The Wisconsin Badgers (10-14-0, 3-11-0 Big Ten) almost cracked the nut in their second go around versus No. 7 Ohio State (16-9-1, 9-7-0), handing the Buckeyes a series-split at home.
Facing Ohio State for the first time since being swept in the season-opening series, Wisconsin shutout the Buckeyes Friday night, 4-0.
The Badgers set the tone early on, consistently prevailing in races to the puck and battles along the boards in the opening frame. The dominant play netted little results, however, as Wisconsin ended the period with a 11-5 shots on goal advantage yet no goals.
The first score of the contest came from an unexpected source at 4:25 in the second period. Center Owen Lindmark won a faceoff back to Luke LaMaster, who corralled the puck in the offensive zone and fired it on net. The shot — which ringed off the post and past the outstretched glove of goaltender Jakub Dobeš — marked LaMaster’s first career goal at Wisconsin.
Following a relatively quiet second period, the Badgers unleashed a scoring barrage in the closing frame to turn a once close game into a blowout.
UW’s Jack Gorniak doubled the Badgers lead with 12 minutes left in the contest. Senior Shay Donovan kickstarted the scoring effort with a breakout pass to Sam Stange. The junior rushed down the ice alongside Gorniak and dished it to the graduate student, who finished the two-on-one rush from the slot to put Wisconsin up, 2-0.
The final 10 minutes of the third period featured a plethora of penalties. At 10:59 in the closing frame OSU’s Tyler Duke and Tate Singleton were assessed two minutes for roughing and five minutes for charging, respectively, while UW’s Donovan received two minutes for cross checking. Just 14 seconds later, Cam Thiesing was additionally called for cross checking.
Wisconsin swiftly capitalized on the two-man advantage at 13:49, as Tyson Jugnauth wristed the puck home from the point off assists from Ben Dexheimer and Ty Smilanic. Cruz Lucius added a power-play goal of his own 38 seconds later to cap off the lopsided 4-0 victory.
The shutout, which was thanks in large part to Jared Moe’s stellar play in net, marked the goaltender’s fourth shutout of the season and third in five games.
The Badgers’ offensive prowess in the third period didn’t carry over to the following day, as Wisconsin failed to muster a goal in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat.
As has been the case throughout much of the season, Wisconsin was unable to find the back of the net in the first period. Despite recording more shots (10-9) and having a five-on-three power play, the Badgers couldn’t find any success in the offensive zone en route to skating off the ice locked in a scoreless stalemate.
Singleton struck first in the contest at 6:24 in the second period to provide the Buckeyes with their first goal of the series. With both sides down a man due to penalties, the forward uncorked a wrister from the far faceoff dot to give Ohio State a 1-0 lead.
Strong play by Moe and UW defenders kept the Badgers within reach until the final horn, but an empty net goal with 31 seconds remaining ultimately sunk Wisconsin.
The Badgers will look to put Saturday’s 2-0 shutout loss far behind them when they face off against Notre Dame for the second time this month. Puck drop is slated for 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 27 and 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28.