Ohio State turned back the clock and started looking like their old selves Saturday night at Wisconsin and that is not a good thing. The Buckeyes blew a two goal second period lead and fell to Wisconsin in Madison in the shootout last night to snap their three game winning streak.
The teams were tied at the end of regulation and at the end of overtime, making the game officially a 4-4 tie, with Wisconsin gaining the extra Big Ten point with the shootout victory. Ohio State fell to 1-2-1-0 in conference play while Wisconsin's win improved them to 1-3-2-1.
Things started off pretty well for the Buckeyes as they'd create their first two goal lead in the opening period. Kevin Miller started off the scoring for OSU off a feed by the surging Tyler Lundey for his first goal of the season at 10:41. Freddy Gerard then scored his first collegiate goal for Ohio State at 18:32 after a rebound off a Mason Jobst shot redirected to Gerard's stick.
It looked like the Bucks would get out of the first with that two goal lead, but Wisconsin struck back right before intermission. At 19:35, a redirection of a Luke Kunin shot by Ryan Wagner found its way through Christian Frey to narrow the lead to just one goal. Ohio State outshot Wisconsin 12-10, but with 16 blocks by OSU, it seemed that Wisconsin was getting the better of the shot attempts. Though a Josh Healey five minute major for boarding leading to a five minute Wisconsin powerplay may have had something to do with that.
Wisconsin would tie it up almost right away in the second Adam Rockwood knotted the game at two apiece at just 49 seconds into the period. Ohio State had a go ahead goal waved off after review determined it was offside, but OSU would regain the lead anyway at 2:29 on Lundey's fifth of the season. Then, at 13:34, after Ohio State got a powerplay off of a Wisconsin high sticking call, David Gust found Nick Schilkey who converted for his tenth of the season to make it 4-2.
But once again, Ohio State just couldn't survive that last minute of the period. Kunin scored off a faceoff in the OSU zone at 19:48 to make it just a one goal game. And once again, Wisconsin would tie it up early in the next period as Grant Besse scored at 3:31. Kunin continued his torment of OSU as he got the primary assist. Ohio State would get two powerplays in the third and would be unable to capitalize on either of them, with Wisconsin also failing to convert after Gust was called for slashing at 18:14.
And to overtime we went. OSU didn't register a single shot on net while Frey stopped all five of Wisconsin's. He ended the night with 34 saves on 38 shots for a mediocre .895 save percentage, though it easily topped UW's Matt Jurusik's .862 mark for the night. But when you're outshot by nine shots and don't register a single one in overtime, that goaltending advantage is pretty much nullified.
In the shootout, Wagner scored on his first attempt and that'd be all it took. OSU couldn't put a single one in and that one goal would be the difference. Ohio State got the point from the tie, but couldn't put away Wisconsin to get the second.
The Bucks easily should have won this game, as they had two two goal leads and seven powerplay chances, but they just couldn't finish off Wisconsin. Frey had his moments but was mediocre. Dakota Joshua took three minor penalties, including one before the opening faceoff. Credit Wisconsin for coming back twice and really outplaying the Bucks on the night overall, but OSU should have gotten that second point. They have nobody to blame but themselves.
The Ohio State mens hockey team will be in action again on January 15 as Michigan comes down for the north to start a weekend home and home series.