The Ohio State women’s hockey team (9-20-1, 5-18-1) was swept in a home series by the No. 2 Wisconsin Badgers (28-1-1, 22-1-1) over the weekend despite putting up a battle in both games against one of the nation’s elite teams.
Heading into the series, the Buckeyes were on their best four-game stretch of the season after recording two wins, a tie and a loss over their last two series.
This was the second series between the Badgers and Buckeyes this season. The two teams played in the first conference series of the season in Madison, Wisconsin, in early October. Wisconsin outscored OSU 15-0 over those two games.
This time around, the Buckeyes showcased their improved play despite losing both contests by scores of 2-1 on Friday and 2-0 on Saturday.
In Game 1, the Buckeyes held with the conference leaders throughout the first period but allowed a late power-play goal with less than two minutes remaining in the period. The goal for the Badgers was scored by junior defenseman Jenny Ryan.
Both teams continued to battle in the second and third periods, and the Badgers broke through with a goal from sophomore Annie Pankowski to double their lead.
The Buckeyes were able to find the net against the country’s best defense when junior Claudia Kepler scored her 12th goal of the season about halfway through the period. However, that was all the scoring the home team could manage despite a late power-play opportunity, and the game ended with Wisconsin taking the 2-1 win.
On Saturday, in an emotionally charged contest, neither the Badgers nor Buckeyes were able to break through offensively in the first period. The Buckeyes got out to a slow offensive start with only two shots in the period, but sophomore goalie Alex LaMere was able to block all 12 of the Wisconsin shots to keep the game goalless.
Four minutes into the second period, however, sophomore forward Baylee Wellhausen broke through to give the Badgers a one-goal lead. Then, a little over a minute into the third period, the Badgers got their second goal of the game when freshman Sam Cogan beat LaMere, sealing the 2-0 win.
OSU will look to rediscover its ability to put points on the scoreboard when it travels to Bemidji State University next weekend to take on the Beavers in its final away series of the regular season. The games are scheduled to begin on Friday at 8:07 p.m. and Saturday at 5:07 p.m.
A request for comments from the team after the second game of the weekend was denied.