icehockey-women-nc flag

Patrick Donnelly | | February 4, 2023

No. 1 Ohio State and No. 3 Minnesota women's hockey battle to hard-fought series split

Ohio State wins its first women's hockey championship

No. 1 Ohio State and No. 3 Minnesota women's hockey battled to a hard-fought series split in a potential national championship matchup that did not disappoint. 

The Golden Gophers (23-4-2, 20-2-2-2 WCHA) took Friday's Game 1, 4-2, before the Buckeyes (24-3-2, 19-3-1 WCHA) bounced back in Saturday's rematch with a 5-1 win, handing Minnesota its first loss of the season at home. 

The Gophers are now 2-1-1 in the season series against the defending national champion after a win and tie in their first series in the first half of the year. 

Abbey Murphy scored twice for Minnesota in Game 1, while Taylor Heise stayed hot with three assists. Peyton Hemp opened the scoring late in the first period when Josefin Bouveng found her at the backdoor for a tao-in. Abigail Boreen doubled the lead to 2-0 just 49 seconds into the second after Heise's cross-ice pass found a way through traffic, and Murphy extended it to 3-0 on the power play, dancing through a number of Buckeyes before beating Raygan Kirk (23 saves). 

Gabby Rosenthal got OSU on the board in the back half of the second when she got her own rebound after missing wide on Skylar Vetter (31 saves). Jennifer Gardiner (one goal, one assist) went coast to coast 16 seconds into the third to cut it to 3-2, but Murphy's second of the night with 6:14 left in regulation out the game away for the Gophers.

RECAPPING FRIDAY: Minnesota topples Ohio State, St. Cloud stuns Wisconsin and more from a stacked Friday

Game 2 saw a much different story, with the Buckeyes taking over the game after falling into an early hole. 

Five different skaters found the back of the net for Ohio State with Paetyn Levis notching a goal and an assist, while Gardiner had another strong outing with two assists. Amanda Thiele made 32 saves.

Madeline Wethington opened the scoring for Minnesota 7:32 into the game when she sent in a wrister from the point that found a way through. That was all the traction the Gophers would have on the scoreboard, though. 

Sloane Matthews evened it up with 10:33 left in the first on a 2-on-1, and Hadley Hartmetz gave the Bucks the led just 19 seconds later when she beat Vetter (27 saves) from a sharp angle off the rush. 

FROZEN FOUR: Here's everything you need to know for the 2023 women's Frozen Four

In the third period, Rosenthal scored for the second consecutive game to add insurance just 29 seconds into the period, driving to the net and chipping the puck in. Kenzie Hauswirth and Paetyn Levis scored 1:08 apart late in regulation to put the game fully out of reach.

Ohio State will return to action next weekend, looking to keep its momentum going when they host St. Thomas. As for Minnesota, their difficult stretch continues in a home series against Wisconsin. 

If the season series between the Gophers and Buckeyes is any sort of indication, the WCHA playoffs and NCAA tournament should be a treat. 

2023 Men's Frozen Four: Predicting the national championship

The 2023 Men's Frozen Four is exactly one week away, and this year's field is one of the best in recent memory. Here's who's Patrick Donnelly thinks will win it all.

Breaking down the top-3 finalists for the 2023 Hobey Baker Award

The 2023 Men's Frozen Four is exactly one week away, and we're now down to the top-three finalists for the 2023 Hobey Baker Award, presented annually to the top men's college hockey player in the nation. 

Here is every NHL prospect competing in the 2023 Men's Frozen Four

The 2023 Men's Frozen Four is loaded with potential professional hockey prospects with a whopping 41 NHL draft picks between Minnesota, Quinnipiac, Michigan and Boston University combined.