Ohio State Women's Hockey Beats Wisconsin, 1-0, to Claim Second National Title in Three Years

By Chase Brown on March 24, 2024 at 6:31 pm

For the second time in three years, Nadine Muzerall and the Buckeyes are national champions.

On Sunday, Ohio State defeated Wisconsin, 1-0, in the Frozen Four final at New Hampshire's Whittemore Center Arena. With the win, the Buckeyes avenged their 1-0 loss to the Badgers in last season's Frozen Four final and 6-3 loss to them in this season's WCHA Final Faceoff.

Joy Dunne scored the game-winner for Ohio State. After two-and-a-half periods of scoreless action, Dunne – the Buckeyes' leading goal scorer in the regular season – sniped a shot past Wisconsin goaltender Ava McNaughton to put Ohio State ahead. The Buckeyes' defense took care of business down the stretch, keeping the Badgers off the board.

“Congrats to the players and all the hard work that they put in throughout the year,” Muzerall said in her opening statement after the game. “Congratulations to Wisconsin. That was one hell of a game. Both teams battled hard. We knew it was gonna be a tough challenge.”

First Period

#1 OHIO STATE 0 0 1 1
#2 WISCONSIN 0 0 0 0

The first period went as expected between the Buckeyes and Badgers.

Before Sunday, Ohio State and Wisconsin had battled five times in 2023-24, with the former possessing a 3-2 record across four regular-season games and the WCHA Final Faceoff. Understanding their opponents' talent, the Buckeyes and Badgers adopted a cautious, defensive-minded approach in the 20 minutes.

While neither team scored, Ohio State and Wisconsin combined for 15 shots and nine blocks. The Badgers held a 12-9 advantage in faceoffs.

Second Period

Both Ohio State and Wisconsin had chances to score in the second, though neither team's shots reached the back of the net.

Of the 22 combined shots between the teams, Ohio State had the best opportunities to take the lead. However, McNaughton saved several shots from the Buckeyes' top forwards, Hannah Bilka, Jenn Gardiner and Dunne. On the other end of the ice, Ohio State goaltender Raygan Kirk made 10 saves in the period.

With 10 minutes left in the period, Ohio State defenseman Hadley Hartmetz collided with a Wisconsin forward behind the Buckeyes' net. The Badgers skater pinned Hartmetz to the board, causing her to fall to the ice. Hartmetz remained there until officials paused the action, allowing Ohio State's medical staff to assist her to the bench. Hartmetz did not return to the game.

Third Period

For 40 minutes, caution was fine. The final 20 minutes? Not so much.

In the final period, both Ohio State and Wisconsin were relentless in their offensive attack. As the Buckeyes and Badgers traded shots, Kirk and McNaughton did well to keep their teams out of danger and their opponents off the board.

But then, at the 7:12 mark, Ohio State scored the goal that would win the Buckeyes their second national title in three years.

Following an Ohio State shot and McNaughton save, Wisconsin launched a counter-attack and barreled toward Kirk. However, Ohio State defenseman Cayla Barnes made an excellent poke check to steal possession from the Badgers. She then deked toward the middle of the ice and delivered a pass to Bilka, who dropped the puck to Dunne.

Dunne took care of the rest.

As the game came to a close, Wisconsin emptied its net in an effort to tie the game. But the Buckeyes remained disciplined in their efforts to keep the puck out of the net, securing their one-goal win over the Badgers.

Game Notes

  • The national championship between Ohio State and Wisconsin was attended by 4,378 fans, the third-highest attendance ever and the highest-attended title game since 2006.
  • Ohio State is one of five teams to win a national championship in women's hockey, along with Wisconsin, Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth and Clarkson. The Badgers lead the five programs with seven titles, followed by the Gophers (six), Bulldogs (six), Golden Knights (three) and Buckeyes (two).
  • Ohio State has made four consecutive appearances in the Frozen Four and six overall. The Buckeyes have also reached three consecutive national championship games, winning one against Minnesota-Duluth in 2021 and another against Wisconsin on Sunday.
  • Ohio State's win over Wisconsin extends its program record for victories in a season to 36. It's the third straight season in which the Buckeyes have won over 30 games. It's also the sixth 20-win season in Muzerall's eight years in Columbus. Before she arrived, the Buckeyes surpassed 20 wins once in 17 years.
View 98 Comments