Wisconsin Badgers keep NCAA Tournament hopes alive with tight victory over Ohio State, advance to Big Ten Title Game
Luke Kunin led a reeling Badgers program to a stellar year, finishing No. 2 in the Big Ten.Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger
The No. 2-seed Badgers (20-14-1) battled No. 3-seed Ohio State (21-11-6) for the fifth time this season and broke a 2-2 series tie with a tight one-goal victory to advance to the Big Ten Championship.
Sophomore captain Luke Kunin scored the game’s first goal, firing home a rebound top shelf in the first period.
OSU would tie it in the second period on a power play goal by Dakota Joshua, which was set up by none other than Badger-killer Mason Jobst.
This set up a decisive third period with both teams’ seasons potentially on the line. Wisconsin delivered what would be the knockout blow just one minute and 30 seconds into the period.
Senior forward Aidan Cavallini started the play with a strong forecheck in the Badgers’ offensive zone. Sophomore forward Seamus Malone then took the puck down the right wing and flipped a beautiful pass to sophomore forward Will Johnson, who buried the puck into an open cage.
Ohio State thought it had the game tied on a Dakota Joshua tip-in, but the puck hit the crossbar and never crossed the goal line and the tally was waved off.
Wisconsin held serve for the rest of the period, partly due to a five-minute power play for the Badgers with just under 2:30 to play.
Ohio State’s Josh Healey leveled Kunin against the boards, inducing a game misconduct penalty, and was ejected - the third time he's been sent to an early shower this year and the second time it has happened against UW.
The Badgers now await the winner of Minnesota and Penn State in the championship game. They will need to come out on top and hoist the trophy to earn a berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Puck drop is set for Saturday night at 7 p.m in Detroit.Subscribe to The Daily Cardinal Newsletter