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The Gophers Butt Heads with the Buckeyes

Minnesota beat Ohio State Friday night, winning 2-1, and fought them to a 1-1 tie Saturday. The Buckeyes were the ones to go home with the extra point after a seven round shootout.

Cat Lenander

Friday’s game was the first return of former Gopher Assistant Coach and current Ohio State Head Coach, Nadine Muzerall, to Ridder Arena. It was also Emma May’s first start between the pipes for Minnesota. At 2:35 Nicole Schammel was pinged for hooking Jincy Dunne. Minnesota kept the puck out of their zone for most of the penalty and it harmlessly expired two minutes later. When Sydney Baldwin lost the puck in OSU’s zone it quickly turned into a shot on May and it seemed like a lot of the shots Minnesota faced were from similar turnovers. Then a Gopher passed from the left corner to Sarah Potomak high in the slot for an excellent shot, which Buckeye goaltender Kassidy Sauve deflected it. Schammel had a great one-on-one chance with Sauve, but this was also deflected.

Baldwin swung, missed the puck, and flipped onto the ice at Minnesota’s blue line. A Buckeye caught the puck and while May the save, she was pulled out of the crease while protecting the net. Lee Stecklein lost the puck with OSU in her zone, but another defender was able to recover it for her. Shortly there after Kelly Pannek managed the same maneuver. Despite dominating possession throughout the game, Minnesota seemed to have difficulty keeping the puck on their stick this evening—perhaps the seemingly continuous line changes were having an affect. Cara Piazza was out for the weekend and Dani Cameranesi’s injury from last week resulted in what is most likely season ending surgery; it’s a blasted shame for Minnesota to lose their top scorer, especially for Cameranesi’s senior year.

In the dying seconds of first period there was a mess at OSU’s crease, a Gopher went down, and Julianna Iafallo went to the box for holding at 19:46. Unsurprisingly, second period started with Minnesota on the attack, but they couldn’t crack through the Buckeye’s defenses. Then Maddy Field sent the puck into the middle of Minnesota’s zone where Iafallo picked it up just as she was entering the right circle and launched it into goal, rattling around the top left pocket as it went in at 4:48.

The Gophers’ efforts intensified and they had a great chance with a loose puck on Sauve’s doorstep. Then Kate Schipper put a solid shot into the goalie’s glove. As Field carried the puck out of her zone through center ice she smacked head on with Kelly Pannek. Despite the collision being incidental, Pannek received a checking penalty at 8:31 and Minnesota killed the penalty. Pannek then displayed some great stick handling while carrying the puck through Ohio State’s zone, but she couldn’t get a shot off with three Buckeyes blocking her.

When a shot later resulted with the puck on top of Sauve’s net everyone converged on it. This resulted in Sophie Skarzynski going into it instead of the puck and Dani Sadek to the box for roughing at 11:56. Minnesota did not convert. Field and Schammel went down along Minnesota’s bench. Then Caitlin Reilly was shoved onto Sauve by the Buckeye right after the goaltender had made a save. Schammel made a flyby on OSU’s crease and her shot was stopped, but the puck was still loose in the crease, so Skarzynski battled Sauve for it until it was covered it and then shoved a Buckeye. When second period ended Minnesota had outshot Ohio State 26-6, but OSU had the lone goal.

At 2:18 of the third period Rebecca Freiburger took a hooking penalty. Minnesota didn’t really attack on this power play, as they kept getting knocked back to their own zone. Then Taylor Williamson carried the puck up the left side and shot into Sauve as Skarzynski crashed into her. The Gophers buzzed around Sauve’s net. Reilly wrapped around the back of the net and then shot under Sauve into goal from the right circle, tying the game at 10:43. Baldwin and Williamson assisted.

OSU went on the attack and eventually May ended it by covering up the puck. However, she let it go after the whistle and a Buckeye flipped it into goal. No tempers flared nor were any penalties given for this move. This is important to note, as Ohio State has done this during their last two series at Ridder. On January 30th, 2015 Julia McKinnon shot on Amanda Leveille after the whistle in a game that already had a game misconduct awarded. The shot resulted in five players fighting in front of the benches, McKinnon receiving two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct, Brooke Garzone a roughing minor, and the teams had to be restrained after every whistle for the rest of the series. On January 9th, 2016, Lauren Boyle did the same thing in a chippy game and immediately received a game misconduct, which kept the teams from fighting. Clearly the teams are getting along better than they used to.

