For its second-straight game, Ohio State women’s hockey brought fire to the ice against Minnesota State to earn a series sweep.
The No. 5 Buckeyes (13-5-4, 7-3-3 WCHA) blitzed the Mavericks (7-12-4, 2-9-2) 8-4, extending a three-game winning streak with potent offensive play.
Unlike the first game of the series, though, in which Ohio State shut out its opponent 6-0, Minnesota State applied pressure throughout.
“[Minnesota State] kept fighting, and you can never get too complacent or comfortable,” Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said. “Give them credit for that — we really had to keep pushing.”
In the previous series between the two, both games ended in a tie, with the Buckeyes failing to win extra league points with two shootout losses.
Saturday, it was three Buckeye underclassmen — sophomore defenseman Sophie Jaques, freshman forward Jenn Gardiner and sophomore forward Gabby Rosenthal — who scored four of eight Ohio State goals.
With less than two minutes remaining in the middle period, Minnesota State sliced Ohio State’s lead down to 4-3 on a goal by junior forward Mariah Gardner.
The Buckeyes set the game ablaze to open the final 20 minutes.
Ohio State scored three goals in the opening six minutes of play, slapped home by Rosenthal, Gardiner and redshirt senior defenseman Jincy Dunne.
Minnesota State tried to mount a response, getting a goal from freshman forward Danielle England to cut the advantage back to 7-4, but Ohio State junior forward Liz Schepers iced the game away 10 minutes later with a goal that took the Buckeye lead to 8-4 with 2:35 remaining.
Minnesota State came out fast and fierce in the first period, attempting four shots within the first seven minutes. Minnesota State senior forward Sofia Poinar cashed in for a goal.
With less than two minutes into the period, Ohio State junior forward Emma Maltais connected to tie the score 1-1.
It wasn’t until nine minutes into the second period that Jaques gained the lead for the Buckeyes, making the score 2-1. Junior forward Tatum Skaggs extended the lead shortly after.
Two minutes later, Minnesota State junior defenseman Jessica Kondas scored its second goal of the game. The Buckeyes responded with a goal by Gardiner.
“It’s good morale for them. They put in a lot of time and commitment, and it’s nice to see them rewarded. They’re very skilled players,” Muzerall said.
Ohio State will take its talent 700 miles away to compete in Minneapolis against No. 2 Minnesota Jan. 17, preceded by the kick-off of Hockey Day Jan. 18 at 5:30 p.m.
“Minnesota is always the really fun weekend to play, and they’re good competition. We’re really excited to get out there,” senior defenseman Elise Riemenschneider said.