Ohio State women’s hockey was unscathed in January until this past weekend, when it dropped its first game in five weeks to top-ranked Minnesota.
In order to escape the month without catching any more shrapnel, the No. 5 Buckeyes (14-6-4) will need a sweep against Quinnipiac (13-7-3) in a two-game home series this weekend.
“We’re pretty evenly matched to Quinnipiac. We played them last year, and that’s what we’re going off of,” head coach Nadine Muzerall said. “[We have] similar styles, pushing the puck north quickly and a lot of scrums in the defensive zone, so we’re looking for a pretty tough game.”
In the 2018-19 season, the Buckeyes won two 3-2 matchups against the Connecticut team. But this year’s Bobcats have already surpassed their win total from a season ago despite having played 13 fewer games.
Quinnipiac skates into Columbus with a four-game winning streak following a series sweep against Merrimack, a 2-1 victory against No. 9 Harvard and a 5-1 triumph over Dartmouth to inch just outside the top 10.
In this past Friday’s game against Minnesota, Ohio State sophomore forward Gabby Rosenthal scored two of the Buckeyes’ four goals to grab a second win over the Golden Gophers this year.
Playing outdoors the following day as part of Hockey Day Minnesota, Ohio State was unable to write the same script, and dropped Game 2 by a one-goal margin.
Despite the loss, Rosenthal’s early goal in the second period of Game 1 was distinguished as an NCAA Ice Hockey Play of the Week, and the Buckeyes’ stayed in the top 5.
“That [win] showed us we can compete and stay on that level we were playing at,” Rosenthal said. “It was one of our best games, and translating that into the game is super important. Every game from here on out [will be] tough.”
Out of Ohio State’s 20 seasons of women’s ice hockey, the Buckeyes and Bobcats have only matched up on three occasions. This series stands as the Buckeyes’ final nonconference set until playoffs.
The series opener between the Buckeyes and Bobcats kicks off at 6:07 p.m. Friday, followed by a 3:07 p.m. puckdrop Saturday, when Ohio State will participate in its annual teddy bear toss to support Ronald McDonald House.