COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State used a second-period power-play goal to defeat the University of North Dakota women's hockey team 2-0 at OSU Ice Rink on Friday night.
The loss was North Dakota’s third in a row, bringing the team’s record to 17-10-4 (14-9-4-2 WCHA). The three-game lull marks the first time UND has dropped three games in a row since last season, when it lost a two-game series to Minnesota and lost its next game to Clarkson.
Despite the loss, North Dakota secured the third seed in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings after Minnesota Duluth fell to Minnesota, 6-0. In addition, Bemidji State secured the sixth-seed and will play North Dakota for the first round of WCHA playoffs next weekend, Feb. 28-March 2.
After a scoreless opening period, Ohio State took a 1-0 lead on the power play just five minutes into the second period. With bodies in front of the net to screen UND goaltender Shelby Amsely-Benzie, Sara Schmitt took a slap shot that found its way through traffic and into the back of the net.
Down a goal heading into the third period, North Dakota pressured the Buckeyes in the final 20 minutes and earned several quality chances.
Michelle Karvinen, in her first game back after competing in the Sochi Olympics, earned a shorthanded breakaway in the period’s opening two minutes, but couldn’t beat Ohio State goaltender Lisa Steffes. UND also had two late power-play opportunities, but couldn’t convert on either.
Steffes was the difference in the game, making 32 saves in a shutout effort for the Buckeyes, including 14 in the third period to help her team hold onto the one-goal lead. Steffes also had a lot of support in front of her, as Ohio State blocked a total of 23 shots.
With Amsley-Benzie pulled for the extra attacker, an Ohio State clearing attempt rolled all the way down the ice and into the empty net with 1:11 left to seal the win for the Buckeyes.
North Dakota faces Ohio State tomorrow afternoon in its regular season finale at 3:07 p.m. (CT).