The Buckeye hockey women get their conference schedule started this week. They are squaring off with perennial WCHA strugglers, Minnesota State, and looking to bounce back from a disappointing series split against then-No. 8 Colgate. Here’s the lowdown on the series.
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Last Week: Split with No. 8 Colgate
The Buckeyes put the pedal to the floor in their home opener against the Raiders and drove away with a 4-3 win. In the series finale, OSU dominated the visitors through the first period but let off the gas in the middle frame. Colgate took advantage of the lapse to climb back into the contest and topple the Bucks by a final score of 5-2.
Both the top line talent and scoring depth of Ohio State was on display again. Five different Buckeyes scored the team’s six goals. The trio of Emma Maltais, Charly Dahlquist, and Tatum Skaggs combined for another seven points, bringing their early season total to a collective 15 points in just four games.
This Week: WCHA Opener vs. Minnesota State
Ohio State has a good opportunity to get back on the winning track this week as it hosts Minny State. The Mavericks were once again picked to finish last in the WCHA. This is a team the Bucks should be able to handle with a relative amount of ease as long as they remain focused. But the Scarlet and Gray still can’t afford to look past the Mavs.
All conference points are critical in the ultra-competitive WCHA and Minnesota State is more than capable of stealing some from an unfocused Buckeye team. They've done it before. MSU only won five games in 2017-18 but one of those victories came against Ohio State.
MSU returns its top three scorers from last season. The team also possesses a couple of experienced goaltenders, although it was freshman netminder Abigail Levy who backstopped the team to its season-opening sweep of Rennselaer. The Mavericks also demonstrated some scoring depth in that series. Their five goals were scored by five different players. A total of ten different players recorded a point in the series.
Around the WCHA
Last week Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth kicked off the WCHA season with a top-5 battle. The Gophers won the first game. The teams tied in the series finale with the Bulldogs claiming the shootout win. In non-conference action, Bemidji State was a two-time loser to Providence. St. Cloud swept RIT. Wisconsin also earned a pair of wins over Mercyhurst.
This week conference play begins in earnest. In addition to the Mavericks vs. Buckeyes, No. 2 Wisconsin hosts No. 4 Duluth and No. 2 Minnesota and St. Cloud play a home-and-home series. Bemidji has a bye.