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After three straight losses to Minnesota in games where it had scored first, Ohio State had better success by being the team that rallied from behind, as the Buckeyes won a shootout after a 1-1 tie.
“I was thinking that when they scored —- this might turn in our favor,” OSU coach Nadine Muzerall said.
It did, when 87 seconds into the third period, Katie Matheny tied the score for OSU (11-12-3, 5-12-3-1 WCHA) with her fifth goal of the year, assisted by Maddy Field.
The day before, Minnesota (17-5-3, 13-4-3-2 WCHA) won when a puck went in off a skate; this time, the visitors got the friendly bounce.
“It happens; pucks bounce everywhere,” Gophers goalie Emma May said. “You’ve got to come back and get it going again.”
Muzerall was a member of the Gophers’ first recruiting class when their program was launched, and she knew the late Robert Ridder, from whom Ridder Arena gets its name.
“I think I was one of his favorites, and I think that he’s the [hockey] god that gave me that bounce,” she said.
Kassidy Sauve, who had 35 saves for the Buckeyes, and May with 25 stops, didn’t permit further movement on the scoreboard through the rest of regulation and the five-minute overtime, so the game went to a shootout.
“I felt pretty confident with our goalie,” Muzerall said.
Lee Stecklein beat Sauve with the first attempt, but Dani Sadek answered for Ohio State. Megan Wolfe looked to have put Minnesota back on top in the third round, but the referee ruled Sauve had controlled the puck before dropping it into the goal. Julianna Iafallo scored in the seventh round to secure the shootout win before 2,793 fans.
Halfway through a scoreless game, Sydney Baldwin fired a shot from the left point that found the top right corner of the net with Sarah Potomak getting the lone assist.
“We were starting to get a lot of momentum; you could just feel it,” Baldwin said. “We were getting so many pucks to the blue paint, so it was awesome that one of them finally went in and we got rewarded.”
Both teams saw their rosters thinned over the series as Lauren Boyle did not dress Saturday for the Buckeyes and Minnesota’s Kate Schipper did not return after she was cross checked in the first period.
Both teams are on the road for games Friday and Saturday, with OSU heading to Duluth, and the Gophers facing St. Cloud State.