The Ohio State women’s hockey team’s struggles continue, as it lost twice to St. Cloud State over the weekend to sink to 7-17-0 on the year.
The Buckeyes, who lost both games 2-1, have now lost five straight games, as well as 11 of their last 13.
On Friday, the Huskies jumped out to a one-goal lead after freshman Hannah Potrykus scored 12:35 into the game. The Buckeyes battled back and leveled the score when senior forward Julia McKinnon found the back of the net in the second period.
But it wasn’t a tie game for too long.
St. Cloud answered, less than two minutes later, on a lamp-lighter by freshman forward Julia Tylke.
Despite its efforts in the final period, OSU was unable to create good enough looks to tie the score.
Saturday’s game opened with a scoreless first period but that changed nearly as soon as the second stanza began.
A mere 40 seconds into the middle frame, senior forward Molly Illikainen scored for the Huskies, giving them a 1-0 lead.
The Buckeyes began their quest to get back into the game from there. Sophomore forward Lauren Spring did just that, less than four minutes after St. Cloud’s first goal, as she beat the goaltender to tie the game up.
But, just like on Friday, the Huskies clinched the victory in the second period on a goal from Tylke. Her second game-winning score came with just 14 ticks left in the second period.
Despite falling short both nights, the Buckeyes led both games in shots, which is something the team takes as a positive moving forward.
“You know we’re getting lots of shots at the net,” Spring said. “Realistically, it’s just something as a team you just keep building off of.“
Both games were very tight contests but OSU assistant coach Carson Duggan thought there was one aspect that made the difference in the games for the Buckeyes.
“I think lack of execution,” Duggan said. “I thought our girls played a really good weekend overall. I thought that for the most part they dominated play and outshot them, but at the end of the day its goals that determine the outcome of the game and they just scored a few more than we did.”
Spring said she thinks the team played well together, despite a few plays not going OSU’s way.
“I thought we battled really hard and came together as a team,” Spring said. “It’s just a bounce here and there and, unfortunately, we didn’t get the right bounces.
In the future, the team will look to concentrate on the area right in front of the net to turn shots into goals.
“I think what we need to focus on is that dirty area right in front of the net, right on top of the crease that’s the area we need to own,” Duggan said. “Win the battles and get the rebounds. You’re not going to score many goals on the first initial shot.
“It’s the rebounds and second and third chances that I think we need to just improve a little bit.”
The team wants to build on its solid play this weekend as it marches onward this season.
“Going forward (we’re) just looking at this weekend positively,” Spring said. “Just taking what we did well this weekend and continuing that.”
OSU is set to travel to Mankato, Minnesota, next weekend to face off against Minnesota State. The Buckeyes are scheduled to play the Mavericks at 3:07 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.