MINNEAPOLIS — Led by Brenda Reinen’s 23 saves, No. 6 Minnesota edged Ohio State Friday in the teams’ WCHA series opener at Mariucci Arena.
Buckeye left wing Jeni Creary recorded her ninth goal of the season and Ohio State’s first of the game at 9:38 in the first period. Creary picked up the puck from Christine Patno in the neutral zone and coasted to just above the right faceoff circle. Her shot sailed under Reinen and found the back of the net. Creary’s nine goals leads the nation.
Shots were even at seven in the first; however, the Gophers had more scoring opportunities.
At the 1:47 mark of the second stanza, UM’s Kelly Stephens tied the game at one with her goal on the breakaway from La Toya Clarke and Cecilia Retelle. Ohio State goalie April Stojak saw 11 Gopher shots in the second period and recorded 10 saves, including a glove save on Clarke’s shot at 14:17.
The Buckeyes managed three shots on goal during two power-play opportunities but were unable to convert.
UM’s Sarma Pone netted the game-winner on the power play at 3:47 in the third period, from Clarke and Ronda Curtin.
Minnesota outshot Ohio State, 25-24. Stojak picked up 23 saves, tying her season high.
The Buckeyes were unable to convert in two power-play opportunities; the Gophers were 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
The Buckeyes slipped to 2-3-2 overall (1-2-2 WCHA) and the Gophers improved to 4-2-1 overall (3-1-1 WCHA). Ohio State and Minnesota will meet in their series finale Saturday at 8:05 p.m.