March 7, 2021

Wisconsin Edges Ohio State in WCHA Title Game, 3-2


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Sixty minutes wasn’t enough to decide the WCHA Final Faceoff champion on Sunday afternoon as the third-ranked Ohio State women’s hockey team appeared poised to write another thrilling chapter in the story of its 2020-21 season. A goal by Wisconsin’s Lacey Eden, however, just 42 seconds into overtime lifted the second-ranked Badgers to a 3-2 victory at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis.

“We battled. There were no excuses, it’s playoff hockey,” said head coach Nadine Muzerall. “You sell out and do everything you can and need to do. We did that. We had an opportunity to get the puck out twice – it bounced over a stick and then hit off a skate badly that kept it in. It’s unfortunate but Wisconsin capitalized on that.”

The Buckeyes, who are 12-6-0 on the season and were making their second consecutive Final Faceoff championship appearance, will await the announcement of tonight’s NCAA Tournament field to find out who and when they will play next. This year, all seven NCAA Tournament games will be played at the same site in Erie, Pa.

This year’s championship game went to overtime thanks to Sophie Jaques, who scored with 10:01 remaining in the third period to tie the score at 2-all. Jaques, along with teammate Emma Maltais, was named to the All-Tournament Team.

Twice in the contest, Ohio State fought back from one-goal deficits. Daryl Watts scored the first of her two goals 2:19 into the second period to put Wisconsin up 1-0, but Jennifer Gardiner answered three minutes later off an assist from Lisa Bruno to tie the score at 1-1.

Watts’ second tally of the day, this one just past the midway point of the second period, put the Badgers up 2-1, and that’s how the score stayed through the second intermission. Jaques’ goal, her second of the season, was unassisted at 9:59 of the third period.

The stat sheet was as even as the score would indicate: Both teams took 20 shots on goal and the goalies – Andrea Braendli for Ohio State and Kennedy Blair of Wisconsin – made 17 and 18 saves, respectively. The Buckeyes were 0-for-4 on the power play while Wisconsin was 0-for-2. The Buckeyes were dominant on faceoffs, winning two-thirds of the draws (40 of 60).

“I told the team that this does not dictate who you are and what your season resembles,” said Muzerall. “I feel very confident that we’ll get another shot and a lot of people won’t have that opportunity. So we have another shot to get some hardware next week.”