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Men’s hockey: No. 19 Ohio State splits season-opening series against Wisconsin in Madison

Ohio State forward Mason Jobst holds off a Wisconsin forward as he crashes into senior goaltender Matt Tomkins during a Big Ten tournament semifinal game at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. OSU lost 2-1. Credit: Courtesy of Ric Kruszynski

The No. 19 Ohio State Buckeyes (1-1-0, 1-1-0-0 Big Ten) split its season-opening series against No. 12 Wisconsin (2-1-0, 1-1-0-0 Big Ten) in Madison, Wisconsin, this weekend.

Game One

The Buckeyes came back from a goal down on two separate occasions, and eventually were able to take their first and only lead of the game on a goal by junior forward Mason Jobst with 1:16 to go in the third period.

This was Jobst’s second goal on the day as junior forward John Wiitala netted the second game-tying goal with five minutes left in the third to guide the Buckeyes to a 3-2 victory against the Badgers.

The opening period ended scoreless, as the teams looked even from start to finish. Ohio State finished the period with an 8-4 advantage in shots on goal.

Wisconsin sophomore forward and 2016 NHL Draft first-round pick Trent Frederic opened the scoring midway through the second period with a wrist shot from the top of the circles that went over junior goalie Sean Romeo’s shoulder.

The Buckeyes evened the score with a goal by Jobst later in the period. Jobst was hooked on the play, but was able to score the goal on his knees off a nice backhand shot.

Momentum in the first half of the third period went back and forth before Wisconsin freshman forward Tarek Baker capitalized on a penalty shot to give the Badgers a 2-1 lead. The penalty shot was awarded after Baker skated past redshirt senior Matt Joyaux, which caused Joyaux to throw his stick to avoid the breakaway on Romeo.

Wiitala scored to tie the game at two, then Jobst buried the game winner off an assist from junior forward Freddy Gerard. Gerard assisted Jobst on both of his goals.

Wisconsin pulled its goalie, but the Buckeyes’ defense held on for the win in their first game of the season.

Romeo made 18 saves in his Buckeyes debut. Wisconsin senior goalie Kyle Hayton made 21 saves in the loss.

Game Two

The second game in the series did not go quite the same for the Buckeyes, as the Badgers would get their revenge with a 3-2 win.

Two goals in two minutes in the second period gave Wisconsin a three-goal lead. From there, Wisconsin halted a Buckeyes comeback.

The Badgers began the game heavily outshooting Ohio State in the first period, which eventually led to a second-chance goal by junior forward Will Johnson. By the end of the first, Wisconsin had a 1-0 lead and outshot Ohio State 10-3.

Wisconsin did not let up, and in the second period, senior forward Cameron Hughes and Tarek Baker, for the second time this series, scored to give the Badgers a strong 3-0 lead after two periods.

While the game looked all but over, Ohio State managed to score twice within 24 seconds midway through the third to pull within one of Wisconsin. Gerard scored his first goal of the season from an assist by Joyaux.  

Shortly after, Gerard assisted the following goal by John Wiitala to cut the lead in half.  Mason Jobst tallied assists on both Ohio State goals.

Even with the two goals, the Badgers were able to hold on for the narrow victory. Romeo made 22 saves, and Hayton had 16 saves.

The Buckeyes move on to play a pair of games at home against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at 7 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday.

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