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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, June 21, 2024

Badgers split top-ranked matchup to close out the regular season

After falling short in game 1, Wisconsin took down the top team of the country to cap off another prolific season at LaBahn.

The No. 2 Wisconsin Badgers women’s hockey team closed out their regular season on a high note, upsetting No. 1 Ohio State in a thrilling 4-2 comeback win on Saturday night after a 3-1 loss on Friday. Although the Buckeyes (29-3-0) had already clinched the Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular season title, the top-two showdown battled in Madison, splitting the series 1-1. 

The Badgers also honored six graduating seniors before their game on Friday. Senior day celebrated Britta Curl, Chayla Edwards, Casey O’Brien, Maddi Wheeler, Katie Kotlowski and Anna Wilgren. 

Despite outshooting Ohio State 18-2 in the first period on Friday night, the Badgers didn’t score until the second period. Maddi Wheeler was able to draw Ohio State’s goaltender, Raygan Kirk, out of the net and slot the puck past her, giving the Badgers a 1-0 lead. 

The majority of the second period was fast-paced and aggressive, with both teams charging toward the goal. However, Ohio State was able to take the lead at the end of the second period, scoring back-to-back goals on junior Jane Gervais.

In the third period, the Buckeyes were able to keep the Badgers out of their net and scored once more to lengthen their lead. Going into this series, both teams had 15 game-winning streaks, and the Buckeyes were able to end the Badgers’ with their 3-1 victory on Friday. 

The Badgers returned the favor, snapping the Buckeyes’ winning streak in their comeback win on Saturday. 

Wisconsin fell behind early in the second period from a pair of goals by Ohio State’s Kenzie Hauswirth. Senior Casey O’Brien was able to sneak one through the legs of Kirk after receiving a through pass that cut out the Buckeyes’ entire defense, leaving O’Brien 1-on-1. 

The Badgers held strong on defense, and with some help from the post, the score stayed at 2-1 going into the third period. Halfway into the last period, Wisconsin made four connecting passes that ended with a cross by Curl for O’Brien to tap in, tallying her second of the game and tying it 2-2. 

Less than a minute later, Laila Edwards blasted the puck into the back of the net off of a no-look pass to take the lead, 3-2. Edwards then doubled the lead when O’Brien took advantage of a transition and found Edwards on an open net. The Badgers were able to secure the 4-2 win to close their season. 

Ava McNaughton earned her 15th win of the season in net for Wisconsin and had 33 saves. 

The focus now is on another Frozen Four appearance and to become back-to-back National Champions. The Badgers will be back at LaBahn Arena for the postseason next weekend on March 2-3 against St. Thomas. 

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