Ohio State’s women’s hockey team will see a familiar foe today in the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals at OSU Ice Rink. Much like last year, the Buckeyes will host Quinnipiac, who are coming off a 3-2 win in triple overtime over Penn State on Thursday in Columbus. History says this will be another tight battle, as five of the first six meetings between the teams have been decided by one goal.
There is a difference between last year and this year, though. Last season Ohio State came into the NCAA Tournament having won the WCHA Final Faceoff. This year the Buckeyes lost 3-1 to Minnesota on Saturday in Minneapolis. Ohio State fell behind the Golden Gophers 2-0 before Gabby Rosenthal’s 20th goal of the season with four minutes to go in the second period cut the deficit in half.
Unfortunately, the Buckeyes weren’t able to get any closer, as Minnesota scored just over a minute later to restore their two-goal advantage. The difference in the game was the power play. The Golden Gophers were able to put two power play goals on the board, while Ohio State failed to score on their two power play chances. The lack of production on the power play was surprising considering the Buckeyes have the best power play in the country, converting on 32.3 percent of their opportunities with the skater advantage.
Even though Ohio State lost to Minnesota on Saturday, it didn’t keep the Buckeyes from being the top seed in the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight season. This marks the fourth-straight season Ohio State has made the NCAA Tournament, posting a 5-2 record all-time in those appearances.
If the Buckeyes are able to defeat Quinnipiac today, they would advance to the Frozen Four for the fourth time in school history.
Saturday’s game will be the seventh time Ohio State and Quinnipiac have met on the ice, with the Buckeyes winning all six previous meetings with the Bobcats. Last year’s double overtime thriller continued the trend of close games between the teams, as five of the six matchups have been decided by just a goal.
Last year, Quinnipiac struck first in the quarterfinal. Riley Brengman’s power play goal in the final minute of the first period tied the game, and Clair DeGeorge’s power play goal four minutes into the second period gave Ohio State their first lead of the game. The Bobcats would tie the score back up before Sophie Jaques scored early in the third period.
Quinnipiac wouldn’t go down without a fight, scoring again to tie the game and force overtime. DeGeorge won it for the Buckeyes, scoring her second goal of the game two minutes into the second overtime to earn their spot in the Frozen Four. The most incredible stat of the game was the shot difference, as Ohio State outshot Quinnipiac 77-22.
The Bobcats earned a rematch with Ohio State with a 3-2 triple overtime win over Penn State on Thursday night. Shay Maloney opened up the scoring five minutes into the game to give Quinnipiac an early lead. Penn State responded with two goals in the second period to give the Nittany Lions a 2-1 lead heading into the third period. Kate Reilly’s goal at the 13:16 mark of the third period tied up the score. Midway through the third period, Madison Chantler scored her 12th goal of the year to allow the Bobcats to advance.
Today’s game feels like another one where Quinnipiac will have to survive the waves of pressure from Ohio State. The Buckeyes have 161 goals on the season, while the Bobcats have 128 goals. Even though Amanda Thiele is a tremendous goaltender, statistically Quinnipiac has better numbers from their goaltenders. Logan Angers and Catie Boudiette are 30-9-0 this year with 12 shutouts. By comparison, Ohio State goalies have logged eight shutouts this season.
For the second year in a row, @_sophiejaques is a - for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award #GoBucks | https://t.co/Zul7GiH6B8 pic.twitter.com/JqDOu70n6j— Ohio State Women's Hockey (@OhioStateWHKY) March 8, 2023
The Quinnipiac goalies will definitely be tested by the Buckeyes, who have four players with at least 20 goals this season. Leading the charge for Ohio State is Sophie Jaques, who has scored 22 goals this season. Jaques was named a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award for the second season in a row, with Alina Mueller of Northeastern and Danielle Serdachny of Colgate joining Jaques as finalists. The senior was named WCHA Defender of the Year and Player of the Year.
Joining Jaques as 20-goal scorers this year for Ohio State is Jennifer Gardiner and Paetyn Levis, who each notched 21 goals this year. Gabby Rosenthal rounds out the quartet of 20-goal scorers for the Buckeyes this year after she scored on Saturday in the loss to Minnesota. Gardiner leads Ohio State with 54 total points. Setting up more than a few of the goals for the Buckeyes this year was Emma Maltais, who was credited with a team-high 35 assists.
Quinnipiac doesn’t have the prolific scorers that Ohio State doesn’t, but that doesn’t mean the Bobcats can’t put the biscuit in the goal. Maya Labad led the team with 16 goals this year, while Olivia Mobley and Shay Maloney each scored 15 goals so far this season. Three other Bobcats scored at least 10 goals this year. The mix of timely scoring and strong goaltending have allowed Quinnipiac to make it to the NCAA Tournament for a second straight season.
Date: Saturday, March 11, 2023
Time: 5 p.m. ET