Women’s hockey rolls to sweep, eyes

Monica Wright

A little confidence goes a long way in hockey.
Ohio State came to Minneapolis a different team this weekend after tying first place Minnesota-Duluth a week ago — and it showed.
Friday night saw Ohio State score the first goal only three minutes into the first period. And though Minnesota went on to beat Ohio State 4-1, after beating top-rated New Hampshire 6-2 last weekend, the win over the Buckeyes was a stark comparison.
“Ohio State is more disciplined and has more experience from the last time we played them,” coach Laura Halldorson said. “We could have played better, but they are a very defensive team. They like to clog things up and slow down the other team.
“We didn’t get a lot of shots, but we scored enough to win.”
Saturday’s matchup proved to be more characteristic of the fourth-ranked Gophers — they shutout the Buckeyes 6-0.
Junior Nadine Muzerall scored the majority of Minnesota’s goals over the weekend. She knocked in four goals and added three assists in the series to extend her goal-scoring streak to 25 goals in 12 games.
Muzerall now leads the nation with a school-record 35 goals, taking the top spot away from Minnesota-Duluth’s Jenny Schmidgall.
Muzerall wasn’t the only Gopher setting records this weekend. The team’s lone senior, Shannon Kennedy, had her 100th career point on an assist to freshman Ronda Curtin.
Curtin, who posted three goals and three assists against Ohio State, still sees a need for improvement despite the weekend sweep.
“We need to work on our defensive play and accuracy in passing before we face Duluth next weekend,” Curtin said.
But before the Gophers play Duluth — the only team in the WCHA they haven’t beaten — they face Minnesota State on Tuesday. The Gophers see the mid-week game as an opportunity to prepare for what promises to be a difficult weekend against the Bulldogs.
“Practice is great, but playing in a game is a lot different,” Muzerall said. “We can focus better in a game, especially when we know we’re leaving for Duluth in a few days.”
According to Muzerall, that plan of attack has worked well for the team in the past.
“Before we played fifth-ranked New Hampshire, we swept Bemidji. Now, before we go to Duluth, we have Mankato. That week before a tough series has a big impact,” Muzerall said.

Monica Wright covers women’s hockey and welcomes comments at [email protected]