Ohio State freshman goalie Andrea Braendli pitched a shutout as the No. 7 Buckeyes women’s hockey team stole a victory from the No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers Friday night.
Braendli made 32 saves as the Buckeyes (15-6, 9-4 WCHA) survived being outshot 32-20 to hold onto a 1-0 win against No. 1 Wisconsin (19-2, 9-2 WCHA) in the first game of a home series.
Buckeyes head coach Nadine Muzerall praised her star freshman goalie for her performance against a Wisconsin team that had won 11 straight games dating back to Oct. 27.
“Andrea has said numerous times that she loves to play against competitive teams,” Muzerall said. “Great players, they all want to play those types of games. Andrea is the perfect fit for our team, not just because she’s a stellar athlete, but because she’s got the right character and she’s a team-first person.”
Physical play between the conference rivals began early, as a flurry of Wisconsin penalties set up an Ohio State power play goal from redshirt junior defenseman Jincy Dunne seven minutes into the period.
It would prove to be the game’s lone score.
Dunne’s slap shot goal was her second of the season and came courtesy of assists from sophomore forward and team points leader Emma Maltais and freshman defenseman Sophie Jaques.
Faced with defending the net against the No. 2 goal-scoring attack in the nation, Braendli shut out the Badgers, who had only been held scoreless in one other game this season.
Despite a stellar individual performance, Braendli credited the trust of her teammates as the catalyst for the victory.
“That was a team win,” Braendli said. “They made me look good, actually. It’s amazing to play with them, it’s really an honor.”
Though the Badgers entered the game with the nation’s best power play at 29.5 percent, Muzerall said it was Ohio State that gained momentum with the man advantage.
In the first period, Muzerall said the four Wisconsin penalties allowed the Buckeyes scoring opportunities as Badgers rotated in and out of the penalty box.
“That got us, obviously, in a rhythm,” Muzerall said. “They were all deserving. We were relentless and kept our feet moving, and when we did that we drew penalties. I think we surprised them with our speed.”
Ohio State was on the defensive for most of the second and third periods, challenging Wisconsin redshirt junior goalie Kristin Campbell with just 11 shots after the first period, while the Badgers managed 13 in the third period alone.
Muzerall said the shot discrepancy wasn’t a concern for the Buckeyes against a Wisconsin offense that came into the game outscoring opponents 81-23.
“We weren’t concerned about what the shots were going to be, we just knew we had to play smart defensively,” Muzerall said. “We knew we couldn’t give up anything knowing how hard it is to score on Campbell and Wisconsin.”
Wisconsin redshirt senior forward Annie Pankowski, No. 2 on the team in goals and points, put up just three shots on the night and snapped a seven-game goal streak.
Muzerall said the upset will give the Buckeyes momentum and confidence moving forward.
“People doubted us,” she said. “It’s a good way to prove to people we are the Buckeyes and we’re on the rise and we can play with the best of them.”
Braendli said Ohio State will need to muster a similar performance Saturday in order to make it four-straight victories against Wisconsin dating back to last season.
Ohio State will go for the series sweep as they face off with the Badgers again on Saturday at 3:07 p.m. at the OSU Ice Rink.