MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - March 6, 2021 - A five-goal second period explosion propelled No. 3 seed Ohio State to a 7-2 win over second-seeded Minnesota Duluth in the semifinals of the WCHA Final Faceoff at Ridder Arena on Saturday evening.
PDF Format |
Postgame Press Conference Video |
The Buckeyes will meet top-seeded Wisconsin in Sunday's championship game, setting up a rematch from the 2020 final that Ohio State won, 1-0, in overtime. The title-game appearance will be the third all-time for OSU.
"I think we just made a very strong statement tonight," Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said postgame. We practiced for three straight weeks without a game. As you know the only way to get better playing the game is by having games. The girls looked very strong all through three weeks of practice, but you just never knew how it would play out in the game."
The Buckeyes jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 6:50 into the contest as senior Emma Maltais scored an even-strength tally, the fourth goal of the season for the Patty Kazmaier Award finalist. The Bulldogs answered mid-way through the opening period as freshman forward Katie Davis registered her first collegiate goal for UMD to tie the score at 1-1.
Ohio State broke the game open in the second period, finding the back of the net five times, including four goals in the first eight minutes of the period. Following a Bulldog penalty, Jennifer Gardiner potted her seventh of the season at 17:40. Gabby Rosenthal added her third of the campaign just 1:20 later with an even-strength tally at 16:20. Tatum Skaggs then upped the lead to 4-1 with her seventh goal of the season with 13:58 left in the frame. Maltais capped the explosion with her second of the game 1:55 later.
Freshman Clara Van Wieren cut into the Buckeye lead with 9:38 remaining in the period, rifling a shot over the shoulder of netminder Andrea Braendli to trim the deficit to 5-2. The score did nothing to slow the Buckeye onslaught as Liz Schepers added the fifth OSU goal of the period less than three minutes later. Maltais registered the primary assist on the score for her third point of the period and fourth of the game.
The five second-period scores tie for the fifth-highest total in a single WCHA postseason period and stand as the most scored in a single frame of a Final Faceoff semifinal or championship game.
Skaggs wrapped up the scoring for the Buckeyes in the third period, registering a power-play goal with just over eight minutes remaining in the contest for the 7-2 final and her second tally of the night.
Sunday's championship game will begin at 2:07 p.m. CT and will stream live on FloHockey.tv.
About the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Women's League
The Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association will mark its 22nd season in 2020-21. The nation's premier women's hockey conference, WCHA member institutions have won a record 17 national championships since the league's inception in 1999 (including 16 of a possible 19 NCAA titles), while producing seven Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winners, 105 All-Americans and numerous Olympic and national team members. The seven-team, NCAA Division I conference consists of: Bemidji State University (Beavers), the University of Minnesota (Golden Gophers), the University of Minnesota Duluth (Bulldogs), Minnesota State University (Mavericks), The Ohio State University (Buckeyes), St. Cloud State University (Huskies) and the University of Wisconsin (Badgers). The WCHA will grow to eight members with the addition of the University of St. Thomas (Tommies) beginning with the 2021-22 season. For more information, visit wcha.com.