No. 2 Gophers women’s hockey earn three points in split against Ohio State

After being swept in their last two-game series versus No. 1 Wisconsin, the Gophers split their two game series versus No. 3 Ohio State.

University+of+Minnesota+women%E2%80%99s+hockey+team+lines+up+before+their+game+against+Ohio+State+in+Ridder+Arena+on+Saturday%2C+Nov.+21.+The+Gophers+won+in+a+shut+out+with+an+ending+score+of+4-0.

Emily Urfer

University of Minnesota women’s hockey team lines up before their game against Ohio State in Ridder Arena on Saturday, Nov. 21. The Gophers won in a shut out with an ending score of 4-0.

Matthew Kennedy, Sports Reporter

Gophers break away in third period Friday and score game-high total

If you were looking for offense on Friday, there was plenty to be offered with 11 combined goals scored between the Gophers women’s hockey team and Ohio State.

For this series, Gophers’ coach Brad Frost switched up his lines and had Abbey Murphy, Taylor Wente, and Grace Zumwinkle to start out on the first line. This proved to be a great offensive strategy as they delivered right away.

Murphy was the first to score in the game to put the Gophers up 1-0 in the first period. Five minutes later, that lead was diminished as Liz Schepers of Ohio State gave the Buckeyes their first goal. During the second half of the first period, the two teams traded off goals again as Jennifer Gardiner capitalized off of a powerplay opportunity to give Ohio State its first lead at 2-1.

Shortly after, the Murphy, Wente and Zumwinkle line produced offensively once again as Zumwinkle scored her team-high ninth goal of the season. The game was deadlocked at 2-2 going into the first intermission.

In the second, the offensive surge continued as Emily Oden scored on a 5-on-3 skater advantage to put the Gophers back on top 3-2. This lead would stay for most of the period until the Buckeyes’ Emma Maltais brought the game back to a draw at 3-3. Yet, less than 30 seconds later, Abigail Boreen cashed in to make the game 4-3 in Minnesota’s advantage going into the intermission.

The Gophers finally extended their lead in the third, but it took a little time. Jenna Buglioni started off the period with a goal for the Buckeyes and the game was back to a tie at 4-4. Eight minutes later, Taylor Heise scored and the Gophers did not allow another lead change the rest of the game.

With a power play goal by Crystalyn Hengler and an empty-netter by Catie Skaja, the Gophers in the third period burned the Buckeyes to come out with a 7-4 win. Seven different skaters found the back of the net on offense for Minnesota in this shootout.

“Great win here tonight on the road, great opponent in Ohio State,” Frost told Gopher Sports. “I just loved the way our team battled and competed here tonight. The game got tied up many times, but to find a way to continue to stay with it and get the win on the road is a great three points. We’re really happy with it. We know it will be another battle tomorrow and we’re looking forward to that.”

Gophers split with Buckeyes for second time this season

On Saturday, both teams started their backup netminders; Makayla Pahl was in net for the Gophers and Amanda Thiele was in for the Buckeyes.

In the first period, both backup goalies proved to be up for the challenge, as neither team was able to score for most of the period. Yet, Tatum Skaggs of Ohio State, with seven seconds left in a powerplay managed to find the back of the net and give the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead going into the first intermission.

In the second period, Ohio State had one powerplay chance and Minnesota had two, but both teams failed to convert. However, the period wasn’t without offense as the Buckeyes’ Sara Saekkinen extended the Buckeyes’ lead to 2-0 with 48 seconds left.

The game was looking to go into the final period with the home team holding a two-goal lead, but with one second remaining in the period Olivia Knowles sniped in the Gophers’ first goal of the game to go into the third period with momentum, only down one goal in a wild last minute.

In the third period, the Gophers could not come back from the one goal deficit and ended up losing 3-1 after a Maltais empty net goal. Minnesota left Columbus with its second split against Ohio State this season.

“A hard-fought battle here tonight and I’m proud of our team,” Frost told Gopher Sports. “We played well, but unfortunately we couldn’t find a way to get that equalizer there, giving up the empty netter. But, it was a good hockey game; I wish the result was different.”

Up next, the Gophers return to Ridder Arena for a rematch with their border rivals the No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers Feb. 5-6. Friday’s game starts at 6:07 p.m. and Saturday’s begins at 4:07 p.m. Both games will be televised on BTN+.