In this week’s puck previews, the men’s hockey Bucks visit young, talented, but sub-.500 Wisconsin. Meanwhile, the women celebrate their senior class and look for some revenge against a Bemidji State squad that swept the Bucks earlier this season.
No. 3 Buckeye Men at Wisconsin
|Opening Faceoff||8pm ET||8pm ET|
|Television||FS Wisconsin, SportsTime Ohio||FS Wisconsin, SportsTime Ohio|
|Local Radio||1460 AM The Fan||1460 AM The Fan|
|Online Stream||BTN2Go ($)||BTN2Go ($)|
Ohio State continued to pick up steam last week with a sweep of then-No. 11/13 Notre Dame. The Bucks are now 8-1-1-0 since the midseason break. They averaged 4.20 goals per game in those contests and gave up two or fewer goals against in seven of the ten outings. The power play is on fire, running at 36.4% over the last five games. The only concern for OSU right now is that the team could be peaking too soon.
|Team Stats||Ohio State||Wisconsin|
|Records||17-5-4, 10-3-3-2 B1G||9-12-5, 5-6-6-2 B1G|
|National Polls (PWR)||No. 3 / No. 3 (No. 3)||N/A (No. 31)|
|Avg. Goals For / Against||3.19 / 2.12||3.08 / 3.35|
|Power Play / Penalty Kill||23.3% / 80.2%||18.2% / 71.6%|
|Points Leader||Mason Jobst (32)||K'Andre Miller (22)|
|Leading Goal Scorer||Mason Jobst (14)||Sean Dhooghe (9)|
|Top Goaltender||Tommy Nappier (1.64/.945)||Jack Berry (3.22/.895)|
The Bucks’ second-half stats are even more remarkable when you consider that key contributors have been dropping like flies since the break. Gustaf Westlund, Tanner Laczynski, and Sasha Larocque all remain day-to-day according to Steve Rohlik.
“Every team deals with [injuries],” noted the Buckeye coach. “That’s why you practice like we do. That’s why guys make sure they’re ready between Monday and Thursday. You never know when your number’s called. Our guys have stepped up and played very well over the last few weeks.”
|Big Ten Standings||Points||PWR|
|Ohio State||35||No. 3|
|Notre Dame||25||No. 15|
|Michigan State||24||No. 22|
|Penn State||20||No. 18|
Ohio State will need every able-bodied man yet again this week to keep the team’s win streak rolling at Wisconsin. The Badgers are an oddly dangerous team. The young squad is very talented, particularly on defense.
Five of Wisconsin’s six regular defenders are freshmen or sophomores. All five are also NHL draft picks. The blue line crew includes the team’s leading scorer and first-round selection of the New York Rangers, K’Andre Miller.
The Bucks would also do well to keep an eye on Linus Weissbach (Buffalo, Round No. 7) this week. Due to an injury-shortened season, the speedy Swede is mired in the middle of the Badgers’ scoring chart. However, he is near a point-per-game player with 15 points in 16 games.
Wisconsin’s skill aside, signs point to a good weekend for OSU. For all their talent, the Badgers don't earn many wins. They own just one outright victory since the break. Ohio State is rolling. The Bucks are also 8-1-4 on the road this season.
“I think we just do a good job of feeding off the other team’s environments, not letting it get to our heads but more using it to our advantage,” reflected Dakota Joshua. “I just think using their motivation as our motivation has been the key.”
“We don’t get that much respect in hockey,” continued the senior forward. “We’ve been building it up. We definitely like being the villain and being the bad guy and going in there and ruining people’s days.”
- Sr. defenseman Tommy Parran is one of five finalists for the Hockey Humanitarian Award.
- Former Buckeye Max McCormick is now...How does one say that? He’s an Avalanche?
No. 9 Buckeye Women vs. Bemidji State
|Opening Faceoff||6pm ET||3pm ET|
|Online Stream||FloHockey ($)||FloHockey ($)|
Ohio State powered past St. Cloud last week by 4-0 and 5-0 scores. The Bucks’ nine goals were scored by nine different players. Freshman goalie Andrea Braendli recorded the first consecutive shutouts of her career. It was a huge bounce-back series for the Buckeyes after they hit a rough patch in mid to late January.
|Team Stats||Bemidji State||Ohio State|
|Records||10-16-2, 7-9-2-0 WCHA||17-11-0, 11-9-0-0 WCHA|
|National Polls (PWR)||N/A (No. 23)||No. 9 / No. 9 (T-No. 8)|
|Avg. Goals For / Against||1.93 / 2.71||2.79 / 2.50|
|Power Play / Penalty Kill||11.1% / 88.7%||16.2% / 82.8%|
|Points Leader||Clair DeGeorge (18)||Emma Maltais (35)|
|Leading Goal Scorer||Clair DeGeorge (8)||Tatum Skaggs (14)|
|Top Goaltender||Lauren Bench (2.21/.914)||Andrea Braendli (1.96/.934)|
The Bucks look to keep that magic alive this week as they host Bemidji State in their final home series of the regular season. OSU Ice Rink has been good to the Scarlet and Gray this year. The Buckeyes are 10-4-0 on home ice.
Ohio State can use the extra advantage. The Beavers are 5-3-1-0 since the midseason break, including a big upset of No. 2 Wisconsin last week. The Buckeyes already know exactly how difficult they can be. The Beavers swept the Bucks in Bemidji earlier this season.
|WCHA Standings||Points||PWR||Remaining Series|
|Minnesota||46||No. 2||Bye, vs MSU, at BSU|
|Wisconsin||42||No. 3||vs MSU, at UMD, vs OSU|
|Ohio State||33||T-No. 8||vs BSU, Bye, at WIS|
|Minnesota-Duluth||28||T-No. 11||vs STC, vs WIS, at MSU|
|Bemidji State||23||No. 23||at OSU, at STC, vs MIN|
|Minnesota State||14||No. 21||at WIS, at MIN, vs UMD|
|St. Cloud State||12||No. 30||at UMD, vs BSU, Bye|
“[The Beavers] have become more of an offensive threat since I started playing them,” noted senior Erin Langermeier. “They’ve got that offensive mindset now so we really have to keep them outside, block shots, and all the good stuff.”
Classmate Maddy Field outlined a similar strategy. “We really need to focus on the little things in practice like we did last week and that was blocking shots, getting in front of the net,” stated the senior. “We really focused on defense and the offense came.”
OSU put the hammer down last week but the team needs to keep it there in the home stretch of the season. The Bucks retain a slim chance of making a return trip to the NCAA tournament. They’ll need some help to make it. But hope is still alive as long as Ohio State keeps winning.
“Every game counts right now,” said Nadine Muzerall. “We just have to channel our energy into Friday because if we look too far in advance we’re all over the place. Our mindset needs to be focused on one thing and that’s Friday’s game.”
Of course, the Buckeyes have the added incentive this week of feting their seniors. “They’re phenomenal. They’re great leaders,” Muzerall enthused. “They have a wide variety of importance, from a defensive side to an offensive side and scoring abilities and blocked shots.”
“They’re just a fantastic group of human beings," she continued. "They’re somebody that you can rely on as a coach that they’re going to police the locker room and live by a good moral compass. People just really respect them and want to play for them. They’re going to be very sadly missed but they want to go out swinging and they want to go out strong.”
- There's a lot going on around the Ice Rink this week. If you're heading out to the games, be sure to note the parking alerts from OSU.