Last week was a clean sweep for Buckeye hockey with both the men’s and women’s programs posting back-to-back victories. Three of their four wins came by way of shutout. Naturally OSU’s dominant netminders ranked among the conference and national stars of the week.
Andrea Braendli backstopped both halves of the women’s sweep in St. Cloud. Ohio State came into the series desperately needing some good results. The freshman netminder did her part to ensure the team’s success. She stopped every one of the Huskies’ 50 shots in the series.
The shutouts were No. 4 and No. 5 on the season for Braendli and the first consecutive whitewashes of her career. For her efforts Braendli becomes the NCAA’s Second Star of the Week and the WCHA’s Rookie of the Week.
Tommy Nappier racked up season shutout No. 4 last week. He blanked then-No. 11/13 Notre Dame in the finale of a series sweep which allowed Ohio State to take a commanding lead in the Big Ten. Nappier was aggressive and unshakeable throughout the contest, fending off 30 total shots. This included a 15 shot barrage in the second period.
The sophomore netminder is in a powerful groove this season. In 14 appearances this season Nappier boasts a 1.64 GAA and .945 save percentage. He ranks second-best in the nation on both counts. Nappier is the Big Ten’s Third Star of the Week. This is his fourth career weekly conference honor.
Braendli and the women’s hockey Bucks are home this week for the final time in the regular season. They host a dangerous Bemidji State team that recently knocked off Wisconsin. Games are set for 6pm ET on Friday and 3pm ET on Saturday.
Nappier and the Buckeye men hit the road this week for a match at Wisconsin. The Badgers are coming off a 0-1-1-1 outing at Michigan State. Games are scheduled for 8pm ET starts on both Friday and Saturday. Both tilts will air live on SportsTime Ohio.
Polls and PairWise
Sweeping the Irish moved the OSU men up to No. 3 this week in both the USCHO and USA Today/USA Hockey polls. The Bucks also regained the No. 3 spot in the PairWise rankings (which mimic the NCAA tournament selection process). They are back in position to be a No. 1 seed in the big tourney.
The rest of the Big Ten isn’t faring so well. Only co-No. 15 Notre Dame currently clings to any real hope for an at-large bid. If the conference is going to send a second team to the NCAA tournament it will probably punch its ticket at the B1G tourney.
The Buckeye women remain at No. 9 in the national polls this week. They are tied with Boston University for No. 8 in the PairWise rankings, No. 7 among D-I teams. This is on the extreme edge of the bubble for the NCAA tournament.
The Bucks hold a fractional RPI advantage over co-No. 8 BU for the last at-large bid, barring any upsets in the ECAC, Hockey East, or WCHA tourneys. For these last couple weeks you are a fan of anyone playing the teams immediately above and below OSU in the PairWise: No. 6 Cornell, No. 7 Princeton, co-No. 8 Boston University, or No. 10 Boston College.