The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team (8-19-3, 5-14-1-1 Big Ten) is in the midst of their longest losing streak of the season. They have lost six straight games, with four of these games on the road. The team has struggled away from the Kohl Center all year, and this continued against the Ohio State Buckeyes (21-7-2, 13-5-2) at Value City Arena. The Badgers dropped both games of the weekend series to the Buckeyes, allowing 10 combined goals across the two games.
Wisconsin jumped ahead to a 1-0 lead early on in the first game on a powerplay goal from Bowling Green transfer Max Johnson. The slot shot was assisted by Zach Urdahl and Liam Malmquist. After the goal, the Badger defense locked down Ohio State, allowing the team to carry a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
In the second period, Corson Ceulemans doubled the Wisconsin lead after trailing the play, receiving a pass from Mathieu De St. Phalle and shooting it past Buckeye goalkeeper Jakub Dobes. The middle frame saw two more goals go up on the board, one for each team, making it 3-1 Badgers after two periods. Eric Cooley scored for Ohio State while Ceulemans netted his second goal for Wisconsin.
The Badgers looked to secure their two-goal lead and put the game away in the third period, but the Buckeyes had other plans. Despite being outshot 16-14 in the period, Ohio State scored two goals on Wisconsin goalkeeper Jared Moe to tie the game and force overtime. In overtime, Georgii Merkulov put the Buckeyes on top for good, sealing a 4-3 come from behind victory.
Heading into the second game, the Badgers looked to bounce back from a disappointing ending. They once again took a very early lead in the game on a powerplay goal as Sam Stange scored just two minutes in. Despite the strong start, Wisconsin then conceded five straight goals to the Buckeyes and were down 5-2 after two periods of play. All of these goals came at even strength with game one’s overtime hero, Merkulov, scoring twice.
Ohio State scored a minute into the third period, icing off a 6-2 win and a series sweep. De St. Phalle also scored in the loss for the Badgers. Moe and Cameron Rowe split the duties in net, as Rowe was pulled after allowing four goals half way through the second period.
Wisconsin will have the opportunity to put an end to the losing streak Feb. 10 and 11 against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the 11 ranked team in the nation, according to USCHO.com.