As the postseason wears on in women’s collegiate hockey, No. 1 Ohio State is rounding into form as defending national champions.
Friday the Buckeyes beat No. 7 Minnesota Duluth in the semifinals of the WCHA Conference Tournament by a 2-1 final tally. They move on to the championship game Saturday.
Late in the second period is where OSU took over after the first 30 minutes of the contest went scoreless. The goals came in a flurry, both scored within 70 seconds of each other.
Ohio State junior goaltender stifled nearly every Duluth scoring opportunity, saving 25 of the 26 shots that flew her way.
Senior forward Brooke Bink got the action started with a bit of a hustle goal, flying down on the forecheck to steal a puck near the Bulldogs’ goal and sliding it past goalie Emma Soderburg in one smooth motion. Ohio State led 1-0 with 9:10 to play in the second period.
Roughly a minute later, graduate forward Emma Maltais snatched an attempted clearance from mid-air with her hand, dropped it in front of her stick and slapped a shot past Soderburg’s left side to make it a 2-0 affair with 8:12 to play in the second period. That advantage held into the second intermission, with Thiele going 19 for 19 on saves in the first 40 minutes.
As time wound down, Duluth pulled its goalie with three minutes still to play in hopes of getting back in the game. It managed to cut the deficit to one goal on a score from junior defenseman Nina Jobst-Smith, but a holding penalty negated any advantage and helped seal the victory for Ohio State.
Ohio State advances to play the winner of No. 3 Minnesota and No. 6 Wisconsin in the WCHA Conference Championship Saturday.