The No. 1 University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team (1-1, 1-1 WCHA) traveled to Columbus, Ohio for their season-opening series against the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes (2-2, 2-2 WCHA).
In this top-five matchup, the Badgers took one out of two games from the Buckeyes, settling for a split.
In Friday’s contest, the Buckeyes had an advantage on the shot counter and on the scoreboard, outshooting the Badgers 36 to 24. This game saw a lot of action in the opening period with Ohio State leading 3-1 at the first intermission. Junior defender Sophie Jaques netted the first goal of the game for the Buckeyes, followed by a goal from fellow junior defender Madison Bizal, both within the first 13 minutes of the first period.
Down 2-0, the Badgers received an offensive spark from senior forward Daryl Watts, the team’s leading returning scorer, who scored her first goal of the young season.
Wisconsin was not able to build off of this momentum, however, and allowed the Buckeyes to score another goal of their own six minutes later to close out the period. Despite being down 3-1, the Badgers started the second period fast with a goal from senior forward Brette Pettet only 14 seconds into the frame. Unfortunately, this would serve as the last goal of the contest for either team as the Badgers ultimately fell by a 3-2 decision.
In the second game of the series on Saturday, the Badgers returned to their dominant form.
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Wisconsin led 2-0 after the opening period following goals from freshman forward Maddi Wheeler and junior forward Britta Curl. The Badgers were not able to net any goals in the second period, but their defense and goalkeeping stood strong to keep the Buckeyes scoreless.
In the third, Wisconsin’s offense added two more goals in the final five minutes of the game, capping off a commanding 5-0 decision — the team’s first win of the 2020-2021 season. Redshirt senior goalkeeper Kennedy Blair posted her first shutout as a Badger by saving all 28 of Ohio State’s shots on net.
The first series of the season for Wisconsin saw the team gain valuable experience against a very talented Ohio State team, who the Badgers will play again Dec. 18 and 19 at LaBahn Arena in Madison.
Next up on Wisconsin’s schedule are the rival Minnesota Golden Gophers ,whom the Badgers will travel to Minneapolis to play Dec. 4 and 5.