GRAND FORKS, N.D. --- After a high-scoring affair yesterday, the University of North Dakota women's hockey team concluded the weekend series at the Ralph Englestad Arena against the Ohio State Buckeyes in a defensive minded 3-1 loss to split the two games.
The two teams combined for nine goals in yesterday's game that the Sioux won 5-4 but in today's tilt neither team reached 20 shots on goal, but it was Buckeyes that edged the Sioux in shots 19-16 and were able to cash in on a couple more opportunities improving to 5-4-3 (5-4-1 WCHA).
The Sioux will now have two weeks off from regular-season action and three weeks off from conference play (they do have an exhibition game on Nov. 21 against the Manitoba Maple Leafs) and will enter that break with a record of 3-6-1 both overall and in league play.
"We are going to work on everything," head coach Brian Idalski said. "We have been a little inconsistant in all aspects of play and this break will be a good opportunity to work on some of the aspects we have been struggling in. We are close to heading into the second half of the season and we need to be able to play with more consistancy."
One area UND will have to improve in order to make a second half run is playing well in its own barn as in only a handful of opportunities so far this season the Sioux have one win at home in four opportunities.
The Sioux entered the series knowing that the Buckeyes liked to play offensive, fast pace games as they were second in the league with 32 goals scored but had given up the most goals in 32 as well. The Sioux were able to beat them in their own game Friday as both teams broke out of their zones quickly pushing the rate of play, but in a game that seemed to suit the home team in a defensive-minded game that saw plenty of time in the neutral zone the Buckeyes proved they can play that way too.
After the first ten minutes of play both teams only had one shot on goal, but in the second half of the first period OSU started to settle in to the Sioux zone and at 13:12 Hokey Langen scored her team-leading eighth goal of the season at even strength.
The Sioux would then give the Buckeyes two power-play attempts to close out the period and the second attempt turned into a goal by Natalie Spooner at 18:58 for a 2-0 lead intot he first intermission. The Sioux would finish the game not taking another penalty but the Buckeyes already paid dividends on the power play going one for two with five shots on goal and outshot the Sioux 10-2 in the period.
Needing to gain some momentum in the game the Sioux came out strong in the second stanza which would turn into its best period of play in the game. Freshman Ashley Furia (Sedalia, Colo.) would cut into the lead as she stood strong in front of Buckeyes netminder Chelsea Knapp and was able to force in a rebound off a slapshot from the blue line by Ashley Holmes (Miltona, Minn.). Susanne Fellner (Fronhofen, Germany) also assisted on the goal.
But only 1:23 later Raelyn LaRocque would regain the two-goal lead with her third goal of the season which would turn out to be the games final goal.
The Sioux won the battle of shots in the second period 11-6 but leading by two goals the Buckeyes played safe keeping defenders back and much of their forwards trapping in the neutral zone where both teams only turned in three shots on goal in the final period.
Knapp concluded the game with 15 saves allowing one goal in the win while sophomore Stephanie Ney (100 Mile House, British Columbia) allowed three goals on 19 shots.
The Sioux return to action against the Manitoba Maple Leafs on Nov. 21 at the Ralph Englestad Arena in exhibition action with a 7:07 p.m. start.