MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – March 8, 2020 – Andrea Braendli stopped a season-high 41 shots and Tatum Skaggs scored 4:25 into overtime to give Ohio State a 1-0 victory over Wisconsin in the 2020 WCHA Final Faceoff Championship Game Sunday afternoon at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis.
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."
In a game that featured the WCHA scoring champion, offensive, defensive and overall players of the year and four Patty Kazmaier Top-10 finalists, it was a goaltender that stole the show as Braendli stymied a Badger attack that had not been held goalless this season to record her fourth shutout of the 2019-20 campaign.
"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."
In all, 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.
Skaggs earned Final Faceoff MOP 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. Wisconsin (28-5-3/17-4-3-2 WCHA) will learn its NCAA quarterfinal opponent on Sunday evening.
2020 WCHA Final Faceoff All-Tournament Team
F- Tatum Skaggs, Jr., Ohio State
F- Jennifer Gardiner, 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
About the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Women's League
The Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association is marking its 21st season in 2019-20. The nation's premier women's hockey conference, WCHA member institutions have won a record 17 national championships since the league's inception in 1999 (including 16 of a possible 19 NCAA titles), while producing seven Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winners, 101 All-Americans and numerous Olympic and national team members. The seven-team, NCAA Division I conference consists of: Bemidji State University (Beavers), the University of Minnesota (Golden Gophers), the University of Minnesota Duluth (Bulldogs), Minnesota State University (Mavericks), Ohio State University (Buckeyes), St. Cloud State University (Huskies) and the University of Wisconsin (Badgers). For more information, visit wcha.com.