.

“When I did the schedule, I consciously picked these teams because they’re very good,” Muzerall said. “If we want to get to that tournament, we’re going to have to face them anyway, so let’s do it now.”

Already boasting wins against then-No. 2 Minnesota and then-No. 10 Minnesota Duluth this season, Ohio State has a chance to further prove it belongs among the nation’s elite if it can pull out wins against top-flight opponents. 

“All of these matchups are huge,” sophomore defenseman Sophie Jaques said. “Two of them are in the top 10, and one’s close to being in the top 10, so getting six wins in the upcoming weeks is important and will get us in a good standing.” 

This past season was the first time in program history the Buckeyes faced Colgate. That matchup took place in Columbus, and the teams split the weekend series with one win apiece. In their first game, the Buckeyes won 4-3. In the second game, the Buckeyes jumped out to an early 2-0 lead before giving up five unanswered Raiders goals in the loss.

The Buckeyes are coming off a strong performance against Minnesota, Duluth this past weekend, when they won 3-1 Friday night before tying 1-1 and picking up an extra league point Saturday. 

“Duluth has always been a tough opponent, and they’re hard to play against,” Jaques, who scored the goal to force overtime Saturday, said. “So it was great that we were able to get five of six points this weekend, as it’s great for the league standings.”

Colgate is also coming off good weekend performances. The Raiders beat Brown 3-1 Friday and Yale 4-0 Saturday.

Ohio State will have to keep an eye out for Colgate freshman forward Danielle Serdachny, who leads the Raiders with 11 points off five goals and six assists. Sophomore forward Neomi Neubauerova and junior forward Coralie Larose also have five goals. 

On the Raiders’ defensive side, sophomore defenseman Tanner Gates has eight points off two goals and six assists. Senior goaltender Liz Auby has played 13 games this season, allowing 18 goals. She has a goals-allowed average of 1.46 and save percentage of .944. Sophomore goaltender Alexa Dobchuk has played in two games and allowed eight goals.

The puck drops on the second matchup between the Buckeyes and the Raiders at 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday.