The No. 6 Badgers women’s hockey team took on the No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes this past weekend in an exciting two-game series to finish up the regular season. Wisconsin was able to take home the win Saturday in overtime. Yet on Sunday, the Badgers were unable to maintain their lead, resulting in a devastating 3-1 loss.
Saturday, the Badgers came out looking confident with Cami Kronish in goal. The first few minutes of play were dominated by Wisconsin on offense. With 12:41 left in the period, Casey O’Brien tallied the first goal.
Vivian Jungels earned the assist, as she skated the puck around the back of the net and passed it off to O’Brien, who shot the puck through three defenders to put the score at 1-0 Wisconsin.
About a minute later, Wisconsin was called for a tripping penalty after two Ohio State players were tangled up. With still over a minute left on the OSU power play, Wisconsin got a power play opportunity of their own after defenseman Sophie Jaques was called for interference.
With 14 seconds left on the Wisconsin power play, Britta Curl scored for the Badgers, making it 2-0 Wisconsin. The goal was an impressive redirect by Curl off Nicole LaMantia’s shot toward the net from just off the face-off circle.
Tempers were high in the crowd as Jaques was called for a second penalty, this time for cross-checking. Jesse Compher made Badger fans happy as she scored the third goal of the game.
Compher made the power play goal after she was given wide open space to shoot the puck into the upper left hand corner of the goal and put the score at 3-0 Badgers. Compher continued her scoring run with 2:48 left in the period. The shot overpowered OSU goalie Amanda Thiele as it trickled right past her.
A lot of credit is owed to Kronish, who was an absolute stone wall, blocking all eight shots from the Buckeyes. The period ended with the score at 4-0 Badgers.
About two minutes into the second period, the Buckeyes scored their first goal courtesy of Jennifer Gardiner. Lauren Bernard backhanded the puck toward the net, which deflected off a Badger stick straight to Gardiner who pushed it in, making it 4-1 Badgers.
With 9:46 left in the second, both teams earned a penalty making it 4-on-4. Just as the penalties expired, OSU tallied a second goal, cutting the Badger lead to 4-2. The goal was scored by Emma Maltais and assisted by Makenna Webster, who received the puck off the boards and then, skating in, passed it off to Maltais, who shot the puck in just off Kronish’s side. The period ended 4-2 Wisconsin.
With the third period underway, Ohio State scored a goal after an unintentional screen from Chayla Edwards. Brooke Bink, who was given a 1-on-1 opportunity, effectively used Edwards to shield the puck, sending it straight past Kronish and cutting the Badger lead to one.
With just over 12 minutes to go in the period, Sophie Shirley scored for the Badgers, making it 5-3 Wisconsin. Assisted by O’Brien, Shirley flipped the pass in over the goalie as she was being shoved from behind by a Buckeye-Badger collision.
About five minutes later, Curl was called for a penalty and the Buckeyes scored on the power play. The goal was Gardiner’s second of the game, putting it at 5-4 Badgers. The shot by Gardiner pinballed its way through two Badgers and into the net.
With just over two minutes left in the game, OSU tied it up with a goal from Paetyn Levis. After a battle along the boards, OSU gained possession and a shot attempt was made by Bernard. Kronish managed to stop that shot, but the rebound was swatted in by Levis to tie the game and send it into overtime.
Three minutes left in overtime, OSU was called for a penalty. Simms took the penalty shot for the Badgers and, showing tremendous patience, faked a shot and backhanded the puck in to win the game 6-5 Wisconsin.
Sunday marked Senior Day, as seven Badger seniors were honored before the game. Both teams were playing sloppily and few shot attempts were made to start. However, once the teams settled, Kronish showed off serious talent with multiple impressive saves. Shots on goal favored the Badgers 9-6, but the first period ended scoreless.
In the second period, play was mainly in OSU’s defensive zone, but the game was still scoreless. Toward the midway point of the period, both teams were called for penalties, but nothing came of either.
The third period proved to be abysmal for the Badgers.
With 12:43 left, Laila Edwards scored a crucial goal through the legs of a Buckeye defender and past the goalie to make it 1-0 Wisconsin.
All seemed hopeful for the Badgers, but with just over four minutes left in the game, Wisconsin went on a penalty kill and Maltais scored to tie the game at one. The goal was scored off a cross-ice pass by Gardner.
Then, with under a minute left, OSU scored again to take the lead. The goal was unsuccessfully challenged by Wisconsin in a last ditch effort, and the Badgers had to play a man down. To seal the win, the Buckeyes scored with 25.5 seconds left, putting the final score at 3-1 Ohio State. The win marked Ohio State’s first WCHA regular season title and kept them at the number one seed heading into play-offs.
While the loss was unfortunate for Wisconsin, the season overall was impressive. Next week, the Badgers will host Minnesota State in the first round of WCHA playoffs.