Unlucky breaks continued for the University of North Dakota women's hockey team, as Ohio State rallied to post a 3-1 win on Saturday evening at the OSU Ice Rink.
The loss extends UND's losing streak to four games, the longest streak since the 2009-10 season. North Dakota finishes the regular season with a 17-11-4 (14-10-4-2 WCHA) record. Despite the loss, UND will still finish in third place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
Ohio State finishes in fifth place in the WCHA with a record of 14-15-5 (9-14-5-2 WCHA). OSU will travel to Minnesota Duluth for the first round of the WCHA playoffs next weekend.
North Dakota got off to a great start, outshooting the Buckeyes 8-0 before UND goaltender Lexie Shaw was forced to make a save.
It didn't take long for the offensive pressure to break through the OSU defense. Halfway through the first period, Menke received a pass in the slot with no one between her and OSU goalie Chelsea Knapp. Menke made a move and slipped the puck past Knapp for her fifth goal of the year and to give UND its first lead of the weekend.
However, less than five minutes later Ohio State scored off a lucky bounce to tie the game back up. A centering pass from the corner hit OSU's Danielle Gagne and then bounced over Shaw and hit the crossbar. After hitting the crossbar, Ally Tarr skated by and knocked the puck in from behind Shaw.
The two sides then remained in a stalemate for the next 28 minutes. North Dakota outshot Ohio State 12-5 in the first period and 11-7 in the second period, but couldn't get more than just Menke's goal past Knapp.
With the stronger play, things looked like they would eventually give for North Dakota, but unfortunately all UND would receive was more bad puck luck.
At the 3:27 mark of the third period, a clearing attempt by UND hit the referee along the wall and the puck stayed in the defensive zone. Ohio State's Kendall Curtis then picked up the loose puck, fired a shot which hit the stick of a UND defenseman in front of Shaw and found its way into the back of the net to give OSU a 2-1 lead.
Six minutes later, Ohio State struck again off a defensive turnover firing a shot through traffic for the 3-1 lead.
North Dakota's penalty kill was flawless in the game, stopping six power-play opportunities for Ohio State, including two five-on-three chances.
North Dakota will now turn its attention to the first round of the WCHA playoffs. UND hosts Bemidji State in a best-of-three series on Feb. 28-March 2 at Ralph Engelstad Arena. Both Friday's and Saturday's game will begin at 7:07 p.m.