Feb. 6, 2016
Columbus, Ohio— The Buckeyes (9-19-1, 5-17-1 WCHA) had the No. 2- ranked Badgers (27-1-1, 21-1-1 WCHA) on the ropes all night long, but came up just short in Friday’s 2-1 loss.
It was a wildly different story compared to the last time these two teams met, way back in October; that weekend Wisconsin dispatched Ohio State by a combined score of 15-0 over the course of the two games. Tonight it was OSU who had its WCHA foe on its heels nearly from the opening puck drop.
Ohio State held an early shot advantage in the first period, generating a good amount of offense against the stingiest team in the country. Eventually though the Badgers would strike first, scoring a power play goal 18:20 into the 1st period to go up 1-0. A flurry of activity near the net resulted in the puck squirting out towards the point squarely in front of Ohio State’s pipes, a perfect opportunity that allowed Wisconsin’s Jenny Ryan to walk right up and blast a goal into the back of the net. The period would end with that score and the Buckeyes with four fewer shots that their current foe- seven to 11. Ohio State had a short 5-on-3 power play during that opening period, but was unable to come away with anything.
Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the second period. Wisconsin managed 11 shots again while Ohio State’s total dipped to five. Each team also had a couple power play opportunities, though the Buckeyes failed to get off a shot on either while the Badgers managed to fire off a couple shots.
Early in the third period, Wisconsin’s Annie Pankowski notched her 18th goal of the season to put her team ahead 2-0. A failed two-on-one opportunity nevertheless brought the puck into Ohio State’s zone, and a few passes later a little give-and-go action between Pankowski and teammate Emily Clark ended up with the puck going from Pankowski’s stick to the back of the net. Ohio State was finally able to capitalize on an offensive opportunity at the 9:13 mark of the third period to come within one, 2-1. Maddy Field dished a pass to Katie Matheny, who wove in between a couple Badger defenders and found a wide open Claudia Kepler in a large swath of open ice right in front of the Wisconsin goalkeeper. Kepler buried the shot for her 12th goal of the season and put the Ohio State faithful on their feet.
Despite a late power play for Ohio State, it would eventually fall by one to the No. 2-ranked team in the country, losing 2-1 in a gutsy outing from head coach Jenny Potter’s squad. The fact that they were able to score a goal means they were able to score more often than the average Wisconsin opponent; the Badgers lead the nation in goals against average, allowing a miniscule 0.59 goals per game.
The Scarlet and Gray will look to upend Wisconsin tomorrow afternoon, with puck drop scheduled for 4:07.