St. Cloud, Minn. -- The St. Cloud State University women's hockey team played its heart out this afternoon (Jan. 29) against the Ohio State University, however it was a late goal scored by OSU's Ally Tarr at the 19:09 mark of the final period which handed the Huskies a devastaing 3-2 loss in the National Hockey Center.
St. Cloud State rookie forwards Michelle Burke (London, Ontario) and Julia Gilbert (Hermantown) each netted goals in the loss.
Ohio State cracked the scoreboard first at the 15:47 mark of the initial period. The Buckeyes were cycling the puck in the Husky zone when OSU's Natalie Spooner centered the puck from the boards to Minttu Tuominen for the score. Tuominen, who was left alone in front, sent a chip shot to the back of the SCSU net past junior goaltender Tayler VanDenakker (Winnipeg, Manitoba), stick side.
In the second period, OSU's Spooner connected on the lone power play goal of the contest at 6:10. Laura McIntosh rifled off a shot from the left face-off circle and Spooner was planted in front to redirect the puck past VanDenakker for her 24th tally of the 2010-11 stint.
St. Cloud State continued to skate hard and finally caught a break after falling behind 2-0. It was SCSU's rookie forward Michelle Burke carding her first career goal in the Cardinal and Black at the 11:22 mark. Sophomore Ellie Sitek (Edina) found Burke at the point and with traffic in front, Burke sent a blistering slapper past Ohio State's goalie, Lisa Steffes, for the goal. Sitek's assist marked her first career point while first year Amy Olson (Roseau) added the second helper on the Husky score.
The final period proved to be a thriller as a combined 50 total shots were attempted, 23 of those on net. St. Cloud State evened the score at 4:15 with Julia Gilbert's fifth career goal. Sydney Burghardt, a rookie from Medicine Hat, Alberta, gathered up the puck from behind the Buckeye net and centered the puck to Gilbert who was standing all alone in front of the OSU cage. Gilbert wound up for the one-timer and beat Steffes far side for her second goal on the weekend. Of note, SCSU's Jocelyn Zabrick (Airdrie, Alberta) was awarded the second assist on the game-tying tally.
The two teams continued to battle in the third period, despite OSU out-shooting SCSU 17-6. The nail in the coffin for the Huskies came just after the contest's public address Nick Rasmussen announced, "one minute left in the game."
Ohio State gathered up the puck in neutral ice and stormed into the Husky zone on a three-on-two skater advantage. OSU's Ally Tarr went the distance with the puck in her forehand and sniped VanDenakker top-shelf for the game-winning goal at 19:09. McIntosh and Shannon Reilly gained the assists on the goal which secured the road series sweep for the Buckeyes.
Tayler VanDenakker fell to 0-4-0 on the season after backstopping the Huskies with 36 saves. Steffes improved to 14-12-2 for the Buckeyes, stopping 21 of SCSU's 23 shots this afternoon.
Following today's WCHA contest, the St. Cloud State women's hockey squad had a meet the team and autograph session for all youth who attended the game. The St. Cloud State University Athletic Department kicked-off the 25th Anniversary of National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Saturday, Jan. 29, at the SCSU women's hockey game and SCSU women's and men's basketball games.
The national celebration of Girls and Women in Sports Day is February 2, 2011, and this year's theme is "Play, Believe, Achieve."
NGWSD began in 1987 as a day to remember Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman, for her athletic achievements and her work to assure equality for women's sports. NGWSD is celebrated in all 50 states with community-based events, award ceremonies, and activities honoring the achievements of female athletes and encouraging participation of girls and women in sports.
St. Cloud State will continue WCHA action next Friday and Saturday, Feb. 4-5, as the Huskies head to league rival Minnesota for a two-game tilt. Game times are slated for 7:07 pm and 4:07 pm at Ridder Arena.