Potomak shot from the left circle into the slot and Pannek hit the puck into goal as she slide into the crease at 16:23. The play went under review, but it was determined to have been a deflection and not a kick, so the goal stood, putting the Gophers ahead. Patti Marshall had the second assist. The Buckeyes went on the attack again and Williamson ended up in Minnesota’s net during one flurry. At 19:05 Muzerall used Ohio State’s time out, but the Buckeyes couldn’t tie. Minnesota won 2-1 after putting 33 shots on goal to Ohio State’s 8 and May earned her first career win.

Saturday was a more penalty filled and evenly matched game. Minnesota had a few chances. Iafallo got flipped to the ice by her teammate and Kelsey Cline. Then Pannek collided with Olivia Soares along the boards, Soares downing, and took an interference penalty at 8:26, which the Gophers killed. Then, in a repeat of Pannek’s penalty the night before, Schipper slammed into Lauren Spring while carrying the puck along Minnesota’s bench and Spring had to sit for checking at 10:50, so at least the officials were consistent in their calls. However, unlike Friday’s accidental collision, Schipper left the game shortly thereafter and did not return. At one point on the resulting power play there was shoving at OSU’s crease after Sauve was down for the save and the whistle had blown, but otherwise it was an uneventful two minutes.

Megan Wolfe plastered Katie Matheny into Minnesota’s side boards, earning herself a checking penalty at 13:16. The Buckeyes did not convert. Then Field came down the right side and as she was about to shoot Baldwin hooked her skates out from under her. This sent the shot wide, Field crashing into the backboards, and Baldwin to the box at 17:30. As this penalty expired there was a mess at Minnesota’s crease with May on her belly covering the puck. First period ended scoreless with shots tied at 10 apiece.

Freiburger took down Kippin Keller in front of Ohio State’s crease and went for hooking at 1:37. The Gophers barely got any shots off during the power play and were clearly frustrated by their ineffectiveness. When Sauve went to the left circle to puck wrangle and fell, leaving an empty net with a loose puck in the zone. Minnesota went into a frenzy, but they couldn’t get the puck into the net. Sadek had a breakaway and May made the save. Then as Minnesota buzzed around OSU’s zone, Potomak passed left and back to Baldwin and the defender’s shot from the left point went in top shelf at 9:38.

There was a turnover at the blue line to Field and she skated up to May, shot, and was denied. Lindsay Agnew took a tripping penalty at 14:22, however, the Buckeyes couldn’t make full use of their power play because they took a too many players on the ice penalty at 15:24. Breanne Grant served the penalty for the team. The Gophers tried to be sneaky with their puck cycling, but their power play expired before they could get another puck past Sauve. May had to make another save on her belly and second period ended with the teams still at neck and neck—shots 20-19 and goals 1-0 both in Minnesota’s favor.

The Gophers had a near chance right off the bat third period. Sadek went down in Minnesota’s crease and carried May out as she made then save. When play was whistled down, Baldwin shoved Field while her goaltender lay at her feet. The Buckeyes continued attacking. May made the initial save, but the puck bounced off her into the slot and went into goal through her five-hole at 1:27. Play went under review, as it looked like it had been kicked in by Matheny, with assistance by Field, but was ultimately declared good.

Reilly took a checking penalty at 1:41, which harmlessly expired two minutes later. Then Elise Riemenschneider took a checking penalty at 5:53. The Gophers couldn’t find any clear shooting lanes during their power play and were unable to convert. At 12:57 Minnesota used their timeout in hopes of gaining an advantage to pulled ahead, but couldn’t find any gaps in the Buckeyes’ defense. At 15:01 the puck flipped into the stands. Then at 19:02 Ohio State used their timeout as well for a last hurrah, but regulation ended in a 1-1 tie after the Gophers finally noticeably pulled ahead in the shot count.

The five-minute overtime was a lot of back and forth for the teams. The beginning was the Buckeyes’ offensive and May had to make several saves, but then Reilly and Wolfe had great chances for Minnesota. Another puck flew out into the stands from the right corner of the Buckeyes’ zone. In the last seconds of sudden death there was a mess at the OSU crease with Sauve down, but as the buzzer sounded the puck slide across the blue line out of the zone instead of across the goal line. There would be a shootout.

Stecklein and Sadek scored in the first round of the shootout. In the next five rounds Pannek, Wolfe, Potomak, Schammel, and Marshall shot for Minnesota, while Dunne, Katie Matheny, Grant, Jacyn Reeves, and Field shot for Ohio State. No one scored. Then in the seventh round Baldwin shot in Sauve, but Iafallo’s shot found the back of May’s net. Thus the second Minnesota-Ohio State game finished in a 1-1 tie, but the Buckeyes went home with the extra point.

Dani Sadek celebrating scoring on the shootout.