After three trips to the Frozen Four under Nadine Muzerall, this season was all about taking the next step for the Ohio State. They did that on Thursday, earning their first ever Frozen Four victory with a 2-1 over Yale, and now the Buckeyes will play for their first ever national title on Sunday afternoon.
Despite being outshot heavily in a scoreless first period, it was the underdog Yale that struck first to open the scoring in the second period when Tabea Bottof poked home a loose puck in front of the Ohio State net at 1:43 of the period to put the Bulldogs ahead 1-0.
The Bulldogs have been nearly unbeatable this season when striking first, and after taking the lead, they played arguably their best stretch of hockey after the goal, nearly taking a 2-0 lead.
But the Buckeyes recovered nicely, showing no panic, and eventually their relentless attack began to pay off. After their pressure earned a power play, Paetyn Levis finished off a nice pass in the slot to even the score at 7:08 of the second period. Less than four minutes later, Jenn Gardiner would make a nice rush down the right wing, eluding a Yale defender and chipping a perfect shot over the shoulder of Yale goalie Gianna Meloni into the upper portion of the net.
Ohio State would have chances to extend their lead late in the second period, but ultimately, they had all that they needed. The Buckeyes settled into a conservative defensive shell in the third period and denied the Bulldogs any quality chances at evening the score.
The Buckeyes advance and will meet conference rival Minnesota Duluth in the national title game on Sunday afternoon. The two teams split their season series against each other with each team winning twice.