Coming off of a 2-0 weekend, the Ohio State Buckeyes (5-6-1, 1-6-1 WCHA) take to the road for the first time in a month as they head to St. Cloud State (3-6-1, 2-5-1 WCHA) looking to improve on a lackluster conference record.
On the flip side, coming off a bye week, St. Cloud State is home for the first time in a month and looking to end a two-game losing streak. The home team will be looking for at least a split this weekend, as two wins from Ohio State would pull the Buckeyes ahead of the Huskies for fifth in the WCHA Standings.
Neither team is considered a contender this season, but a big weekend from either side would give some much needed confidence to attempt a run up the standings.
What should you be looking for from these two teams this weekend?
Don’t expect much scoring
These are two of the bottom three teams in the WCHA having combined for only 21 goals for in 16 conference games.
If the Buckeyes are going to score, odds are that it will be Maddy Field leading the way. The sophomore forward leads Ohio State in both goals (5) and points (8).
For St. Cloud State, it’s Julia Tylke that has done the heavy lifting with six goals through ten games. No other Huskie has more than two goals on the season, which is something that doesn’t bode well as they face arguably the best goalie in all of the NCAA.
St. Cloud State currently sits dead last in the conference with 20 shots-per-game. If they hope to have success at home, this will definitely need to be improved. With that said, OSU is second last with only 21.25 shots-per-game, so fans definitely shouldn’t be expecting a barn burner this weekend.
Kassidy Sauvé is as good as they come
When you talk about the best goalie in the NCAA, Ann-Renée Desbiens is the name that often comes up. The Wisconsin netminder is leading the WCHA with a .954 save percentage and is busy setting college hockey records. Not to take anything away from Desbiens, but she is doing it while playing behind a powerhouse team. Kassidy Sauvé has been equally as good as Desbiens with a .950 save percentage, but she has done so while facing more than twice as many shots - Sauvé leads the WCHA with 421 saves, 148 more than the closest competitor
Proving she is healthy after a long road back from injury, Sauvé is coming off of back-to-back shutouts and will be the key to any success Ohio State has this weekend.
St. Cloud State comes into the weekend having given up 29 goals on the season. What is concerning about that total is that almost half (14) of the goals have come in the third period.
On the whole, St. Cloud State has been outscored 29-16 on the season, including 14-5 in the third period. The Huskies are going to have to limit the damage in the last frame if they hope to come out of these two home games with any victories.
Youth on display
While neither of these teams are contenders in the conference, both ice very young rosters that could make some noise in the WCHA in the coming years. Between them, OSU and St. Cloud State have 27 players that are either freshmen or sophomores, which is a sign that both are trending upwards for the future.
The puck drops on St. Cloud’s home ice at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, Minn. on Friday, Nov. 11 at 3:07pm CT and the series wraps up on Saturday, Nov. 12 with a 1:07pm CT contest.