ERIE, Pa. - The second-ranked Wisconsin women's hockey team is moving onto the 2021 NCAA Frozen Four championship game after a 4-2 win over conference rival Ohio State on Thursday night at Erie Insurance Arena.
The third line propelled the Badgers (16-3-1) to their fourth win over the Buckeyes (13-7-0) as senior Caitlin Schneider and freshmen Makenna Webster and Casey O'Brien each scored.
Webster put the Badgers on the board first with a goal just under two minutes into the game, her third goal of the postseason, to give UW a 1-0 lead.
O'Brien doubled the UW lead in the opening minutes of the second before Schneider scored a tic-tac-toe goal to give UW a 3-0 advantage.
The Buckeyes scored their first during 4-on-4 play in the second and the Badgers went into the final frame up 3-1.
Ohio State cut the Badger lead to one early in the third period with a goal on a rush by Sara St. Saekkinen.
Daryl Watts dumped a goal on Ohio State's open net in the final seconds of the game to bring the Badgers' lead back to two and close out the win.
Wisconsin netminder Kennedy Blair had 37 saves and only allowed two goals to help the Badgers advance.
Three Notes of the Game:
- Wisconsin will make its ninth NCAA championship game appearance and the third in the last four tournaments.
- The Ohio State second-period goal ended a streak of 274 minute shutout streak for the Badgers in NCAA tournament games, a streak that started during UW's run to the 2019 NCAA title.
- Daryl Watts, recently-named Patty Kazmaier top-three finalist, scored the final goal of the game to notch her 239th career point. She holds 14th for most career points in NCAA history, passing Badger alum Meghan Duggan at 238.
Straight from the Rink
Head coach Mark Johnson
On the game:
"It was a hard-fought game. It was the sixth time we played Ohio State this season. All the games except one were one-goal games or overtime. They competed hard. They played very hard for 60 minutes. They challenged us. We had a 3-0 lead and certainly knew that we had to continue to play and I thought we had some different people step up tonight. Their goaltender played very well. Everybody in our camp is excited for an opportunity to play for the national championship on Saturday night."
On the Badgers' third line:
"The nice thing about them getting on the scoresheet tonight is it's gotta help with their confidence. As I told the team after the game, different people are stepping up in all our different games and that's the nice thing I'm seeing. You don't have to rely on (Sophie) Shirley or (Daryl) Watts or somebody else, someone is stepping up and making a contribution."
Senior forward Caitlin Schneider
On the team's mentality:
"Our message going into tonight was we wanted to bring energy for our team and we wanted to help swing the momentum in our favor. So we came out fired up and ready to play."
Senior goaltender Kennedy Blair
On her first shot at the NCAA title:
"The biggest thing I wanted to do was win a national championship in my five years of college. So here we are now in the place where I started. I'm super excited. I have a lot of family and friends in the stands, old teammates, so it's very exciting to do it right here in Erie."
Wisconsin will face top-seeded Northeastern at 6:30 p.m. CT on Saturday for the NCAA title. Fans can watch the game live on ESPNU or listen on 1310 WIBA.