There is no time for rest for the Ohio State women’s hockey team, as it hits the ice for the second time this week for a series against No. 2 Minnesota.
The Buckeyes (7-4-0, 5-3-0) played a two-game series last weekend, then played against Mercyhurst on Tuesday, before getting set to take on the Golden Gophers (7-1-2, 5-1-2).
OSU junior forward Kendall Curtis said the team is ready for the demands of a Division I hockey schedule.
“It’s a lot of hockey to play in a seven-day span, but this is the kind of thing we prepare for in preseason,” Curtis said.
Coach Nate Handrahan gave his players the day off on Thursday in order to prepare for the series.
“Having the day off from practice, we are expected to do what we need to in order to recover,” freshman goaltender Kassidy Sauve said. “A lot of girls are hydrating and foam rolling (a stretching exercise). I think we are really ready in a physical sense.”
When the Buckeyes met the Golden Gophers last season, they lost three games and tied the final matchup. That game on Jan. 11 was tied 2-2 after overtime, and after a nine-round shootout, the Buckeyes ended up taking an extra point in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings, winning the shootout, 1-0.
That shootout victory can help fuel OSU as it takes the ice this weekend, Curtis said.
“Carrying that into this weekend will give us a boost of confidence because we know that we can handle a team like this,” she said.
Minnesota is coming off of a loss to Bemidji State in its last game, and Handrahan said OSU will need to capitalize on that.
“One advantage that we have going into this weekend is having played a lot of games recently,” Handrahan said. “They are coming off a loss and a tie and had a bye week last weekend.”
Curtis, who is tied for second on the OSU goalscoring charts this season, agreed with her coach.
“We want to try and keep the positive momentum going forward for us and the negative momentum going forward for them,” Curtis said.
The Golden Gophers’ No. 2 ranking might mean a lot to some, but not to Handrahan.
“Rankings are for the media and fans,” Handrahan said. “We feel that if we play our game each and every night with all out effort and focus, we can get the result we are looking for. It always boils down to the details and the process for us.”
Sauve said the Buckeyes are ready to take the ice and show the Golden Gophers how the Buckeyes can play.
“For a game like this, it is easy to get fired up,” Sauve said. “We really want to send them a message.”
Puck drop between the Buckeyes and Golden Gophers on Friday is 6:07 p.m. The second game of the series is set for Saturday at 2:07 p.m. Both games are scheduled to be played at the OSU Ice Rink.