Buckeyes complete sweep of season series at Bemidji State
Only two teams were in action this week, as Ohio State traveled to Bemidji and sent the No. 9 Beavers into the break on a three-game losing skid. The visitors took command of the series opener with a power-play goal just past the midway point of the opening period. Brittni Mowat got a piece of Taylor Kuehl’s shot, but the puck popped into the air and found the net, with Kari Schmitt earning an assist. Despite a 33-14 advantage in shots, the Beavers were unable to get anything past junior goaltender Stacy Danczak, and their cause was hurt by a late major penalty that forced them to finish the game on the penalty kill. Although short-handed, Bemidji State pulled Mowat for an extra attacker in attempt to even the score, but Julia McKinnon hit the empty net for a 2-0 Buckeyes win.
Claudia Kepler scored both OSU goals on Saturday to help her team to a 2-1 victory. Ohio State again took a first-period lead, but BSU freshman Alexis Joyce answered midway through the game with an unassisted goal on a power play. However, Kepler countered with an unassisted tally of her own with just over seven minutes left in regulation for the final margin. Danczak made 22 stops in net, as the Buckeyes definitely had the answer defensively, holding Bemidji State to just two goals total in the four games the two squads played.
The defeats were costly for Bemidji State in the standings. Instead of moving ahead of Minnesota-Duluth as they hoped, the Beavers were passed by Ohio State and fall to fifth, just two points ahead of North Dakota. Although OSU, BSU, and UND have played the same number of games, only North Dakota is done with first-place Wisconsin. Minnesota is five points behind the Badgers in second, and the Gophers have two games in hand. Third-place UMD is 10 points back. St. Cloud State has settled into the seventh spot, and winless Minnesota State has only one point and looks doomed to the basement.
The ECAC has yet to reach the halfway point, and Quinnipiac owns the points lead by one over Clarkson. Harvard and St. Lawrence are tied for third another two points back, but the Crimson have two games in hand over the other three squads in the top four. Another point down finds Cornell and Princeton tied for fifth, with the Big Red also having two games in hand over everyone but Harvard in the upper division. It’s four points back to Yale in seventh, and the Bulldogs are a point up on eighth-place Dartmouth, with a game in hand. Those eight teams look destined to be bound for the postseason, with Brown, Rensselaer, Union, and Colgate all sitting in a tie for last with a single win.
Hockey East standings
Boston College is perfect in league play and sits two games clear of Boston University. The Terriers still control their destiny in the race, because the two have yet to play head to head. Maine is third, three points shy of BU. Northeastern trails the Black Bears by three points but has a game in hand. There is a gap of five points back to Providence in fifth. New Hampshire is sixth and a point behind the Friars. Vermont is in a seventh-place tie with winless Connecticut, a game behind UNH. Connecticut has a game in hand on the Catamounts and two in hand on the Wildcats and Friars.
It’s a familiar story in the CHA, with Mercyhurst setting the pace with half of its games played. Syracuse and Penn State are tied for second three points back, and the Orange have a game in hand on the Lakers and the Nittany Lions. Lindenwood is a game back in fourth place. Robert Morris is three points behind in fifth place, but with two games in hand. RIT is another three points back in last place, but the Tigers have a game in hand on the Colonials and three games in hand on the Lions.
Everyone is on break
The only game left on the 2014 schedule has Dartmouth traveling to Northeastern on New Year’s Eve. The action for 2015 commences on Jan. 2 with four ECAC contests and two nonconference games.