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Buckeyes sweep WCHA First Round Playoff series against 10th-ranked Wisconsin, head to Minneapolis next weekend

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Senior forward Raelyn LaRocque extended her career at least one more game by scoring the overtime gamewinner Saturday for the 4-3 victory as the Ohio State women’s hockey team completed the sweep of 10th-ranked Wisconsin in the WCHA First Round Playoff series.

The Buckeyes move on to the semifinals of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s Final Faceoff, its conference tournament, next weekend where they will face either Minnesota Duluth or Minnesota at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis.

The fifth-seeded Buckeyes (17-14-5, 12-13-3-1 WCHA) became just the second team to upset a higher-seeded team in the five-year history of the WCHA hosting the best-of-three playoff series. The fourth-seeded Badgers move to 18-15-3 overall this season after a 15-12-1-0 record in the conference.

After an extra-skater goal by Wisconsin forced the game into overtime for the second game in a row, sophomore Laura McIntosh connected with LaRocque, who jumped out for the breakaway goal 3:39 into the 20-minute OT session.

Freshman forward Hokey Langan led the way for Ohio State during regulation, recording the second hat trick in as many nights for the Buckeyes.

Langan gave OSU a quick 2-0 lead, scoring unassisted 5:43 into the game then adding another goal 1:46 later in the power play. She was set up by McIntosh and Natalie Spooner while skating with the man-advantage.

The Badgers responded at 9:57 with a power play goal of their own by Alev Kelter, assisted by Saige Pacholok and Kelly Nash. UW then added a second goal with the man-advantage in the last minute for a 2-2 tie at the first intermission. Jasmine Giles scored at 19:06 off assists by Brooke Ammerman and Brittany Haverstock.

After a scoreless second period, Langan scored her third goal of the game to complete the hat trick just 16 seconds into the third, giving the Buckeyes a 3-2 lead off an assist by sophomore Kim Theut.

Ohio State held on to the one-goal lead through most of the third period forcing Wisconsin to call a timeout with just over 2 minutes left. The Badgers pulled their goalie for an extra skater – a move that proved successful with 1:06 left when Kyla Sanders scored, assisted by Giles and Mallory Deluce, to send the contest into overtime.

For the game, the Buckeyes were 1-of-3 on the power play while the Badgers were 2-of-7. Ohio State had a 28-23 advantage in shots.

Freshman goalie Chelsea Knapp had 20 saves to improve to 15-14-5. UW’s Alannah McCready made 24 saves and is 9-8-0.

Game Notes:

  • Ohio State advances to the WCHA semifinal game for the first time since 2007.
  • The Buckeyes played in their 10th overtime game of the season, tying their record for OT games set twice before. They are 3-2-5 in extra session games this year.
  • OSU defeated the Badgers four times this season (4-2-0). The team had just three total wins over UW in the previous 10 seasons.
  • The Buckeyes are 9-5-4 on the road this season.
  • Ohio State had back-to-back hat tricks against Wisconsin with Natalie Spooner scoring one in the series opener Friday night (3-2 win).
  • The hat trick by Hokey Langan was her second of the season. She tied the Buckeye record for goals in a game with four vs. Bemidji State (Jan. 22).
  • Langan upped her point total of 51, the second-highest season point total in Buckeye history. She trails only Ohio State’s all-time leading scorer Jana Harrigan, who had 54 in the 2004-05 season.