After their previous series was postponed, the Buckeyes will return to the ice to face a top 10 ranked opponent.
No. 2 Ohio State (17-3-0) will face off against No. 8 Minnesota Duluth (13-7-0) Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Ohio State Ice Rink. Head coach Nadine Muzerall said she expects the break from the postponement of last weekend’s series against St. Cloud State to benefit her squad.
“I think they are going to come out flying and be excited that they are going to play because tomorrow is not guaranteed,” Muzerall said. “We learned a lot from last year, so we are going to take advantage of the opportunity we have this weekend.”
Ohio State last saw Minnesota Duluth Dec. 3-4, 2021, in Duluth, Minnesota, where the series was split, accounting for one of Ohio State’s three losses this season. Muzerall said the split series in December was upsetting for the team.
“We shouldn’t have allowed that to happen,” Muzerall said. “Duluth is good, but we have to make sure we compete and complete two games of hockey.”
This series marks senior defenseman Sophie Jaques’ first game back on the ice after being awarded Western Collegiate Hockey Association Defender of the Week Jan. 10. This was her fifth time this season she has received the weekly honor.
Jaques is second in the nation in points, and leads the team with 37 points. She is still first in the nation with nine power-play goals, despite the canceled series.
Jaques said she has enjoyed creating a lot of offense, and attributes her stronger offensive capabilities to her defense.
“I think a lot of it comes from both our power play and just moving the puck up quickly off the breakouts, and that’s helped me generate some offense,” Jaques said.
Muzerall said the team is going to take this series one game at a time and try to capitalize on their home-ice advantage.
“We are aware of who we are playing and the importance of it, but we can’t get that to be noise and a distraction,” Muzerall said. “We are going to look at it one game at a time, respect our opponents and take advantage of being at home.”
The series can be streamed on Big Ten Plus.