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Rookie goalie Chelsea Knapp makes season-high 42 saves

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s hockey team scored with an extra-skater with just over 1 minute left to cut the Wisconsin lead to one goal, but that’s where it would stand as the Buckeyes fell, 3-2, to the No. 10 Badgers Saturday at the OSU Ice Rink.

The teams split the Western Collegiate Hockey Association series, with Ohio State moving to 13-11-4 overall and 10-10-2-0 in the league. Wisconsin is 15-10-3 with a 12-9-1-0 conference record.

Freshman goalie Chelsea Knapp had a strong outing with a season-high 42 saves, but another rookie, Wisconsin’s Brianna Decker, proved the only one able to get past her as she scored all three Badger goals for the hat trick.

Decker put Wisconsin on the board first 16:54 of the opening period, knocking in the rebound of a shot by Stefanie McKeough with Carolyne Prevost picking up the second assist.

The Buckeyes responded just 12 seconds later when Natalie Spooner backhanded the puck top-shelf from low in the slot. She was set up by her linemates Paige Semenza and Melissa Feste.

After a scoreless second period, Decker added two more goals within a minute span in the third. She scored on the power play at 7:49, then jammed in the puck during a scramble in front of the net at 8:46. She was awarded her third goal after the referees reviewed it on the overhead reply.

With time winding down, the Buckeyes called a timeout and pulled Knapp for an extra skater. The move proved successful at 18:59 when Kim Theut came on the ice during a change and charged through the slot to fire in the loose puck. Defensemen Rachel Davis and Kelly Wild collected the assists.

Ohio State skated the final 45 seconds with the extra man, but couldn’t generate another goal for the 3-2 loss.

The reversal of Friday’s game, Wisconsin had the wide margin in shots Saturday with a 45-29 advantage. The Buckeyes were 0-of-3 on the power play while the Badgers were 1-of-4.

It was a battle of freshmen in net with Becca Ruegsegger picking up the win for UW to improve to 8-6-3 with 27 saves. Knapp moves to .500 on the year at 11-11-4.

Up next, the Buckeyes conclude their three-week homestand with a WCHA series against North Dakota, Feb. 5-6. Games begin at 7 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday at the OSU Ice Rink.

Game Notes:

  • Ohio State split its season series with Wisconsin at 2-2-0. The Buckeyes won both Friday games.
  • OSU is 7-4-1 in its last 12 games and 4-1-1 in its series-opening games during that span.
  • The Saturday game was U.S. College Hockey Online’s “Game of the Week.”
  • Natalie Spooner has a point in eight of her last 10 games with 12 points (6g, 6a) in that span.
  • Kelly Wild finished the weekend vs. Wisconsin with three assists.