Riding a three-game winning streak, the Ohio State women’s hockey team fell to No. 8 Mercyhurst, 3-0, Tuesday night.
The Buckeyes have faced the Lakers three times in program history, going 1-2 over that trio of matchups. Despite failing to even the series record, OSU coach Nate Handrahan said he felt OSU matched up well with its opponent at the OSU Ice Rink.
“Mercyhurst is No. 8 in the country and I think we played them pretty evenly scoring aside,” Handrahan said.
Even though the team wasn’t pleased with the outcome, Handrahan said the loss gave the Buckeyes insight into where they stand.
When the two teams met on Oct. 5, 2013, the game went into overtime to decide the winner. OSU won the game, 4-3, thanks to now-senior forward Taylor Kuehl, who netted the game-winning goal.
The first period went by with no score, as freshman goalie Kassidy Sauve posted five saves.
Senior defenseman Sara Schmitt said the first period was the highlight of the game for the Buckeyes and was where they played with the most energy.
“First period went well but we kind of only played half the game, and you can’t win if you don’t play the whole game,” Schmitt said.
In the second frame, the Lakers totaled eight penalty minutes while the Buckeyes added six. Mercyhurst capitalized on one of the Lakers power-plays to take the lead.
Mercyhurst freshman forward Sarah Robello put a shot past Sauve’s stick side with 11:08 left in the second. Even though the Buckeyes outshot the Lakers, 8-6, the period ended with OSU down one.
“Our low point was the middle of the second period we took some shifts off mentally and they capitalized on that,” senior forward Danielle Gagne said. “We stopped playing smart.”
Skating onto the ice for the third period, the Lakers were playing with high energy. With 15:12 left in the period, the Buckeyes were on a two-minute power-play. Despite the man-up opportunity, OSU failed to put a goal on the board.
Power-play effort is something Handrahan said he wasn’t pleased with.
“Special teams, we’ve got to solve that issue, because right now it’s a major factor. If we get one on the five-on-three in the second period might be a different ball game,” Handrahan said. “We have to do some things to create opportunity.”
After a penalty on both teams for roughing, the game picked up in physicality.
A few minutes later, Luczak was taken out of the game. Referees called a five minute major penalty on the Mercyhurst player for game misconduct, for head contact to an OSU player
Mercyhurst junior forward Jenna Dingeldein scored an empty net goal 19:30 into the third period, completing the scoring in the 3-0 shutout.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to keep home ice this weekend for a series against Minnesota. The first game is scheduled for Friday at 6:07 p.m. The second tilt is scheduled for Saturday at 2:07 p.m at the OSU Ice Rink.