No. 2 Ohio State begins a five-game road trip against Minnesota State

Ohio State main hitter Gabby Rosenthal (15) battles for the puck in the Ohio State-Minnesota Duluth game on Jan. 21. Ohio State lost 0-1. Credit: Gabe Haferman | photo editing assistant

After playing their last three series at home, the Buckeyes will travel for their first road trip of 2022.

No. 2 Ohio State (19-5-0) begins its five-game road trip against Minnesota State (12-13-0) in Mankato, Minnesota on Friday. The Buckeyes are coming off a split series against No. 1 Minnesota, while the Mavericks lost both games of their series to No. 4 Minnesota Duluth.

Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said she’s thrilled the team is back on the road and the trip comes at a perfect time.

“It’s going to be a stress-free week, getting to know you and bonding, and I think it comes at a brilliant time right before we start the playoffs,” Muzerall said. “I think it’s a really good time for our team to build on this momentum and get ready for some good hockey games.

The Buckeyes swept the Mavericks in their Nov. 19-20, 2021 series at the Ohio State Ice Rink. Ohio State sophomore goaltender Amanda Thiele earned her first career shutout against the Mavericks when the Buckeyes won 9-0 in Game 2 of the series.

Minnesota State senior forward Brittyn Fleming leads the team with 32 points. Fleming became the second Maverick in history to record more than 100 points after scoring a goal and an assist on Friday against the Bulldogs.

Muzerall said Minnesota State head coach John Harrington brought in hard-hitting players, which created a talented roster for the Mavericks.

“Mankato has had some very good players over the past few years,” Muzerall said. “I think Harrington and his team have done a really good job recruiting and they have some really key players and they’re going to be good.”

Ohio State senior defenseman Sophie Jaques earned several conference honors this week after picking up five points in the Buckeyes’ series against the Gophers.

She received her eighth Western Collegiate Hockey Association Defenseman of the Week honor of the season on Monday. She was also named the WCHA Defender of the Month for January on Tuesday.

Jaques said the Mavericks are a solid team and the Buckeyes will have to play hard during the series.

“Mankato are a good team,” Jaques said. “We’re going to have to play our game to beat them. It will be a good test for us on the road.

Minnesota State junior guard Calla Frank has a .901 save percentage and hasn’t started in four clean games this season, including two against the Buckeyes.

With Frank in the fold this weekend, Ohio State graduate forward Liz Schepers said the Buckeyes expect to see a stronger Mavericks team this series.

“It was a bit of a unique situation with their goalie and everything, so we know we’re going to see a better group on their rink,” Schepers said. “It’s a very important trip for us to build momentum heading into the playoffs.”

Muzerall said the team knows the Mavericks have upset other teams this season, including the Gophers on Jan. 15, and the Buckeyes need to be ready at all times for whatever comes their way.

“Their goalkeeper can have a game turned off and control the whole change of a game,” Muzerall said. “I just think in our league you never know and you can never guess your opponent. They must always be respected. »

The puck will drop at Minnesota State Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m. Matches will be streamed on Big Ten Network Plus.

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