For the second year in a row, the Buckeyes clinched a Frozen Four berth by winning their quarterfinal game against Quinnipiac at the OSU Ice Rink, where they hosted the Bobcats on Saturday as the top seed in the NCAA Tournament, just like Ohio State. It was last year when she won the National Championship.
While the Buckeyes needed two overtimes to beat Quinnipiac in 2022, the victory came more decisively this year as Ohio State outlasted the Bobcats 5-2 in front of a losing crowd in Columbus.
Just like in the 2022 quarterfinal game, Quinnipiac scored the first goal of the game. That goal came with only 1:02 left to play in the first period when Kendall Cooper hit a powerhouse after penalty kick against Ohio State’s Lauren Bernard.
Ohio State goaltender Amanda Thiele made 11 saves in the first period of play, but Quinnipiac’s Logan Angers blocked all 10 of Ohio State’s first half shots on goal, including two separate shots by Emma Maltice and Paytaine Levis that looked like excellent chances for the Buckeyes. to join the board.
Quinnipiac threatened to extend their lead just midway through the second period on a breakaway from Sadie Burt, but Ohio State defenseman Sophie Jacques caught Burt from behind to deflect the ball away from Burt before she could put her shot down. Less than two minutes later, Ohio State brought the score back when Gabe Rosenthal scored the Buckeyes’ first goal of the game on a power play after a tight kick against Quinnipiac’s Madison Chantler.
Less than four minutes after that, Ohio State took its first lead of the game when Bernard fired a shot into the top left corner of the goal to put the Buckeyes up 2-1 with four minutes left in the second period.
Ohio State dominated the action throughout the second period, outscoring Quinnipiac 24-3 in the middle of the 20th minute.
Ohio State coach Nadine Mozzerall was proud of how her team fought back in the second half after suffering an early deficit.
“There was a little bit of tension in the first period, and we have to get away from that and feel confident right away, because we might not be able to come back next time,” Muszerall said. “So we just had to be a little bit proud in our (defensive) district, but otherwise, I was very impressed with how they rallied the last two periods. I mean, especially that second period, outscoring a really good opponent 24-3 in the National Quarterfinals, I think. It says a lot about our team.”
Emma Peschel added the Buckeyes’ lead just eight minutes into the third period when she blasted a left side shot past Ohio State by two goals with less than 12 minutes to play. Maltais and Levis both scored with an assist on goal.
Jaques cemented the Ohio State win with 5:15 to play when Award finalist Patty Kazmaier scored her ninth power play goal of the year on assists from Makenna Webster and Jennifer Gardiner following a three-point penalty against Quinnipiac’s Kate Reilly.
Quinnipiac’s Maddie Samoskevich added a second goal for the Bobcats with 3:36 to play after Quinnipiac pulled a goaltender, but the Buckeyes would restore their lead to three goals with 28.8 seconds left when Jackies fired into an empty net for her 24th goal of the season, making it the best All-time leading scorer among defensemen in WCHA history—leading Mozzerall to say after the game that she believes Jack should win the Patty Kazmaier Award, the Heisman’s equivalent in women’s college hockey.
“She’s had years of uninterrupted dominance,” Muszerall said. “More than 100 points in two years, I mean, that’s unheard of.”
The Buckeyes’ rating improved to 32-5-2 on the season with Saturday’s victory. Ohio State will now head to Duluth, Minnesota, where the Northeast’s No. 5-ranked Buckeyes will play the Frozen Four Semifinals at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. Wisconsin and Minnesota will face off in the other semifinals at 7 p.m. on Friday. The Frozen Four semi-finals will be broadcast on ESPN+.
Although she says the Buckeyes focus on winning one game at a time rather than aiming for a repeat, Muzerall is confident in her team’s chances of winning the national championship for the second year in a row.
“As I said to them, I don’t want to get into a fight with anyone else,” Mozzerall said. “Because I honestly believe that if we had this team versus the last team, this team would beat them. I really do. I think we have more power offensively. I think our defense is more experienced and talented.”
After facing Ohio State in the NCAA quarterfinals for the second year in a row, Quinnipiac coach Casey Turner wouldn’t be surprised if the Buckeyes make another national championship.
“They’re relentless. Their puck pressure is great, and they just have a great shooting mentality. They’re not afraid to block shots, get blocked and will fire again. And they hit the net really hard. So, you know, I’m sure they’re probably going to have a good run here in Frozen Four.”
“Infuriatingly humble internet trailblazer. Twitter buff. Beer nerd. Bacon scholar. Coffee practitioner.”
Joel Embiid vs. Nuggets. The return of James Harden
Cristiano Ronaldo scores two goals with a new celebration against Luxembourg
A brutal change-up sinks a valiant comeback effort: The Penguins beat the Caps, 4-3