Freshman forward Claudia Kepler scores twice for Buckeyes

Freshman forward Claudia Kepler scored two goals for the Buckeyes

COLUMBUS, Ohio. - The Ohio State women's hockey team completed its first WCHA series sweep of the season with a 4-2 win over Minnesota State Saturday at the OSU Ice Rink.

With the victory Ohio State improves its record to 9-12-5, 4-11-5 against WCHA opponents and picks up six points in the league standings. OSU is 6-3-3 in its last 12 games dating back to Nov. 30, with its three losses coming at the hands of top-ranked Minnesota.

Freshman Claudia Kepler bookended the scoring on the day for the Buckeyes with her team-best ninth and 10th goals of the season and senior goaltender Lisa Steffes made 27 saves to improve her record to 7-6-4 this season.

Ohio State held a 42-29 advantage in shots on goal in the contest, including a 33-12 advantage through the first two periods.

Kepler's first score came at the 2:54 mark of the opening period with assists from sophomores Melani Moylan and Julia McKinnon.

Minnesota State responded shortly after with a goal from Melissa Klippenstein to lock the score at 1-all 4:13 into period one.

The Buckeyes came out fast in the second stanza with a flurry of chances and capitalized with two scores to take a 3-1 lead.

Sophomore Kendall Curtis found the back of the net at the 1:40 mark of the period after being set up beautifully by Kepler, who picked up an assist on the play along with redshirt junior Kara Gust. For Curtis it was the sixth score of the season.

The eventual game-winner came off the stick of junior Danielle Gagne at 4:29. Senior Ally Tarr tallied the assist after a great effort play to create a Maverick turnover and set up Gagne for the one-timer. It marked the seventh goal of the season for Gagne and 13th assist for Tarr.

During a five-minute power play chance for OSU, due to a checking from behind and game-misconduct on Minnesota State, the Mavericks were able to take advantage of a mistake by the Buckeyes and cut into the lead with short-handed goal. The score came at 12:50 of the second following a 2-on-1 breakaway that ended with Kari Lundberg burying the shot. An assist on the play went to Nicole Germaine.

Kepler and Ohio State would return the favor with their own short-hander 2:23 into the third period. The unassisted goal gave the Verona, Wis. native her second multi-goal game of the season.

Ohio State will face WCHA foe St. Cloud State next weekend in St. Cloud, Minn., Jan. 31-Feb. 1.