The No. 7 Ohio State women’s hockey team (15-7, 9-5 WCHA) couldn’t get it done in the second game against No. 1 Wisconsin (19-2, 10-2 WCHA), falling 5-2 in a game controlled by the Badgers throughout.
After winning a nail biter against the top team in the country on Friday, Ohio State came with momentum on its side for a series sweep, but penalties killed any chance at a Buckeye victory.
Wisconsin had a power play six times throughout the game, resulting in two power play goals for the Badgers and a substantial discrepancy in shots on goal, outshooting the Buckeyes 46-14.
Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall was frustrated by the lack of discipline from her team.
“We stopped moving our feet and we drew four penalties yesterday on Wisconsin because we were moving our feet,” Muzerall said. “Today, we put ourselves in a bad position, which made us have to reach and pull down. We did it to ourselves and a lot of those penalties were unnecessary. You can’t go against the No. 1 power play unit and No. 1 team in the country with six penalties.”
The Buckeyes found themselves in a hole early. The Badgers came out with a vengeance after being shut out the night before, scoring 52 seconds into the first period.
Freshman forward Britta Cull scored for Wisconsin to give the Badgers an early 1-0 lead. Cull was assisted on the goal by junior forward Abby Roque and freshman forward Sophie Shirley.
The Buckeyes managed to tie the game up halfway through the first period when sophomore forward Emma Maltais caught a pass from senior forward Charly Dahlquist and snuck it by redshirt junior goaltender Kristen Campbell. The goal was No. 10 on the season for Maltais and Dahlquist’s 10th assist.
Muzerall praised the effort on Maltais as one of the bright spots for Saturday’s game.
“The effort that they had in front of the net was Emma’s doing,” Muzerall said. “We know that we’re going to get some dirty goals and get the puck deep on her.”
With time winding down in the first period, Wisconsin took advantage of a power play with less than three minutes left and took the 2-1 lead when Shirley got the puck off a rebound from Buckeye freshman goaltender Andrea Braendli and shot it in for their first power play goal.
Moving into the second period, Wisconsin again scored on the man advantage extending its lead to 3-1, this time on a power play goal less than six minutes into the second period from freshman forward Annie Pankowski with an assist coming from senior defenseman Mikaela Gardner.
Wisconsin dominated the rink with 17 shots on goal in the second period, but a timely power play gave Ohio State all the advantage it needed to cut the lead to 3-2. It was freshman defenseman Sophie Jacques who found the net for the Buckeyes with a power play goal. Redshirt junior defenseman Jincy Dunne and sophomore forward Liz Scheppers assisted Jacques on the goal.
“There was good rotation and puck movement on that power play,” Muzerall said. “We utilized all five people on the ice. We had been working on that play, so it was very nice to see some payoff there.”
That goal by Jacques was also the only shot on goal by the Buckeyes in the entire second period. Heading into the third period, Wisconsin led in shots on goal 33-8.
“We gave them gifts today and it was more on our end than their end today,” Muzerall said. “I thought they played well yesterday too, but we didn’t make mistakes yesterday. We made too many today with some selfish plays and bad rotations. It was very uncharacteristic of us, especially after yesterday.”
The Buckeyes had a chance to even things up with another power play, but the Badger defense held on strong. With momentum on its side, Wisconsin attacked and regained their two-goal lead off a shot from Cull for her second goal of the game more than eight minutes into the third period. Cull was again assisted by Shirley.
Wisconsin continued to press their attack and effectively ended any chance of an Ohio State rally when senior forward Sophia Shaver scored to give the Badgers a 5-2 lead three minutes after the Cull goal.
Muzerall says the keys to success in the future is focusing on the good from this weekend.
“We have to watch on film the good that we did and continue to do that,” Muzerall said. “The errors and mistakes we made are very obvious and uncharacteristic, so we will nip that in the bud to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
Ohio State travels on the road for a rematch series against WCHA conference opponent Minnesota Duluth. Games will be played at 8:00 p.m. on Friday and 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.