Hockey Bucks Expect Tight, Low Scoring Tilts Against Notre Dame, St. Cloud

By Aubrey Nelson on February 1, 2019 at 3:45 pm
Ohio State's John Wiitala and Liz Schepers

Twitter/@OhioStateMHKY and @OhioStateWHKY

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It’s an important week for Buckeye hockey as the men’s team squares off against its primary challenger for the Big Ten crown and the women look to right their ship on the road. 

No. 4 Men vs. No. 11/13 Notre Dame 

Game Info Friday Saturday
Opening Faceoff 7pm ET 8pm ET
Television None BTN
Local Radio 1460 AM 1460 AM
Online Stream BTN Plus ($) BTN2Go ($)

The Buckeyes come into this series off a bye week and on a three-game winning streak. The Irish are unbeaten in their last four games. After taking five out of six points from Michigan State last week, Notre Dame has closed to just four points back of the Big Ten-leading Bucks. Obviously, this series has major implications for the conference standings. 

Team Stats Notre Dame Ohio State
Records 14-8-3, 7-6-2-2 B1G 15-5-4, 8-3-2-2 B1G
National Polls (PWR) No. 11 / No. 13 (No. 14) No. 4 / No. 4 (No. 5)
Avg. Goals For / Against 3.08 / 2.36 3.21 / 2.21
Power Play / Penalty Kill 21.1% / 81.0% 23.0% / 80.0%
Points Leader Dylan Malmquist (25) Mason Jobst (30)
Leading Goal Scorer Cal Burke (9) Mason Jobst (14)
Top Goaltender Cale Morris (2.32/.928) Tommy Nappier (1.78/.940)

The last time Ohio State and Notre Dame met the teams split a pair of low-scoring, one goal games. Sean Romeo shut it down in net and the Buckeyes claimed a 1-0 win. Then the Irish took a 2-1 decision. 

“Over the last few years every time we play them it seems it’s a one-goal game, very tight game,” said Steve Rohlik. “I don’t expect anything different this weekend.” 

Big Ten Standings Pts
Ohio State 29
Notre Dame 25
Minnesota 24
Michigan 21
Michigan State 20
Penn State 20
Wisconsin  20

The key to coming out on top in those close games, Rohlik said, is for the Buckeyes to have faith in their system and not shoot themselves in the foot. “The number one thing that comes off the page is just [the Irish] don’t beat themselves, so we can’t beat ourselves. I think we’ve got to stay patient. We’ve got to stay disciplined in structure with what we’re doing. I think that’s the key.” 

“I think it’s a good little rivalry,” the Buckeye coach noted. “I think our guys know we’ve got to be at our best to beat them.” 

You’ll have to head out to the Schott or shell out for an online stream in order to see tonight’s game. But Saturday’s tilt airs live on BTN. And, beginning with that one, eight or the Bucks’ last nine games are set to air on local or national stations. 

No. 9 Women at St. Cloud State 

Game Info Friday Saturday
Opening Faceoff 4pm ET 3pm ET
Online Stream Flo Hockey ($) Flo Hockey ($)

The Buckeyes are looking to get back on track and snap their five-game losing skid with a good series at St. Cloud State. The Huskies are also hoping to bounce back this week after being swept by Wisconsin in their last outing. The Bucks swept the Huskies last time they met. The games were tight and low scoring which isn’t surprising considering the talent St. Cloud State has in net. 

Team Stats Ohio State St. Cloud State
Records 15-11-0, 9-9-0-0 WCHA 8-18-2, 3-14-0-0 WCHA
National Polls (PWR) No. 9 / No. 9 (T-No. 8) N/A (No. 30)
Avg. Goals For / Against 2.65 / 2.69 1.93 / 3.00
Power Play / Penalty Kill 13.0% / 81.7% 14.3% / 77.3%
Points Leader Emma Maltais (31) Julia Tylke (19)
Leading Goal Scorer Tatum Skaggs (13) Julia Tylke (10)
Top Goaltender Andrea Braendli (2.15/.928) Janine Alder (2.40/.940)

Janine Alder (2.39/.940) and Emma Polusny (3.37/.918) are both highly capable netminders who shoulder a heavy load, night in and night out. They regularly see upwards of 35 shots per game. Last time out against Wisconsin Alder held the Badgers to three goals against on a whopping 53 shots. 

Nadine Muzerall says her Buckeyes are aware of the challenge awaiting in the Husky net. “They’re aware of how good St. Cloud’s goaltending is and we’re a team that will win by one or two,” said the coach. “We have to make sure we’re getting our chances and getting shots to the net and crashing...We have to make sure that our shot selection is the right one and that we’re getting plenty on her so we can get those opportunities to bury it.” 

WCHA Standings Pts
Minnesota 43
Wisconsin 39
Ohio State 27
Minn.-Duluth 25
Bemidji State 20
Minnesota State 14
St. Cloud State 9

Muzerall also addressed the Buckeyes’ goaltending situation in her pre-series comments. “We have faith in our goaltenders and we’ve asked a lot of them,” she noted. “Coming into the season they were all supposed to be back up goalies. Then all of the sudden they have to step up and play and between the three goalies before the season started they only had one game of any experience.” 

“We believe in them. Like I said earlier we’re not a team that’s going to get more than one or two goals on board. We have to buckle down defensively and with our goaltending and keep it to zero or one, knowing that we’re going to get to one or two.”

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