With just more than a minute remaining in the second period, Ohio State senior forward Ronnie Hein tied the game at 2-2 with a rebound goal to beat Wisconsin sophomore goalie Daniel Lebedeff.
It wasn’t enough though, as Wisconsin (14-18-1, 7-15-1-1 Big Ten) retook the lead on the eventual game-winner from senior forward Max Zimmer in the final period to beat No. 10 Ohio State (18-11-4, 11-9-3-1) 3-2 in the Schottenstein Center Friday.
“We wanna come out and play our best hockey, and we certainly didn’t do that,” Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik said. “And tip the cap to Wisconsin. We gotta be better. It’s that time of the year where you gotta be consistent, and we certainly were not that tonight.”
Although the Buckeyes were outshot 18-12 in a scoreless first period, senior forward Tanner Laczynski wasted little time lighting the lamp in the second.
Laczynski scored the first goal of the night less than two minutes into the period to put the Buckeyes on the scoreboard with a 1-0 lead.
That shot was Laczynski’s ninth goal of the year, adding to a 30-point scoring total this season.
Wisconsin’s response was swift, however. Freshman forward Alex Turcotte scored a goal during a 4-on-4, tying the game 1-1.
With the Buckeyes scrambled in front of their own zone, Wisconsin sophomore forward Brock Caufield took advantage of a loose puck to give the Badgers a 2-1 advantage five minutes later.
“We just gotta bounce back tomorrow — be at our best,” Rohlik said. “We got another game tomorrow. Come back and be better.”
Hein’s goal evened the playing field heading into the final 20 minutes.
“It was a big-time goal, end of the second going into the third, it kind of gave us a little bit of life. At the end of the day it still kind of stinks,” Hein said.
A Wisconsin goal was overturned after an Ohio State challenge for goalie interference, but it only delayed the inevitable, as Zimmer’s score at the 14:51 mark put the Badgers ahead for good.
Hein said the unfavorable outcome means the Buckeyes will return with a one-track mindset Saturday.
“I know we have it in the team here to just come back, band together, and we all know what we gotta do tomorrow,” Hein said. “We gotta win tomorrow. It’s a must win tomorrow for us,”
The Buckeyes will have their chance at 8 p.m., following the recognition of eight Ohio State seniors before their final home game.