Minnesota State defeats Ohio State 4-1; looks for its fourth WCHA win

Can the Mavericks sweep the Buckeyes?

Yesterday, the Minnesota State Mavericks upset the Ohio State Buckeyes 5-1 in Mankato, MN. The wins marks only the third win in conference play for the Mavericks and comes one week after fifth-ranked OSU swept the top-ranked Wisconsin Badgers.

The Mavericks took an early lead. Senior forward Lindsey Coleman scored her first of the night just 29 seconds into the game. Coleman’s goal, her fourth of the season, was assisted by Jordan McLaughlin and Brittyn Fleming. Later, senior forward Amanda Conway put the Mavericks up 2-0 with roughly five minutes left in the first period.

The Buckeyes struck back in the second period with a goal from former Harvard forward Grace Zarzecki at the 7:13 mark. Just over a minute later, Coleman potted her second goal of the game to regain a two-goal lead for the Mavericks. Starting Buckeyes goaltender Amanda Zeglen made a phenomenal initial save on Fleming, but could not recover in time to stop Coleman’s putback.

In the third period, Ohio State put 15 shots on goal, nearly doubling their shots in the first two periods combined. But sophomore goalie Chloe Crosby was up to the task and collected 15 of her 35 saves in the final frame.

“[This win] is definitely a confidence booster,” said Crosby. “They’re number five in the nation so it’s big for us.” Overall, the Mavericks played a complete team game and it paid off. The MSU defense entered Friday’s contest with a total of 435 blocked shots, ranking them fifth in the country.

“We talked about playing good defense,” said Coleman postgame. “With that, we were getting chances on offense and scoring goals. We’ve been struggling with that, hopefully we can keep that going and go for the sweep tomorrow.”

For her part in the win (35 saves), Crosby was named the first star of the game. Coming into the start, Crosby was focused on directing her rebounds into the corners and not allowing dangerous second chances. The focus paid off, as it was OSU that had trouble clearing, as opposed to the Mavericks.

When asked about the potential sweep of a team that just swept Wisconsin, she was clear to keep things in perspective. “You just have to make sure [the win] doesn’t get to your head … [W]e know what they can do so we have to come back just like we did today.”

So, what will be the key to success for the Minnesota State today? “Keep blocking shots,” said Coleman. She added that challenging the OSU goalie by getting more shots on will also be a key to more success against the Buckeyes.

Head coach John Harrington agreed, “[Megan] Hinze and [Anna] Keys were tremendous tonight. Plus three on the game and … 12 blocks between them. They were paying the price to get in front of shots tonight and they were real leaders for us on the defensive side of the puck.”

Players also stepped up offensively. “We got goals from people we haven’t heard from in a while,” he commented in a postgame newser. “When that happens and you combine that with good goaltending and smart play by our defense, it all added up to a big win for us.”

The Mavericks host Ohio State at 2:00 p.m. CT as they look to make good on the sweep and a fourth WCHA win for the season. It looks like MSU is having no problems staying loose before today’s big game.