The No. 1 Buckeyes women’s ice hockey team is set to travel to Duluth, Minnesota, as it faces off against the No. 8 Bulldogs (11-5-0) Friday and Saturday, kicking off their upcoming road stretch of three away series.
The two teams face off just over a month after their initial clash, where Ohio State (13-1-2) swept Minnesota Duluth in a home series. The Buckeyes topped the Bulldogs 3-2 in each game, but junior forward Jenna Buglioni’s overtime goal sealed the deal in the first national championship rematch at the Ohio State Ice Rink.
Graduate forward Gabby Rosenthal said the Buckeyes are looking forward to another highly contested series versus Minnesota Duluth.
“I think that’s what you want to do, right? I mean, those highest-level teams and those competitive battles is what makes hockey fun,” Rosenthal said. “Close-knit games with them, three in a row for the past times, I think that just really shows us we have to bring everything we can to these games.”
Minnesota Duluth may have revenge on its mind following four-consecutive losses to Ohio State — the longest Buckeye win streak in program history against the Bulldogs — but have more than that going for them.
Minnesota Duluth boasts one of the premier power-play units in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, ranking second in the nation with 13 goals through 16 games. Rosenthal said the Buckeyes are excited for the opportunity to take on the Bulldogs’ experienced unit.
“Duluth is a talented team, and they always have been, and when we play them it’s always a big battle,” Rosenthal said. “They’re a physical team just like us, and I think that’s something we have to take to heart and out-battle them.”
Rosenthal, who’s participating in the 2022-23 Rivalry Series — a seven-game competition Nov. 15-Dec. 19 between the U.S. Women’s National Team and the Canadian National Women’s Hockey team — said she is glad to be back with the Buckeyes for their first road trip since early November.
“It’s great to be back with the girls who definitely stepped up while I was away,” Rosenthal said. “I’m super excited to be back in the upcoming weekend. I think we’re prepared and ready and excited overall.”
Senior forward Kenzie Hauswirth said it’s surreal to watch her teammates participate in the series, but she’s glad to see the return of two of Ohio State’s captains in Rosenthal and graduate forward Emma Maltais.
“They’re obviously really important to our team, but it was really fun getting to cheer them on, watch their games and represent the Buckeyes,” Hauswirth said. “But, having them back, obviously it makes us stronger, so we’re all happy to be back in the groove of things.”
The trip to Duluth marks the beginning of a three-series away stretch for the Buckeyes, where they travel to Ithaca, New York, and St. Charles, Missouri, over winter break. Hauswirth said while the Buckeyes enjoy playing on home ice, they’re excited for the upcoming challenge.
“It’s always fun to be at home because it’s our rink — everyone hates playing here,” Hauswirth said. “It’s definitely a lot different, but it kind of puts us up to a challenge, and we’ll just have to adapt to the rink. Most of us have played there.”
The series will livestream on BTN+ and Friday’s game is featured on the Big Ten Network. The teams will face off at 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday.