After coming up just short of the national title game in 2021 as the No. 3 in the NCAA tournament, the Ohio State’s women’s hockey team is looking to reload and make another run at the title next in 2022, and took a major step toward it on April 27. Ohio State announced the addition of Clarkson defender transfer Lauren Bernard, who will be available immediately for the Buckeyes, with three years of eligibility remaining.
A Madison, Ohio native, Bernard spent her first two seasons in college with Clarkson, one of the nation’s strongest women’s hockey programs. She played in all 37 games for the Golden Knights as a freshman in 2019, racking up 13 points (second-best among defenders) and a +23 plus/minus, third-best on the team.
In 2020, Bernard took a step back offensively with just four points, but still played in 19 games with an even plus/minus. She found herself slipping a bit in the defensive pairings because of the rise of freshman Nicole Gosling, who led the Clarkson defenders with 14 points in 19 games.
Although the depth chart also played a role, Clarkson cited a desire to return home and the opportunity to compete for titles as the motivation behind her transfer back to her home state.
“Growing up my family and I were diehard Ohio State fans for as long as I can remember,” said Bernard. “I knew it was a special place and everyone in the state takes great pride in their school. I’m just excited to be a part of it now.”
“The level of work ethic and competition is what attracted me to this situation. There’s a culture and accountability in everything that’s done. I know I’ll become a better player as a result of it.”
She’ll join an already strong defensive group in Columbus, which is set to return super senior Lisa Bruno; rising seniors Madison Bizal, Sophie Jacques and Eve Savander; rising junior Teghan Inglis and star rising sophomore Riley Brengman. She’ll likely slot into the top four, and could look to pair with the more defense-focused Jacques, joining Bizal and Brengman as the offensive defensemen on the roster.
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