St. Cloud State (8-19-2, 3-15 WCHA) was back at home Friday afternoon after a road trip to Madison, Wisconsin in which the Huskies fell to #1 Wisconsin in both games, but were looking to rekindle their fire as they were hot before that series with a 3-1-1 record in their previous five games.
Ohio State (16-11-0, 10-9 WCHA) came into town trending the opposite direction having lost five straight getting swept by #2 Minnesota last weekend, not having won a game since edging Wisconsin 1-0 in Columbus in early January.
The Huskies would be looking to continue their excellent play in front of the home crowd with their 6-5 record on the home sheet.
The Buckeyes would come out buzzing, looking to end their five game losing streak. After opening the series this season giving up two goals in 14 seconds to Julia Tylke and Jenniina Nylund the Buckeyes have yet to trail the Huskies since then, battling back to win 3-2 that first game, with the same result in game two. They would look to keep that streak going in game three.
Ohio State would capitalize on a costly St. Cloud turnover. The cardinal and black would look to clear the zone, but the intended pass from forward Katie Detert who was looking for fellow forward Suvi Ollikainen, but Ollikainen was getting off the ice for a change, and in a quick rush the other way junior forward Rebecca Freiburger poked home a loose puck in the crease off a rebound and Ohio State would open the scoring to take a 1-0 lead in the first. Assists on the goal were credited to freshman forward Gabby Rosenthal and sophomore forward Liz Schepers at 9:42 of the first.
That would be the only goal of the first and the Buckeyes would carry that 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Ohio State would out-shoot St. Cloud State 19-10 in the first. Friday’s starting goaltender for the Huskies Emma Polusny made 18 saves with Buckeyes goalie freshman Andrea Braendli making all 10 saves.
There would be a lot of good back and forth action in the second, but you wouldn’t know that from looking at the scoreboard as neither team would be able to breakthrough as the score would stay 1-0 in favor of OSU. 14 shots on goal in the second by Ohio State compared to St. Cloud State’s 8 as both goalies would be perfect in the period.
No power play goals in three tries for the Huskies, with the Buckeyes not getting a power play chance for the first two periods.
After the Huskies battled in the second, it would be all Buckeyes in the third. A quick goal by freshman forward Paetyn Levis gave OSU a 2-0 advantage with assists to seniors Madison Fields and Jacyn Reeves just a minute into the third and the away side would never look back.
To add some insurance, freshman defenseman Sophie Jaques scored with 3:17 remaining in the final stanza to ice the game with assists to sophomore Emma Maltais and senior Charly Dahlquist that would completely drain whatever life the Huskies had left.
To make matters worse, junior forward Brooke Kudirka would take a slashing call with 1:26 left in the game and nine seconds later Maltais would capitalize and sink the dagger into the Huskies’ hearts and Ohio State would finish off St. Cloud 4-0.
The home side would get out shot in the third 20-4 and 53-22 for the game.
It was a tough game for the Huskies after competing hard the previous weekend against Wisconsin. Head coach Eric Rud saw none of that on the ice for Friday’s contest, “we kind of expected maybe a little slow start, and then we started to crawl out of it in the second a little bit, but that was it. It was about eight minutes of hockey we played tonight, and then in the third I thought we just kind of rolled over and let it happen and didn’t have any push back, any fight.”
However Rud did cite the weather played a factor this week with the team not being able to get out and skate during the week due to the conditions outside.
“We got through the first period it’s one to nothing, and then we kind of started to play a little bit. But ultimately, we didn’t sacrifice enough to put ourself in position to make a play. We made a little bit of a play on a rebound and we kind of poked at it instead of getting your nose over the puck and playing hard. We just got out competed tonight” continued Rud.
There is still a ton of confidence that Rud has in his players to be able to bounce back for Saturday despite the lack of total effort on Friday. “For as bad as we played tonight you know, it was 1-0 going into the third so we have a lot more to give I think and we can be a lot sharper tomorrow” Rud finished with.
Both teams are back at it tomorrow afternoon with puck drop at 2:07 inside the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.