Series preview: Gophers women vs. Ohio State
4 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday, Ridder Arena * Stream: BTN-Plus both days
U, Buckeyes face off for fifth and sixth times this season
Gophers at a glance: Second-ranked Minnesota (9-5-1) is coming off a series against No. 1 Wisconsin in which it lost 4-3 in overtime and then tied 2-2, getting an extra standings point with a shootout triumph. In the opener, the Badgers rallied from a 3-1 deficit, knotting the score with 15 seconds left in the third period. In the finale, the Gophers overcame a 2-0 second-period deficit on goals by Abigail Boreen and Grace Zumwinkle. "A good weekend overall for us against Wisconsin,'' Gophers coach Brad Frost said. "We're disappointed and it still stings to let that one on Friday slip away.'' … The Gophers and Ohio State have met four times already this season, with a season-opening split (4-0, 1-2) at Ridder Arena in November and another split (7-4, 1-3) at Columbus on Jan. 29-30. Zumwinkle has four goals and one assist against Ohio State this season, with Taylor Heise (1-2-3) and Emily Oden (1-2-3) right behind. Zumwinkle and Heise each have three game-winning goals this season, tied for second nationally. Goalie Lauren Bench is 2-1 against the Buckeyes, stopping 98 of 104 shots. "Our teams know each other really, really well,'' Frost said. " … It should be a good series because we are similar. We want to take away time and space; we want to be aggressive; and we want to defend.''
Buckeyes at a glance: Fourth-ranked Ohio State (9-5) was idle last weekend. The Buckeyes are 2-2 against Wisconsin this season, with a pair of series splits. … The Buckeyes have outshot the Gophers 144-105 in the four meetings. Jenna Buglioni (7-4-11), Tatum Skaggs (6-5-11) and Jennifer Gardiner (5-6-11) share Ohio State's scoring lead, with Liz Schepers (4-6-10) and Emma Maltais (2-8-10) one point behind. Maltais has two goals and five assists against the Gophers, while Schepers has two goals and two assists. Andrea Braendli has started 12 of 14 games, going 7-5 with a 1.98 goals-against average and .921 save percentage.