Oct. 8, 2016
Madison, Wisc.— Ohio State (2-1-1, 0-1-1 WCHA) held a lead for much of regulation on Saturday, but a late Wisconsin (3-0-1, 3-0-1 WCHA) goal paved the way for a 1-1 tie. The No. 1 Badgers earned the extra point in the standings by winning the shootout 1-0.
“They really brought a lot of energy to the ice this weekend,” head coach Nadine Muzerall said of her Buckeyes. “The one big thing we asked them to do this weekend was to believe in each other and believe in the process and they did exactly that. I could not be prouder of their effort and the way they played this weekend.”
The big moment of the game for the Buckeyes came at the 12:09 mark of the first period. Julianna Iafallo notched her first goal of the season to put OSU up 1-0 on the top-ranked team in the nation. The play originated in Ohio State’s own zone; Jessica Dunne dished it out to Dani Sadek behind the OSU goal, who passed it out to Samantha Bouley heading up the ice. Bouley then threaded a pass through the Wisconsin defense that found the stick of Iafallo near center ice. The junior forward made a move on the Wisconsin defender and fired off a shot right over the glove of Ann-Renee Desbiens, ricocheting off the crossbar and into the net.
The Badgers would eventually respond, but not until the final moments of regulation. With 1:54 left on the clock and on the power play, UW’s Sam Cogan corralled a loose puck in front of the net and stuffed in the tying goal.
After neither team managed a goal in overtime it was off to a shootout, where Wisconsin found the back of the net once and Ohio State not at all. The 1-1 tie will give both squads a point in the WCHA standings, while UW will pick up an extra point thanks to the shootout win.
“Coming into the weekend we were really excited to play the number one team in the country,” said Muzerall. “Even though we only had four full practices to prepare, I think the girls did a fantastic job this weekend. They really bought in to the process, especially what we were trying to do defensively. Kassidy was lights out for us in goal.”
Goaltender Kassidy Sauve did indeed have another great outing, making 37 saves against a strong Wisconsin offense, allowing just the one regulation goal. The importance of her play today was magnified by the fact that the Ohio State offense generated a season-low six shots.
Notable for the Buckeyes is the fact that there were only six total penalties in today’s game. In each of the previous three games this season, OSU and its opponent combined for at least 12 penalties. The sharp decrease in that statistic can be credited to a few things, one of which is an encouraging sign for Muzerall and her staff.
“I think a big part of that is they understand our system more,” Muzerall said on the lower penalty total. “They were in better positions and weren’t skating around tiring themselves out. When you’re tired out there it can be easy to commit penalties because you’re tired, and we didn’t see any of those today.”
On the defensive end, the Buckeyes blocked a whopping 26 shots. Jincy Dunne got in the way of five shots, while Sadek and Jessica Dunne blocked four and three, respectively. In total nine Buckeye skaters blocked multiple shots today.
“One thing they have to remember today is that they came away with a point from the number one team in the nation,” said Muzerall. “They didn’t lose, they tied and earned a point in the standings for that.”
Ohio State will finish off its six-game season-opening road stand next weekend with a two-game set at WCHA foe Bemidji State.