MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota goaltender Noora Räty stopped all 20 Ohio State shots Saturday in posting an 8-0 victory, her 83rd career win, which ties her with Jody Horak for the most wins in Gophers’ history.
Räty, though, was humbled by the fact after the game.
“I don’t really think about it, because if I thought about those things before a game, I usually don’t play well, so I just try to put that aside and just play my own game,” Räty said.
She also owns the Minnesota record for shutouts with 30.
In the locker room after the game, Räty told her teammates that the record belongs to everyone that played with her over the last four years, pointing out that she can’t score goals, so her teammates need to score for the team to win.
The most tense moments for her came in the game’s opening four minutes. The Buckeyes (5-3-0, 3-3-0 WCHA) applied an aggressive forecheck and had the game’s first five shots on goal.
“We executed early the way we wanted to come out and play with a little bit more physicality and a little bit more assertiveness in the play,” Ohio State coach Nate Handrahan said.
As she has often done over her four years in maroon and gold, the Minnesota goalie kept the game scoreless until her offense could get going.
“I think it was kind of huge because if they had scored in the first couple minutes, it would have been a whole different game,” Räty said.
Once they got out of their own end, the Gophers (8-0-0, 4-0-0 WCHA) quickly netted the first goal, as Kelly Terry converted a pass from Hannah Brandt as the team skated with an extra attacker during a delayed penalty.
“It seemed like from that point, it gave our team a little bit of energy,” Terry said. “It was kind of dead on the bench even and then after that, everyone kind of lightened up and turned our game around.”
Becky Kortum had a prime opportunity minutes later, but her shot clanged off the crossbar and out. However, at 12:59, the senior center buried a pass from Rachael Bona for a 2-0 lead. The combination clicked for three goals after being reunited the near the end of the previous game.
“She’s a great player; I love being on her line,” Kortum said. “I think he just wanted to change things up, because our lines were a little stagnant. Only the first one was producing.”
Kortum has five goals in a month after only scoring twice as a junior. She switched her jersey number to 4 before the season and she said that assistant coach Nadine Muzerall tells her that a lot of goals come with the number that Muzerall wore when setting Minnesota scoring records.
Senior defenseman Mira Jalosuo made a pretty move to set up Maryanne Menefee for a goal that put Minnesota up by three 66 seconds later.
The Gophers killed off a pair of penalties with a minute of overlap before the opening period ended. Thereafter, the only questions were whether Räty would get her shutout and how many goals the hosts would tally.
The second answer was eight, as Bona scored from a bad angle, Jalosuo deflected in a Rachel Ramsey shot on the power play and then Amanda Kessel contributed her sixth career hat trick, the final one coming on the penalty kill, giving the junior three shorthanded goals on the season.
“We talk all the time about how we need scoring from more than just one line and tonight was another great example of everybody contributing,” Minnesota coach Brad Frost said. “When you can do that, it makes it pretty tough to stop.”
Ramsey led the way in the assist column with three.
After opening the season with five straight wins, the Buckeyes now find themselves in the midst of a three-game losing streak as they head home for a series next weekend with Bemidji State with things to work on.
“We need to be better on faceoffs,” Handrahan said. “I thought Minnesota did a great job on faceoffs as far as centermen taking draws, but also schemes in different situations. We need to be better in both of those areas.
“They’re such a dynamic team that they throw so many different looks at you and so many different strengths, that playing against them is a little bit different. Sometimes it can get you out of your own rhythm as far as what you want to do because you have to minimize their strengths and there [are] so many of them. Whether it’s their ‘D’ corps or whether it is their forwards and explosiveness, or trying to get to their goaltender who is an all-world goaltender. They throw an awful lot of things at you, so sometimes you go on one side where you’re game-planning against them and then there’s the other side where we concentrate on what we’re doing. There’s a lot of things we’ve got to get better at and thoroughness is certainly one of them.”
The Gophers head back on the road to take on another ranked team in Grand Forks, N.D.
“We’ll have another test next weekend and we’re looking forward to getting up to North Dakota,” Frost said.