Women's Hockey Faces Bemidji State in WCHA Battle

By Aubrey Nelson on November 9, 2018 at 3:45 pm
Bucks are ready
Ohio State Athletics

In the first half of your weekly puck preview, the No. 4 women’s hockey Bucks schlep to Bemidji to take on the Beavers. Their toughest opponent this week might be the one in the mirror.

Game Info Friday Saturday
Opening Faceoff 4pm ET 4pm ET
Streaming Video FloHockey ($) FloHockey ($)
Last Week: Sweep of St. Cloud State

The Buckeyes posted back-to-back 3-2 wins in a hometown sweep of the Huskies. Maddy Field potted three goals in the series. Emma Maltais collected a goal, three assists, and WCHA Forward of the Week honors. Freshman netminder Andrea Braendli stopped 35 shots in all and pocketed another pair of wins.

Team Stats Ohio State Bemidji State
Records 9-3-0, 5-1-0-0 WCHA 0-9-1, 0-5-1-0 WCHA
National Polls No. 4 / No. 4 N/A
Avg. Goals For / Against 2.92 / 2.17 1.40 / 3.80
Power Play / Penalty Kill 7.1% / 91.8% 9.7% / 84.6%
Top Goal Scorer Tatum Skaggs (7) Clair DeGeorge (3)
Points Leader Emma Maltais (19) Four players (4)
Leading Goaltender Andrea Braendli (1.89/.940) Lauren Bench (3.16/.883)
Six Week Check-in

Ohio State put together a solid opening charge for 2018-19. The Buckeyes lost three games but each one came against a team ranked in the top-10 in the nation. They kept pace in the WCHA, not dropping any points to weaker conference teams and splitting a series with current conference leader, Minnesota.

There were some missed opportunities for the Bucks to improve their resume, but all in all, they made a solid start toward another successful season. The scoring is there. The team’s defense continues to improve. And Braendli’s early success has softened the loss of Kassidy Sauve.

This Week: Road Test at Bemidji State

Ohio State is liable to be its own toughest opponent this week as the Bucks trek to Bemidji State to face the struggling Beavers. BSU is winless on the season. The team trails the field in the WCHA.

The Beavers had a rough go of it to open the season. They have battled current No. 2 Minnesota, No. 3 Clarkson, No. 8 Minnesota-Duluth, unranked but rolling Providence (7-2-0), and an uncommonly tough Minnesota State squad to date. They pressed a few of those top teams to the limit. Bemidji fell just one goal short in contests against Clarkson and Minnesota.

BSU’s biggest and most bewildering problem is its near non-existent scoring. The Beavers returned eight of their top ten scorers, but the team is averaging almost a full goal less than it did last season. Bemidji has recorded one or fewer goals in seven of its ten outings.

Combine the stalled offense with a permeable defense allowing nearly four goals per game, and it’s no surprise the Beavers are still seeking their first win of the season.

Ohio State definitely has the upper hand this week, but the Bucks have to run a tight, focused ship. Historically, strong OSU squads have had trouble with match-ups against the WCHA’s weaker teams. However if the Buckeyes want to be in on the dogfight for the conference title, they can’t afford to lose points to its cellar dweller.

Around the WCHA
WCHA Standings W L T SOW PTS
No. 2 Minnesota 7 2 1 0 22
No. 4 Ohio State 5 1 0 0 15
No. 1 Wisconsin 5 1 0 0 15
No. 8 Minn.-Duluth 3 4 1 1 11
Minnesota State 2 5 1 1 8
St. Cloud State 2 6 0 0 6
Bemidji State 0 5 1 0 1

It was more business as usual last week with Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ohio State posting sweeps of Minnesota State, Bemidji State, and St .Cloud. Minnesota-Duluth fell in an exhibition tilt with the Minnesota Whitecaps, 5-1. The Badgers, Gophers, and Buckeyes retained their rankings in the national polls. Duluth dropped to No. 8. 

This is a light week in the conference. Other than Ohio State and Bemidji, only St. Cloud is in action. The Huskies take on Lindenwood in a non-conference series. Everyone else has a bye week. 

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