No. 2 Wisconsin battled and bested the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes for a 2-1 win in double overtime Sunday at the Kohl Center, in front of a 1400-person crowd.
Badgers got redemption after a tough loss yesterday, only the fourth smudge on their near-perfect record this season. Wisconsin lost to Minnesota early in the season, then had a tough, close loss to Bemidji State during their only away series in January. The third loss came from Minnesota State in the second game of last weekend’s series.
Yesterday, the Buckeyes beat out the Badgers 3-1, with all three of their goals coming in the first couple of minutes in the second period. Although senior forward Abby Roque came back to score one on Ohio State, the Badgers could not pull out a win for their Senior Day game. Back in October when the Badgers and the Buckeyes last met on the ice, Wisconsin won 3-0 and 7-3 in back-to-back games.
“Obviously, we didn’t want to repeat yesterday,” sophomore forward Britta Curl said. “In the locker room, we said we’re tired of people saying that we can’t play from behind, so let’s go out there and let’s prove people wrong and let’s be a gritty team that won’t quit.”
Despite the heart-wrenching loss for the Badgers, women’s hockey fans did not fail to show up to Fill the Bowl, an event that UW sponsors which honors first responders and military personnel. Former Madison Chief of Police Michael Koval, State President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin Mahlon Mitchell and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Joe Rasemussen were all chosen as honorary captains for the Badgers and ceremoniously dropped the puck before the game started at the Kohl Center.
“I don’t really think [the crowd of 1400 people] really hit me until something in the game would happen and the whole crowd into it and they’re screaming break away chants or something,” Curl said. “Then it was like ‘oh, geez, there’s a lot of people here’, and it was exciting.”
The game was played in the Kohl Center instead of LaBahn Arena, where the women’s hockey team usually plays.
“It’s a big kudos to the community, to Madison, to the people who are willing to come in on these special occasions, to buy a ticket and go to an afternoon game and support us,” Head coach Mark Johnson said. “It’s a great relationship and we as a program certainly appreciate the fans willing to do that.”
In the first 20 minutes of play, UW fought hard against OSU, but to no avail. OSU’s junior forward Tatum Skaggs put one between the posts to give Ohio State the lead. Skaggs scored the first goal yesterday as well during a power play, which inspired two of her other teammates to score on the same power play.
The Cardinal and White were starving for a goal and racked up a total of 11 shots on goal, but were deprived for the second period in a row against the Buckeyes.
Penalties and power plays riddled the second period. Sophomore defenseman Madison Bizal blatantly fouled sophomore forward Sophie Shirley on a breakaway, and the referees awarded Shirley with a penalty shot, but OSU’s sophomore goalkeeper Andrea Braendli shut down the chance easily.
OSU gave up their first powerplay when senior forward Rebecca Freiburger tripped junior forward Daryl Watts. About a minute and a half into Freiburger’s penalty, OSU junior forward Emma Maltais got stuck in the penalty box for roughing for checking Watts against the boards after the play was blown dead.
Although it was a 3 v 5 power play, Ohio State killed Wisconsin’s best chances at scoring and earned one of their own after Chayla Edwards was called for tripping. Luckily for Wisconsin, OSU couldn’t capitalize on the power play and the score stayed stagnant at 1-0 by the end of the second period.
“It’s about four games now [that we’ve struggled with puck luck],” Johnson said. “Yesterday, you watched it, especially in the 2 on 1 in the second period with [Nicole] Lamantia and Presley [Norby]. Over the course of the season, they balance out, but that’s what made today so rewarding because we got ourselves through it.”
And finally, in the last period of play, Roque followed the example she set yesterday and scored with nine minutes left in the game. After hitting Shirley’s skate instead of her stick with the puck the play before, Roque wrapped around the back of the goal to lift the puck up and over Braendli’s right leg.
“I don’t think she thought I was going to get it back after the wrap-around,” Roque said. “I looked up and she didn’t have that corner blocked and I figured, I better do this right away. I don’t think she was expecting a third shot, so I was lucky enough to get that one off fast when she was still adjusting.”
The Kohl center erupted with cheers, and the Badgers regained their normal intense energy before going into a sudden death overtime against the Buckeyes.
“Coming out, looking at the fans, the lights, everybody’s screaming, they have the Get Loud screen on the Jumbotron and you just feel the energy through the stands,” Roque said. “I think that really changed the momentum. Even after my goal, the crowd was going crazy and I think that got to Ohio State and deflated them. I think that’s a big help for us, the fans that we have in Wisconsin that we have for our hockey program.”
After a scoreless first overtime, Curl capitalized on a small but major opportunity and won the game for the Badgers during double overtime.
“I told the team after the game, that that was a real gutty effort on that big ice sheet, the second day,” Johnson said. “It was nice to see everybody go home with a big smile on their face.”
The Badgers hit the road to take on Minnesota Duluth next weekend, with the puck dropping at 7 p.m. on Friday night.