No. 3 Ohio State avoided upset by the Big Ten-trailing Badgers on Friday night. The Bucks overcame tough defense, a game goaltender, and the (temporary, thank God) loss of Dakota Joshua to extend their win streak to six games.
|Scoring by Period||1||2||3||OT||Final|
|No. 3 Ohio State||0||0||1||1||2|
Although it had an exciting finish, this game was boring as all heck through the first two periods. The Bucks attempted very few shots. The stray pucks that made it through to Daniel Lebedeff died on the Wisconsin goalie’s pads.
The Badgers dominated possession but were not much more productive, shot-wise. They generated only a couple of seriously good looks against the Buckeye defense. These attempts failed to register an official shot on goal. The Badgers whiffed on a back door slam dunk and shanked a shot on a 2-on-0. Wisconsin’s only goal came early in the second period when a weird deflection wobbled through traffic to Mick Messner for a tap in.
|Buckeye Goal Scorers (Assists)||Pd||Time|
|PP - John Wiitala (Brendon Kearney, Quinn Preston)||3||8:48|
|Matt Miller (Quinn Preston, Austin Pooley)||OT||4:50|
One reason for the anemic Buckeye offense was the first-period ejection of Dakota Joshua. The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect exited late in the stanza for allegedly making contact with the head of his opponent during a check. Darned if I could see it. Joshua’s line-crossing physicality has been oft-documented and lamented here over the years. In this case, though, I’m on his side. It sure looked like he kept his arms scrupulously low during the hit.
Regardless of the righteousness of the call, the Bucks - already skating without Gustaf Westlund, Tanner Laczynski, and Sasha Larocque - found themselves down yet another key player and lacking a significant net-front presence. Senior forward Brendon Kearney stepped up and filled the gap brilliantly. Midway through the third period, he helped orchestrate the game-tying goal.
With the Scarlet and Gray on the power play, Kearney took away Lebedeff’s eyes and tied up traffic in the paint. This left an opening for John Wiitala to hammer home the tying tally. It was Ohio State’s twelfth shot on goal for the game.
The lamp-lighter touched off the Buckeye offense. The Bucks dialed up more scoring chances in the last ten minutes of regulation than they did in the first 50. Lebedeff battled hard to preserve the tie into the extra session.
As time wound down in the 5-on-5 overtime, it looked as though the Badger goalie had succeeded in securing a conference point for Wisconsin. But, with 9.5 seconds left on the clock, the relentless pursuit of Quinn Preston led to a big set up for Matt Miller. The blueliner collected Preston's pass and shoveled a backhand past Lebedeff.
In spite of personnel and productivity troubles, Ohio State (18-5-4, 11-3-3-2 B1G) somehow managed to secure all three conference points in tonight's tilt. OSU now leads the Big Ten field by 11 points. Five points separate second-place Minnesota from last place Wisconsin. The Buckeyes and Badgers go again tomorrow night. Same time (8pm ET), same channel (FS Wisconsin or SportsTime Ohio).
No. 9 Women Fall to Bemidji State, 3-2
The women’s hockey Bucks surged out to a 2-0 lead against the visiting Beavers on Friday night. Maddy Field potted lucky goal No. 13 on the season to open the scoring. Lauren Boyle followed with a second Buckeye tally late in the first period.
|Scoring by Period||1||2||3||Final|
|No. 9 Ohio State||2||0||0||2|
But Bemidji cranked out three unanswered goals to claim the win. First, Abby Halluska intercepted the puck and put a breakaway goal on the board for the visitors. Lydia Passolt knotted the score midway through the second period. Another unassisted tally, this one from Emily Bergland, put the Beavers ahead for good early in the final frame.
|Buckeye Goal Scorers (Assists)||Pd||Time|
|Maddy Field (Paetyn Levis, Sophie Jaques)||1||8:16|
|Lauren Boyle (Emma Maltais)||1||18:26|
Ohio State outshot Bemidji 46-28 in the contest, including a 22-9 margin in the third period. Beaver goalie Lauren Bench finished with 44 saves. Lynsey Wallace, making her third start in net for the Bucks, stopped 25 shots.
After the game, Nadine Muzerall was upbeat about her team’s effort in spite of the loss. “We possessed the puck,” the Buckeye coach noted. “We had the majority of the offensive zone time. Our CORSI percentage was off the chart. You get 46 shots on net and you lose, 3-2. Last week you get 46 shots on net and you win, 5-0. So it’s hard to tell your team they weren’t deserving of the win.”
OSU and BSU conclude their match up tomorrow afternoon at 3pm ET. Besides sending their seniors out on a high note, the Bucks will look to avoid being swept in their season series with the Beavers. Bemidji is now 3-0-0-0 against Ohio State in 2018-19.