The No. 2 Ohio State women’s hockey team remained a force to be reckoned with Saturday, staying undefeated on the season.
The Buckeyes (6-0-0) earned their second victory of the weekend against Bemidji State (1-3-0) 3-1 Saturday afternoon at OSU Ice Rink. Head coach Nadine Muzerall praised her team for the hot start, but said that their focus must remain ahead of them.
“It’s an honor that we are 6-0 right now,” Muzerall said. “But it is a long season and there are still a lot of talented teams that we have yet to face and then more talented teams that we are going to see again.”
Senior goaltender Andrea Braendli, who has already earned two WCHA goaltending honors this season, was scratched and did not start in net.
Junior goaltender Raygan Kirk was between the pipes, starting her first game as a Buckeye. Kirk transferred to Ohio State this season after playing two seasons at Robert Morris University.
“I’m proud for Raygan to get her start,” Muzerall said. “She’s worked very hard in practice. She was very deserving of playing today.”
The Buckeyes were able to get on the power play early in the first at 5:42. Although they got some shots in, the Buckeyes could not get past the Beavers sophomore goaltender Hannah Hogenson.
The Buckeyes quickly recuperated after the power play when junior forward Jennifer Gardiner passed the puck to sophomore forward Jenna Buglioni who found the net at 9:01, putting Ohio State on the board.
With the goal, Buglioni extended her point streak to six games, tallying a point in every Buckeye game this season. Muzerall said that the future is bright for Buglioni.
“She really gets after the puck and she plays big,” Muzerall said. “She’s very hard to play against. She’s very talented around the net, too.”
Senior defenseman Sophie Jaques shot from far out and found the back of the net at 15:37, giving the Buckeyes a two-goal lead at the end of the first period.
After her first NCAA career natural hat trick Friday, senior forward Gabby Rosenthal could not stop scoring. A little over three minutes into the second period, Rosenthal scored on a rebound, making the game 3-0.
Muzerall said when the line of Gardiner, Rosenthal and Buglioni is on their game, they are dangerous around the net and on their entries.
“They are much of a threat because they usually have a relentless pursuit to keep the puck in and create turnovers,” Muzerall said.
Late in the second period, the Beavers ended their silence. Junior forward Reece Hunt scored with 2:38 left in the second, making the score 3-1 Buckeyes at the end of the period.
The penalty box was hopping in the third period. Ohio State senior forward Paetyn Levis and Bemidji State freshman defenseman Ella Anick both went to the box at 12:22 for roughing. Buckeyes junior forward Brooke Bink joined them about a minute later on a delay of game call.
However, no power play goals were scored during the game and the Buckeyes penalty kill is yet to allow a goal this season.
No goals were scored in the third period, and the game ended with the Buckeyes coming out ahead on shots on goal 27-14.
Kirk ended the night with 13 saves and was one goal shy of a shutout.
“I’m really bummed for Raygan that she couldn’t get the shutout,” Muzerall said. “That was our team’s defensive error.”
Ohio State will take on No. 1 Wisconsin in Badger territory at LaBahn Arena Oct. 23 and Oct. 24 at 3 and 4 p.m., respectively.
“They are going to have to compete a lot harder in order to perform and be successful next weekend,” Muzerall said.