MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – For the first time in program history, the Ohio State women’s ice hockey program has won the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Championship. After 12 WCHA Final Faceoff appearances and two championship appearances, the Buckeyes are finally bringing the trophy home to Columbus. No. 3 Ohio State and No. 1 Wisconsin battled through 60 minutes of scoreless play but Tatum Skaggs scored her second overtime goal of the weekend to give the Buckeyes the 1-0 win Saturday afternoon in Ridder Arena.
Making just their second appearance in the WCHA championship game – and their first since 2001 – the victory gives the Buckeyes (24-8-6/13-6-5-2 WCHA) their first WCHA postseason title following just the fourth overtime contest in WCHA Championship Game history.
“Today was everyone giving everything they had,” Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said following the game. “We had never been on this stage before and we talked about making history and bringing the trophy back. I think the girls just wanted it so badly and were just itching for it. They did it together and didn’t care who put the puck in the net. They just wanted to win.”
Sophomore goaltender Andrea Braendli turned away 79 shots in the Buckeyes’ two games on the weekend as Ohio State became the first team in WCHA Final Faceoff history to win back-to-back overtime games to clinch the league’s postseason title.
“It’s always really fun to play against them (Wisconsin) because they are a really good team,” Braendli said. “They always put a lot of shots on the net. My team helped me out today. I couldn’t do what I did without our whole team having my back. I just had to play my best game.”
Skaggs earned Final Faceoff Most Outstanding Player honors after recording the game-winning overtime goal against both Minnesota and Wisconsin.
“It’s something you dream about as a little girl,” Skaggs said of her championship-clinching tally. “Every time you lace up the skates you play for the girl next to you and I just knew in that moment that every shot is a good shot. As a line, right before that, we said ‘we’re going one more rush and that’s going to be the game.’ We looked at each other, me, Emma (Maltais), Liz (Schepers) and we said, ‘this is it, let’s go.’”
Defenseman Jincy Dunne and Braendli were credited with the assists on Sunday’s winning tally. Dunne’s helper was her third of the tournament and tied her with Skaggs (3g) for the Final Faceoff scoring lead with three points.
The win clinches an automatic berth in the NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Championship for the Buckeyes.
2020 WCHA Final Faceoff All-Tournament Team
F- Tatum Skaggs, Jr., Ohio State
F- Jenn Gardner, Fr., Ohio State
F- Abby Roque, Sr., Wisconsin
D-Jincy Dunne, Sr., Ohio State
D- Mekenzie Steffen, Sr., Wisconsin
G- Andrea Braendli, So., Ohio State
Most Outstanding Player
Tatum Skaggs, Jr., Ohio State
Ohio State 1, Wisconsin 0
Ohio State and Wisconsin opened the WCHA Championship with a scoreless first period. The Buckeyes came out strong and had a 6-1 shot advantage after going on a power play but the Badgers finished the period with the 12-9 shots on goal lead. After one, Tatum Skaggs, Sophie Jaques and Liz Schepers all led the Scarlet and Gray with two shots each.
The game remained deadlocked through 40 minutes of play. Matching penalties were assessed early in the frame while Jincy Dunne was booked soon thereafter for a brief 4-on-3. Braendli anchored the Buckeye defense and denied the Badger’s 15 shots on frame.
For the fourth time in WCHA Championship history, the final contest would be decided in overtime. After a full 60 minutes, Braendli notched a season-high 40 saves. At the end of regulation, Wisconsin outshot Ohio State 40-23.
For the second time on the weekend, junior forward Tatum Skaggs scored the sudden-victory overtime goal, this time just 30 seconds before the mark of her overtime goal in the WCHA semifinal against Minnesota. Under five minutes into the sudden-victory period, Jincy Dunne found Skaggs up ice from deep in the defensive zone. With two defenders on her, Skaggs managed to slip between the two and fire off a shot through the pads of Kristen Campbell to clinch the victory.
BUCKEYES WIN!!!!!! WCHA CHAMPIONS!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/8yZM86Qwli
— Ohio State Women’s Hockey (@OhioStateWHKY) March 8, 2020