The Ohio State women’s ice hockey team is still searching for consistency after losing both games in its weekend series to Bemidji State, falling to 4-6-0 on the season.
On Friday, the Buckeyes lost 2-1 despite outshooting the Beavers 22-17 in what turned out to be a stifling defensive game. Freshman forward Dana Rasmussen scored the lone goal for OSU. Senior Hannah Moher and sophomore Bailey Wright scored for the Beavers.
On Saturday, the third period began tied 1-1 with the Buckeyes leading in shots 27-14. But two goals late in the third period gave Bemidji State the victory and the series sweep.
“I think for the most part we controlled both the games. I thought we outplayed them for the majority of the game,” OSU coach Jenny Potter said. “I think there were just a few times that our players broke down mentally.”
Bemidji State junior goaltender Brittni Mowat started both games for the Beavers, allowing just two goals on the weekend despite facing a combined 55 shots in the two games.
“Bemidji has a great team, but they’re not invincible. We had plenty of scoring opportunities, plenty of chances, our team needs to learn how to bury them,” Potter said.
Redshirt freshman Alex LaMere started both games in goal for the Buckeyes, turning away all but three shots on the weekend, while going through long stretches of quiet net play. With the lull in opportunities to save shots, LaMere said she just tries to stay locked in.
“It’s definitely a mental game at that point, you just have to keep sharp on your edges,” LaMere said.
The second game opened with the Buckeyes holding an 8-1 shot advantage, but the team believed the tempo of the game picked up considerably as it wore on. LaMere said she thinks the defense was able to keep pace with the Beavers’ attack.
“Our defensive zone has come a really long way,” LaMere said. “(The skaters) stick with your girl, if we can play five-on-five that way we’ll be just fine.”
LaMere expressed no frustration in having sit through a quiet first half of play before a run of fast-paced play in the final 30 minutes.
“Yesterday we saw a lot of the same thing as today, it started off slower and then the pace picked up, from a goalie’s standpoint. (We) just have to keep moving and keep in the game,” LaMere said.
Bemidji State entered the weekend series with one of the top ranked defenses in all of college hockey, however, OSU expressed frustration at the opportunities missed having outshot the Beavers in both games.
“I guess they’re learning the hard way,” Potter said. “It can be frustrating as a coach, but it’s the learning process they’re going through.”
Senior forward Kendall Curtis, who scored the lone OSU goal on Saturday, voiced her irritation with the lack of offensive results, but she said she believes in the team’s system.
“Sometimes it can get frustrating, but we what want to focus on is getting new looks and how to create new offense, that was our focus,” Curtis said.
Curtis’ goal was the product of strong communication and game planning with her linemates: sophomore Julianna Iafallo and junior Claudia Kepler.
“We really know our roles,” Curtis said. “We know that the best way for us to operate is by playing with some giddy-up, winning battles, keeping it simple, keeping our feet moving.”
Curtis, who earlier this week was named an alternate captain, said she thinks the play of her line is important to the success of the program, which is struggling to score with only 22 goals in its first 10 games.
“The giddy-up we bring to the ice every shift is really important,” Curtis said. “We know that.”
The Buckeyes are set to begin a five-game road swing when they travel to face North Dakota in Grand Forks for a weekend series on Nov. 14 and 15.