COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State women's hockey team shut out seventh-ranked North Dakota Friday night at the OSU Ice Rink by a score of 2-0, wrapping up fifth-place in the WCHA along the way.
The Buckeyes now know their first round playoff destination will be Duluth, Minn., for a best-of-three series with Minnesota Duluth Feb. 28-March 2.
Senior goaltender Lisa Steffes posted her fifth shutout of the season with a 32-save performance in goal for the Buckeyes. OSU was outshot 32-20 in the contest.
The two squads skated to a scoreless first stanza as UND outshot the Buckeyes 9-7 in the opening frame.
Ohio State got the goal it needed at the 4:29 mark of the second period on a blast from the top of the UND zone by junior defenseman Kari Schmitt. The eighth goal of the season for Schmitt came on the Buckeye power play and was assisted on by senior Ally Tarr and junior Taylor Kuehl, their 20th and 10th helpers on the season, respectively.
OSU finished 1-4 on the power play attack while North Dakota went scoreless on four attempts.
Junior defender Sara Schmitt added a long-ranged empty net score with 1:11 remaining in regulation to seal the victory for Ohio State. Kuehl picked up her second assist of the evening on the score.
The Buckeyes were relentless throughout the game on the defensive end, blocking 23 shots including five each from senior Becky Allis and Kari Schmitt, and four from Sara Schmitt.
With the win Ohio State improves to 13-15-5, 8-14-5 in the WCHA, while North Dakota falls to 17-10-4 and 14-9-4 in league play. The two teams will play the regular season finale Saturday afternoon with a 4 p.m. opening face-off scheduled at the OSU Ice Rink. A ceremony will be held following the game to honor Ohio State's six seniors.