ERIE, Pa. - For the second time in four years, the Ohio State women's hockey team will play on the biggest stage in women's college hockey. And the Buckeyes got there on Thursday night with a dominant second and third periods to secure a 3-1 win over Boston College in the NCAA quarterfinals at Erie Insurance Arena in Erie, Pa.
"We played relentlessly today," said head coach Nadine Muzerall. "We're so honored to represent Ohio State in the Frozen Four. Boston College kind of had us back on our heels a little bit at the start of the game but I thought once we settled in we really dominated play. I'm most happy not just that we won, but how we won."
And how they won was with relentless offensive pressure that produced a 43-8 shot advantage of the final two periods. Despite peppering Boston College goalie Abigail Levy, the Eagles still held a 1-0 lead late in the second period. But a flurry of two goals - the first coming from Jenna Buglioni and the second off the stick of Brooke Bink - turned the tide in Ohio State's favor and the Buckeyes never looked back.
Gabby Rosenthal added an insurance goal at the 13:30 mark of the third period for the final 3-1 score, setting up a date with No. 2 Wisconsin the second national semifinal on Thursday night. It will be the sixth meeting this season between the Buckeyes and Badgers. The two teams split the four games in the regular season and Wisconsin earned a 3-2 overtime victory on March 7 in the WCHA Final Faceoff championship game.
The path to this year's Frozen Four was a familiar one, as the last time the Buckeyes advanced to the national semifinals they did so by knocking off the Eagles 2-0 in the quarterfinals. Five players from that team remain on this year's squad, including Tatum Skaggs, who had two assists on the night and took eight shots. Skaggs leads the team with 11 assists on the season.
Ohio State's top line of Skaggs, Emma Maltais and Liz Schepers produced four points while two of the three goals scorers were from the second line: Buglioni and Rosenthal. Goalie Andrea Braendli made 12 saves on the night.
Thursday night's game will be aired live on ESPNU. The first semifinal will pit No. 1-seeded Northeastern against No. 5 Minnesota Duluth.
Shots: Ohio State 48, Boston College 13
Saves: Boston College (Levy) 45, Ohio State (Braendli) 12
Faceoffs: Ohio State 31, Boston College 24
Power Plays: Ohio State 1-3, Boston College 0-3
Top Scorers (G-A-P): Skaggs 0-2-2, Rosenthal 1-0-1, Bizal 0-1-1, Levis 0-1-1, Bink 1-0-1, Buglioni 1-0-1, Maltais 0-1-1, Schepers 0-1-1