After suffering a tough loss the night before, the No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers men’s hockey team roared back in a big way, beating the No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes by a score of 3-1 Friday night. Wisconsin will leave Columbus having split their series with Buckeyes, with both teams seeing positives that each can come away with.
The Badgers, after struggling defensively in the first game, were able to hold Ohio State to only one score off a terrific performance from Cameron Rowe. Rowe, the freshman goalie from Illinois, had 40 saves on 41 shots from the Buckeyes in his first career start. Rowe amassed an impressive .976 save percentage on the night, which was even more significant considering their defensive struggles from the evening before.
One of the biggest storylines of the night was how well the Badgers played given how shorthanded Wisconsin was at the forward position. Wisconsin was missing multiple players due to COVID-19, but also were missing Ryder Donovan, who had to leave late in the first game against Ohio State due to an injury.
The star of the night was sophomore Cole Caufield, who put Wisconsin on the board first with a long-distance wrist shot from just inside the blue line to break the tie early in the first period. Ohio State then scored soon after, but would then not score again for the rest of the evening.
Offensively, the brightest spot of this Badgers team all season has been the power play, where they have generally taken advantage of their opponents and scored a large percentage of their total goals on the season –– Wisconsin has scored a goal off the power play in seven of their ten games played.
Forwards Brock Caufield and Jack Gorniak both scored on the power play Friday, and also both notched their first three-point games of the season with both players scoring a goal along with primary and secondary assists.
It was a big night for the Caufield brothers, as they both scored a goal and combined for four points on the evening. This will be the last time we see Cole Caufield with the Badgers before the new year as he heads to USA Hockey World Junior Championship camp in Plymouth, Mich., on Sunday.
Caufield will miss the second half of Wisconsin’s road trip against Michigan State on Tuesday, Dec. 8 and Wednesday, Dec. 9, where the Badgers will take on the Spartans in East Lansing at 5 P.M.