Having to tie a game in the last minute versus the team that's last in the Big Ten is not a sterling result, but it's sure better than the loss Ohio State would've gotten had Nick Schilkey not knotted it up at 19:12 of the third.
Wisconsin came in having only won one non-shootout game in conference play, with a record of 1-10-4-1. One would expect Ohio State to be able to handle them after playing Penn State and Michigan so closely over recent weeks. OSU came in with just four wins in conference and one shootout victory on top of those, but this still looked like Ohio State's series to lose. And they already probably lost it.
The Bucks should be trying to build momentum going into the conference tournament starting on March. 17 in St. Paul, MN, but when you're losing to Wisconsin, even in shootouts, you can't feel too good about your chances to run the table and steal the conference.
Things sure did start out fantastically for the Buckeyes, though. Schilkey scored just 1:30 into the first period, with his 15th of the year. Matt Weis and Tommy Parran registered the assists on the goal giving OSU the early lead. Wisconsin answered back, however, at 7:52 as Luke Kunin scored his 14th but OSU took their lead right back at 8:37 on Tyler Lundey's seventh of the season. Parran scored the primary assist while Luke Stork received secondary honors.
It looked like Ohio State was going to take the 2-1 lead into the dressing room, but Wisconsin completely shifted the tide of the game with a goal by Seamus Malone at 19:17 of the first. The Bucks looked like they were controlling the game after answering Wisconsin's first goal almost immediately despite only registering five shots on goal in the first, but Wisconsin took the period's ultimate momentum.
In the second, at 3:10, Wisconsin took their first lead of the game as Matt Ustaski scored his second of the season to put UW up 3-2. Matthew Freytag doubled Wisconsin's lead to make it 4-2 at 8:36 and soon enough, Ohio State looked like they'd completely blown this one. Wisconsin would take that 4-2 lead into the second intermission and looked to be in complete control after shifting the tide at the end of the first. OSU had outshot Wisconsin 15-12 in that second period, but UW goalie Matt Jurusik held the fort and kept OSU out.
In the third, Ohio State did their best to fire back. John Wiitala scored his eighth of the year at 12:45 with assists from Craig Dalrymple and Anthony Greco to pull Ohio State back within one, but with a minute left and Wisconsin still up one goal, it looked like the third period effort was going to fall just short.
Then Schilkey happened. He put one home at 19:12 off a feed from behind the net from Greco for his 16th of the season. David Gust received the secondary assist to hopefully start up another point streak. That sent the game to overtime where it would remain scoreless through the extra frame.
In the shootout, the Bucks were unable to score a single goal on Jurusik. Schilkey, Weis, Mason Jobst, Wiitala and Gust all missed for Ohio State before Freytag scored in the sixth round for Wisconsin. Lundey had a chance to knot the game up once again and extend the shootout, but just couldn't put one past Jurusik.
Christian Frey had another underwhelming game for Ohio State as he allowed four goals on 36 shots, for a .889 save percentage. That's probably about, on average, what Matt Tomkins would give you so there's no reason to call for his head or anything of the sort. Still, the dropoff in conference lately has been concerning with the conference tournament coming up quickly.
The Bucks will look to take at least the second half of this weekend's series tonight when they host Wisconsin at 7 p.m. at Value City Arena. There's no reason they shouldn't win at least one versus this team.