Buckeyes send Badgers packing in series finale - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Buckeyes send Badgers packing in series finale

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Per UW Athletics) — The Wisconsin men’s hockey team came out strong in the opening period on Saturday night, but Ohio State found a scoring touch in the final two periods that proved too much for the Badgers to overcome.

After Wisconsin (6-16-8, 1-11-4-2 Big Ten) took a 4-2 lead at the 7:25 mark of the second period, the Buckeyes (10-17-3, 5-8-3-1 Big Ten) scored four of the game’s final five goals to tip UW, 6-5, at the Schottenstein Center.

Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves again thought his squad made positive strides in the series finale, which included its highest scoring first period of the season.

“I thought we did a lot of really good things,” Eaves said. “But we’re not doing enough things when we don’t have the puck to make a difference in the game. We’re scoring five goals, but we need that one more blocked shot, that one less turnover, that next zone mentality in some cases.”

The Buckeyes netted the final two goals of the second period and then took the lead less than three minutes into the final period.

But as has been the case on many occasions this season, Wisconsin persevered and knotted the game up with 5:57 to play. Cameron Hughes drew the Badgers even at five, as he created space for himself on the right wing and ripped a wrist shot top shelf past OSU goaltender Christian Frey.

Ohio State had an answer of its own, as the Buckeyes took the lead back for good with just 2:30 remaining in the third. Mason Jobst slid a loose puck past Wisconsin netminder Matt Jurusik with Jurusik sprawled on the ground to put the Buckeyes ahead 6-5.

Wisconsin pulled Jurusik in the final minute and had several chances to tie the game, but couldn’t solve Frey in the waning moments.
Eaves like the composure from his team in the late stages of the third period, despite the rally eventually coming up short.

“The guys were great on the bench. They’ve been here,” Eaves said of Wisconsin’s experience in close games. “They just stayed with it, got the tying goal.”

Although the Badgers couldn’t score late to tie the game again, Wisconsin was good in a late-period sequence earlier in the game, scoring twice in the final 64 seconds of the first period to take a 3-1 lead to the locker room.

The Badgers salvaged a broken play in the offensive zone, leading to the second goal of the game, as Grant Besse scooped up a loose puck in the slot and fed Luke Kunin at the edge of the left circle. Kunin buzzed a shot past Frey for his team-leading 15th goal of the season.\

Then with just 10 seconds left in the period, Will Johnson set up defenseman Jake Linhart in the slot, and Linhart danced past an Ohio State defenseman and rifled one five-hole to beat Frey.

Ohio State cut the lead to 3-2 just 2:16 into the second period, but Johnson answered with a goal of his own when he tipped a cross-ice feed from Seamus Malone past Frey to make it 4-2.

Johnson, Malone, Besse and Hughes all finished with multi-point games, with Hughes and Besse both recording a goal and two assists apiece. Malone had two assists, giving him a point in five consecutive games.

“We’re still forging away,” Eaves said of the Badgers development. “It’s disappointing because they busted their fannies, but we got to do more in order to create a win.”

Wisconsin hosts Penn State next weekend for UW’s final home series of the regular season. Both games are at 7 p.m., and Friday’s game will be broadcasted on ASN.

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