The men’s hockey team had last weekend off but the Buckeye ladies were in action. They kicked off the second half of their season with a sweep of Penn State. Nate Handrahan said in Friday’s postgame comments that his team came into the series with a renewed focus and energy. It showed. Eleven Buckeyes recorded points in Friday’s 8-0 victory, including Claudia Kepler who notched a pair of goals. OSU outshot PSU 56-19. They were whistled for zero penalties while going 2-4 on their power play chances. The Buckeyes even held a 36-28 edge on faceoffs, led by Katie Matheny’s 11/15 wins. Lisa Steffes started both games and made 19 and 18 saves to earn back-to-back shutouts. Saturday’s contest was closer statistically, but the result was still a 4-0 Ohio State win. The trio of Danielle Gagne, Taylor Kuehl, and Ally Tarr each scored a goal, adding to their impressive series point totals. All told the line racked up a stat line of 5-11--16 for the weekend. Defensive stalwarts Kari (2g, 2a) and Sara Schmitt (1g, 2a) had a productive couple of games as well.
Next up for the Buckeye women: The ladies face a tough challenge in their first conference series of the new year. They'll be at No. 1 Minnesota this weekend.
A few more links from PSU vs. OSU…
- You can check out Ohio State’s game recaps, which include Handrahan’s postgame pressers here and here.
- Rachel Lewis photographed Saturday’s game. You can view those photos in this gallery at Inside Hockey.
As promised, here’s the “art" from the Mercyhurst series:
The guys have their first conference showdown of 2014 this weekend. They’ll host Michigan State on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 7pm. Be sure to come back and get the lowdown on the series in Friday’s preview. Until then here’s some more Buckeye reading…
- Jashvina Shah did a piece for CHN on the Buckeyes’ nutty, yet surprisingly successful, goaltending situation that includes thoughts from Logan Davis and Steve Rohlik.
- OSU’s Student-Athlete Spotlight has fallen upon Matt Johnson, expert beard-grower, truck aficionado, and champion of line brawl wrestling matches against guys named Ryan Dzingel.
- Don’t forget you only have until this Sunday to vote for the forwards you think are most deserving of All-Buckeye team honors.
Around the Big Ten
No. 1 Minnesota and No. 13 Wisconsin were the only two B1G teams playing last weekend. The Badgers were upset by Alaska-Anchorage on Friday and had to rally on Saturday to avoid being swept. But a lackluster weekend wasn’t the worst news for Wisconsin. The really bad news is that Nic Kerdiles, recently of Team USA and the WJC, took a nasty fall in his return and apparently did substantial damage to his shoulder. Over at the Mariucci Classic, Colgate beat Minnesota in a shootout, sending the Gophers to the tournament’s consolation game. They faced RPI on Saturday where, bolstered by the return of Brady Skjei, Hudson Fasching, and coach Don Lucia (also late of Team USA), they rolled to a 6-2 win. Kyle Rau scored twice in that game, one night after joining Minnesota’s century club.
- Drew Claussen recapped the conference action for USCHO. He also suggested some New Year’s resolutions for the Big Ten teams. (Personally, I’m not sure he’s on the right track with the Buckeyes. A better resolution might be: Prove their record is not simply the result of a weak schedule.)
- Nate Wells shared his thoughts on week in the B1G for CHN.
- According to Alejandro Zuniga’s recap, this year’s Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium broke the attendance record set at The Big Chill four years ago. Red Berenson skated for the Red Wings in the alumni game in the days leading up to the Winter Classic. Patrick Barron snapped some photos for The Michigan Daily which you can see here. Meanwhile Sean Leahy reports that old habits die hard and the fact that Berenson was playing in the game and not standing behind the bench didn’t stop him from coaching his team to victory.
