Ohio State Women’s Hockey Defeats Minnesota Duluth, 3-2, to Win First National Championship in Program History

By Dan Hope on March 20, 2022 at 6:23 pm
Ohio State women’s hockey

Ohio State is a hockey national champion for the first time ever.

The Ohio State women’s hockey team won the Buckeyes’ first-ever NCAA title on the ice on Sunday by defeating Minnesota Duluth, 3-2, in the Frozen Four final at Penn State’s Pegula Ice Arena.

Ohio State junior forward Kenzie Hauswirth scored the game-winning goal with just 6:40 left to play in the game when she fired a shot toward the net that caromed off a Minnesota Duluth defender’s skate and into the net for the Buckeyes’ third goal of the game, which would prove to be enough for the Buckeyes to defeat their fellow WCHA opponent and celebrate their first-ever national title.

Neither team scored in the first period of the game, and both teams scored once in the second period. Ohio State’s Paetyn Levis put the Buckeyes on the board first with a power-play goal, firing a shot into the net even as she was checked down to the ice by a Minnesota Duluth defender.

Later in the second period, Minnesota Duluth’s Naomi Rogge tipped a shot that went through the five hole of Ohio State goalie Amanda Thiele for a game-tying goal.

Ohio State retook the lead just 24 seconds into the third period on a goal by Clair DeGeorge – who also scored two goals in the Buckeyes’ NCAA Tournament quarterfinal win over Quinnipiac – after Minnesota Duluth goalie Emma Soderberg made an ill-fated decision to skate away from the net, leaving it open for DeGeorge to put the Buckeyes back in front.

Minnesota Duluth tied the score again just one minute and 23 seconds later when Elizabeth Giguere fired a goal past Thiele after a turnover by Ohio State.

After Hauswirth scored Ohio State’s third goal of the game, however, Minnesota Duluth was unable to come up with a third goal of its own as Thiele and the Buckeyes’ defense held firm for the remainder of the game.

Levis and DeGeorge both finished the game with two points for the Buckeyes, as each of them were credited with an assist on each other’s goals, to lead Ohio State in scoring in its historic win. Levis, who also had a goal in the Frozen Four semifinal win over Yale, was named MVP of the tournament.

The national title comes in Nadine Muzerall’s sixth season as Ohio State’s head coach. The Buckeyes rapidly became a championship contender once Muzerall took over the program, making the Frozen Four in just her second season as head coach, but Ohio State had never even made a national championship game or won a Frozen Four game before this year.

Now, after a pair of Frozen Four wins, Ohio State – which also set a program record with 32 wins this season and was the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history – can officially, indisputably call itself the best team in women’s college hockey for the 2021-22 season and celebrate a title for the first time in program history.

“I just believed in these girls so much,” Muzerall said in a postgame interview on ESPN. “They played flawlessly tonight. I'm so proud of them.”

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