If I told you going into this weekend that the Ohio State hockey team would split at No. 12 Wisconsin, you probably would’ve taken it and ran. But boy does it not feel good when you fall down three goals and the game feels out of reach halfway through the second.
The No. 19 Buckeyes made it close, scoring two in the third to make it a one goal game, but Wisconsin slammed the door against OSU and the extra attacker, to earn the split in the weekend series in Madison, Wisc., to open the year.
Ohio State was run over possession wise in the first, generating a paltry three shots on goal, while UW registered nine and scored the only goal of the frame. Will Johnson scored with Seamus Malone and Kevin Miller off for penalties, making it four on four. UW somehow got a 3-on-1 in the situation and Johnson put home the rebound. Not ideal!
The Badgers were contained from there until the nine minute mark of the second, when they’d score their second and third goals of the game within 1:43. Turnovers and poor clearing attempts allowed UW the chances they’d need as Cameron Baker and Tarek Baker scored their second and third goals, respectively.
OSU did outshoot the Badgers in the second, 8-7, but couldn’t find a way to put any of their opportunities home. Sean Romeo couldn’t keep the Buckeyes within a manageable distance despite only facing 16 shots against through two—and that’d sure matter once Ohio State came roaring back in the third.
Two goals within 24 seconds is a pretty unique occurrence, and Freddy Gerard and John Wiitala did that at 11:15 and 11:39 of the third. Mason Jobst had the secondary assist on both while Matt Joyaux had the primary on Gerard’s first of the year and Gerard had the primary on Wiitala’s second. Gerard now has four points through two games this year. Playing with Mason Jobst must own.
But that’d be all that OSU would get. Romeo would be pulled for the extra attacked but the Bucks couldn’t get that last one in.
Only seven shots were registered by the Buckeyes in the third, and they were actually outshot despite being down three coming into the period. (That’s not acceptable, but at least they made it close so consider this just me complaining.) If they keep getting outshot in those situations, it may be a problem, but it’s hard to complain here when they got so close.
All in all, a split at the No. 12 team in the country, who happens to be a conference rival, is nothing to scoff at. You just wish Ohio State would’ve come out and put on a better show in the first period Saturday night.
But either way, it’s a positive outcome and the Buckeyes will look to keep the momentum going when they host RPI in Columbus, Ohio for the home opening series next weekend.