World Juniors Wrap Up
Congratulations are in order for surprise WJC champion Finland. The Finns upset Sweden in the gold medal match to take the tournament crown. Russia knocked Team USA out in the quarterfinals and went on to defeat Canada for bronze. It was a disappointing finish for an American team that had appeared strong in the round robin games. Wisconsin’s Nic Kerdiles led the U.S. in points with seven (2g, 5a). Andrew Copp of Michigan tallied five assists as well. Minnesota’s Hudson Fasching contributed two goals and two assists in the tournament and fellow Gopher Brady Skjei chipped in an assist. Future Buckeye defenseman Janik Moser finished his WJC campaign with a goal and two assists. He and Germany fought off a pesky Norwegian team to win the relegation round.
- You can read more extensive reviews of Team USA’s tournament from Chris Dilks at SBN College Hockey and Chris Peters at The United States of Hockey.
- Dilks also pointed out some preliminary candidates for next year’s WJC team. The list includes some Big Ten guys as well as Ohio native and former OSU commit Nick Magyar.
- Four former Buckeyes are slated to skate for their respective countries’ hockey teams in Sochi next month. Emma (Laaksonen) Terho will wear Team Finland’s jersey in an impressive fifth trip to the Olympic games. Minttu Tuominen will also represent Finland. Natalie Spooner dons the maple leaf for Team Canada. (Though Tessa Bonhomme isn’t on the team this year, she’s still supporting her former teammates and thinks they have a good chance at gold.)
- On the men’s side, Ryan Kesler is one of 20 former NCAA players who will suit up for Team USA. (After this rather hilarious miscommunication was cleared up, that is.) Every Big Ten school save Penn State is represented. Kesler will be joined by former Badgers Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh, Ryan Suter, and Joe Pavelski and Gophers Paul Martin, Phil Kessel, and Blake Wheeler as well as Michigan’s Max Pacioretty and Michigan State’s Ryan Miller. (Like Brigadoon, circumstances in which it is acceptable to cheer for Ryan Miller, Terror of the CCHA, rarely come around. Enjoy it while you can.)
- According to CollegeCommitments.com we have two more players to add to the Buckeyes’ rapidly increasing list of recruits. Both are Missouri natives and defensemen scheduled to join the team in 2015-16. Bradley Johnson has two assists in two games with the USHL’s Indiana Ice. Michael Davies is currently playing for the St. Louis AAA Blues. He has six goals and ten assists through 23 games.
- Gord Montgomery wrote about the academic efforts of the Spruce Grove Saints’ rookies, including OSU commit Tyler Busch.
- In a brief item in the preview for last week’s games, the lady Bucks announced seven players had signed NLIs: forwards Allison Gasuik, Julianna Iafallo and Lauren Spring, defensemen Jessica Dunne and Danielle Sadek, and goaltender Kassidy Sauve.
- After compiling a 3-0-0 record, including two shutouts, and stopping 86/87 shots over the course of three games Cal Heeter has (rightly, it would seem) been named the AHL’s player of the week.
- Robin Short got John Albert’s thoughts about his NHL experience, returning St. John’s, and getting back to the Show. (For anyone else who isn't Canadian and therefore hasn’t a clue what classic commercial the author is talking about, I think it’s this one.)
- Tim Leone reports that Tyson Strachan decided to begin 2014 by jumping into a frigid river for charity.
- The good news: Peter Boyd scored all the goals! He recorded a hat trick in South Carolina’s 3-0 win over Greenville last week. The bad news: It happened on Darius Rucker night and all the highlights are of Rucker instead of Boyd’s excellent game.
- Eric Meloche has returned to help the Cornwall River Kings with their LNAH playoff push. Todd Hambleton has that story here. (Bonus Buckeye item: Doug Andress, also playing for the River Kings, scored twice in the game Hambleton recapped.)
- According to Mike Chambers, Nate Guenin is day-to-day with an ankle injury. In much better news, his play this season has sufficiently impressed the Avalanche that they signed him to a two year extension.
- In the clip-of-the-week Zac Dalpe starts the year with a bang: