MADISON, Wis. – Despite a late push, Wisconsin wasn’t able to dig itself out from an early deficit, falling to Ohio State 4-2 on Saturday afternoon at the Kohl Center.
With the regular-season championship already in stow, the loss doesn’t affect the outcome of the WCHA playoffs for Wisconsin (29-3-2, 23-3-2-1). Ohio State is now 16-14-4 (12-14-1-1 WCHA) on the season and will play Minnesota Duluth in the first round of conference playoffs.
“We were hoping we would get three (goals), but we put ourselves in a situation where we were down 3-0 and that’s not always ideal,” said Brooke Ammerman. “We need to make sure that doesn’t happen. We had a good effort coming back and at least we gave ourselves a chance to tie the game and maybe win it.”
The game started off at a high intensity level with a lot of back-and-forth play from both teams. Similar to last night’s start, Wisconsin led in shots 3-0 midway through the first. However, OSU would score on its first shot, a wrister from senior Laura McIntosh.
Unfortunately for the Badgers, the Buckeyes built off their early momentum scoring two additional goals on their next three shots. All three Ohio State goals were scored in the span of four minutes.
The second period saw a physical battle with a combined six penalties. The Badgers were able to capitalize on the man-advantage at the 17:31 mark when Stefanie McKeough fired a long pass to Brooke Ammerman who slipped the puck in the backdoor behind OSU goaltender Lisa Steffes.
Wisconsin cut its deficit in the third period on another power-play goal, this time by Carolyne Prévost who found the opening past Steffes.
The late push wasn’t enough for a comeback as the Buckeyes scored a late empty-net goal to earn the 4-2 win.
“I hate losing but I think it really refocuses us,” said Hilary Knight. “It’s always hard to come back from a loss and refocus on Monday, but I think we can do that. We now know not to take things for granted.”
Wisconsin gets back to action next week to start postseason play. The Badgers will host either Minnesota State or St. Cloud State in the WCHA first-round playoffs on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 26-27, with a game on Sunday, Feb. 28, if necessary.