COLUMBUS, Ohio - No. 1 Wisconsin jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and defeated No. 4 Ohio State 5-0 on Saturday to close out the two-game weekend WCHA series at the OSU Ice Rink. The Badgers are now 1-1-0 on the season while Ohio State is 2-2-0.
The Buckeyes, who won Friday night's series opener 3-1 thanks to early offense in the first period, had the tables turned on them Saturday. Wisconsin's Maddie Wheeler found the back on the next just 1:50 into the contest to give the Badgers a quick 1-0 lead. Six minutes later, Bitta Curl extended the Badger lead to 2-0 off assists from Delaney Drake and Nicole LaMantia.
"The first period we can out flat, which was disappointing considering how dominant we were last night," said head coach Nadine Muzerall. "We knew Wisconsin wouldn't be playing the way they did last night. We played on our heels and were sloppy. We gave up two bad goals in front and after we collected ourselves I thought we were dominant in the second (period). The third period went back and forth. The shots were about even but they scored when they needed to and we didn't when we needed to. We need to just do a better job of finding those clutch plays that can get us on the board."
Trailing 2-0, the Buckeyes were able to kill off a five-minute major penalty midway through the first period. Ohio State's penalty kill unit was perfect on the day, going two for two and allowing just five shots.
After being outshot 17-9 in the opening 20 minutes, Ohio State settled in offensively in the second period and outshot the Badgers 10-9. For the game, Wisconsin held a 30-28 edge in shots on goal. Ohio State goalie Andrea Braendli made 25 saves on the day while her counterpart, Kennedy Blair, stopped all 28 shots that she faced.
After an evenly played second period, Wisconsin extended its lead to 3-0 2:26 into the third period of the first of two goals by Sophie Shirley. At the 15:55 mark of the period, Shirley scored an empty net goal and Dara Greig closed out the scoring with 42 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Buckeyes will be off next weekend and return to action the weekend of Dec. 11-12 when they host Minnesota at the OSU Ice Rink. The Buckeyes and Gophers played last weekend in Minneapolis with the teams splitting the two games. Minnesota won the first, 4-0, before the Buckeyes rebounded for a 2-1 win last Sunday.