Four years and 104 career games for the Ohio State women’s hockey program and senior forward Elise Riemenschneider had never scored a goal.
That was until Saturday, when Riemenschneider scored a power-play goal in the second period to give the Buckeyes a commanding 5-1 lead against St. Cloud State.
Despite scoring the final two goals of the game, the Huskies (6-23-4, 2-21-1 WCHA) couldn’t recover, and the No. 5 Buckeyes (20-8-6, 13-6-5) closed out the regular season with a 6-3 win and series sweep at home on Senior Day.
“To me, it wasn’t about getting a goal or not. It’s just every day being with [my teammates]. It’s just something so special,” Riemenschneider said. “It also keeps you grounded with how hard those girls work who [are] constantly putting the puck in the net.”
Ohio State sophomore goalie Andrea Braendli came out of the game with eight minutes remaining in the third period, and St. Cloud State freshman forward Olivia Cvar scored two goals just 19 seconds apart in the 18th minute to cut the deficit to three.
But it wasn’t enough, as Ohio State held on to get its 20th win of the season — the third straight occurrence and just the fourth time in program history.
Ohio State junior forward Tatum Skaggs broke the ice for the Buckeyes with a goal at 2:16 into the first period, and a hooking penalty on St. Cloud State junior defenseman Rachel Herzog with three minutes left gave up a power play opportunity.
Ohio State quickly capitalized, as freshman forward Jennifer Gardiner put the puck through the legs of St. Cloud State junior goalie Emma Ponlusy to end the period 2-0.
The Huskies got on the board in the second period, as senior forward and defenseman Hallie Theodosopoulos scored just 29 seconds in to cut the Buckeye lead in half.
They wouldn’t score again until the final few minutes of the game though, and Riemenschneider’s goal would cap a 4-0 run for Ohio State.
Ohio State freshman forward Brooke Bink started the run for the Buckeyes in the third minute of the second period, and a power-play goal from sophomore forward Gabby Rosenthal less than eight minutes later put Ohio State up 4-1.
The goal was Rosenthal’s fifth power-play score of the season and tied her for the most power-play goals in the WCHA.
With three assists on the night, Ohio State junior forward Emma Maltais broke the program record for most points in a single season with 55. Maltais is just one assist away from tying the program’s season assists record.
“It’s always about the girls and my staff,” Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said. “Every day, they come and grind it out. They’re committed to each other and they want to be the best. I can’t even tell you how proud I am of this team and to see their accomplishments both individually and as a unit over the past four years.”
Ohio State led the game with a 53-28 shot advantage, and sophomore defenseman Sophie Jaques closed out the Buckeye scoring with her eighth goal of the season before the five-minute mark in the final period.
“These returning players have had a taste of what it was like to be in the Final Four, and last year we fell short,” Muzerall said. “I’ve been pushing to the girls, ‘Do not let a committee dictate your fate.’ We still have a long road ahead of us.”
Ohio State will host the first round of the WCHA playoffs next Friday at 6:07 p.m.