The Wisconsin women's hockey team came into this weekend's first-round, best-of-three WCHA playoff series with Ohio State with hopes of extending its season.
With their NCAA hopes hanging by a thread, the Badgers needed a good run in the WCHA Tournament to have a chance at the NCAAs. But that did not materialize, as their season came to an end with two heartbreaking defeats.
In the first game, the Badgers came out flying and quickly built a two-goal lead.
Five minutes into the game, senior forward Jasmine Giles fired a shot from the left circle, and sophomore Brooke Ammerman capitalized on the rebound to put the Badgers up one early.
Freshman forward Breann Frykas extended the lead seven minutes later on a shot from the right faceoff circle.
But Ohio State came roaring back in the second period.
On a power play 11 minutes in, Buckeye sophomore forward Laura McIntosh found fellow sophomore forward Natalie Spooner on the doorstep to cut the Badger lead in half.
Ohio State tied the game six minutes later when Spooner scored on a shot from the right faceoff circle for her second tally.
The game went scoreless through the third period, sending the two teams to sudden-death overtime.
Two and a half minutes into the extra frame, Ohio State freshman forward Paige Semenza cleared the puck to the front of the net and found a waiting Spooner, who fired it top-right for the game-winner.
The following night the Badgers faced a do-or-die situation. Win, and they would play another day; lose, and their season would be over.
Early on it didn't look good as Ohio State got out to a quick start thanks to freshman forward Hokey Langan.
Six minutes in, Langan beat Wisconsin senior goalie Alannah McCready through the five-hole on a shot from the top of the slot for her first goal.
Langan struck again six minutes later on a power play on a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle.
Wisconsin responded two minutes later on a power play when freshman defenseman Alev Kelter ripped a shot from the point that found its way through heavy traffic for the goal.
Then with just over a minute left in the period, and again on a power play, Ammerman passed the puck from behind the net and found Giles on the doorstep for the equalizer.
The game remained tied until the third period when Langan earned a hat trick on a backhand from the top of the slot 16 seconds into the period.
With just over a minute left to play and the goalie pulled, Giles slid the puck to the front of the net and found senior forward Kyla Sanders for the game-tying goal, and for a second straight night, the two teams headed to overtime.
But the night again ended in disappointment for the Badgers. Three and a half minutes into OT, Ohio State senior forward Raelyn LaRocque took the puck at the blue line, came in on a breakaway, and fired a shot past McCready for the game-winner that ended the Badgers' season.
After the game, coaches and players reflected on the season.
""All of our recent seasons have ended at the Frozen Four, so this is tough,"" Giles said. ""We had a lot of new players this year, and a whole new coaching staff, and we weren't able to overcome that.""
""We talked about how losing can help you understand what it takes to win,"" interim head coach Tracey DeKeyser said. ""The great teams are consistent in all ways of the game. We were inconsistent for a majority of the season, and that's why we didn't achieve the level of success we wanted to.""