Lisa Steffes stops 42 shots, Melissa Feste scores twice

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 10th-ranked Ohio State women’s hockey team was inches away from overtime against top-ranked Wisconsin Saturday at the OSU Ice Rink. Down a goal with under a minute left and an extra skater on the ice, the Buckeyes set up in the UW zone and a slap shot by defenseman Kelly Wild pinged off the crossbar. The Badgers picked up the loose puck and Hilary Knight put the game away with an empty net goal for a 5-3 final.

The game extended Wisconsin’s winning streak to eight games as it improves to 20-2-0 overall and 14-2-0 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Ohio State falls to .500 on the season at 10-10-2 with a 4-10-2-2 record in the conference.

It was a back-and-forth game throughout with the Buckeyes battling back twice to tie the score. Freshman goaltender Lisa Steffes stood on her head and made several outstanding saves, finishing with 42 overall. On the other end of the ice, junior Melissa Feste tied her career high with two goals.

The Badgers carried a 1-0 lead into the first intermission when Knight put a wrist shot from the slot into the lower left corner of the goal 6:01 into the game. She was assisted by Kelly Jaminski and Brianna Decker.

Ohio State responded 4:36 into the second period when Feste netted her first goal. Senior Jenna Kilpatrick knocked the puck over to Feste in the neutral zone who skated in and scored top shelf to tie the game at 1-1. Rookie defenseman Becky Allis picked up the second assist.

Wisconsin then scored twice in a two-minute span to regain the lead. Madison Packer grabbed a loose puck and slipped it in five-hole for the unassisted goal at 12:19. Brittany Ammerman tacked on the third goal at 14:09 when she hit the puck in during a scramble around the net, set up by Meghan Duggan and Decker.

Just as it looked like the Badgers were pulling away, Ohio State scored at 17:26 to cut the score to 3-2 heading into the second intermission. Senior defenseman Shannon Reilly blasted a shot from the point and sophomore Hokey Langan cleaned up the rebound from the left post. Freshman Ally Tarr had the second assist.

In the opening minutes of the third period, Feste tallied her second goal to tie the score at 3-all. After a pass along the boards from Reilly, sophomore Minttu Tuominen backhanded the puck to center it in front of the net where Feste swept it in for the power play tally at 3:23.

The Badgers used a power play opportunity of their own to take back the lead at 7:51. Steffes made the initial save on a shot by Duggan from the left faceoff circle, but the puck trickled in for the goal, assisted by Brooke Ammerman and Geena Prough.

With time winding town, Ohio State called a timeout at 19:02 to pull Steffes for the extra skater but Knight found the empty net for the 5-3 final.

Overall, the Badgers had a 47-30 advantage in shots. The Buckeyes converted on their only power play opportunity and were 3-of-4 on the penalty kill. Steffes, who moved to 10-10-2 this year, made 10 saves alone against the UW power play. Alex Rigsby (14-1-0) had 27 saves in the Badger net.

Up next, Ohio State travels to Minnesota State for a WCHA series Jan. 14-15 in Mankato, Minn.

Game Notes:

  • The Buckeyes conclude their season series with Wisconsin at 0-4-0.
  • Lisa Steffes totaled 73 saves in this weekend’s series. She leads the NCAA with 659 saves this season and is one of only three goalies in the nation with over 600 saves so far this year.
  • Melissa Feste entered the game with one goal this season. It was her third two-goal game in her career and first since last January vs. Robert Morris.
  • Feste is the fourth Buckeye to score multiple goals in a game this season.
  • Shannon Reilly tallied her second multiple-assist game of the year. She ranks third on the Buckeyes with 11 assists and leads the WCHA overall in defenseman scoring with 16 points.
  • Hokey Langan has scored a goal in each of the last three games and in four of the last five.
  • Ohio State was without point leader Laura McIntosh and top goal-scorer Natalie Spooner as well as freshman defenseman Annie Svedin for the Badger series. The three faced off in the championship game of the MLP Cup Saturday in Switzerland with the McIntosh and Spooner on the Canadian Under-22 Team winning gold and Svedin earning silver with the Swedish National Team. They will rejoin the Buckeyes this week.