On Friday night, the No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers needed to rally from two down to defeat No. 10 Ohio State in overtime. On Saturday, the Badgers came out strong from the beginning, defeating the Buckeyes 5-2 to complete the series sweep Saturday night at the Kohl Center.
Meghan Duggan and Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho) led the Badgers offense, as they both netted two goals. Duggan also earned an assist to finish with a team-high three points.
“I liked the way we came out tonight,” coach Mark Johnson said. “I liked the way we played in the first period. We took command of the game. I thought there were lapses in the second period, and they were sort of lulling us to sleep. After the second period, we talked about playing intense and not taking a shift off because Ohio State has enough scoring power that they can hang around, which they did, and all of a sudden it sets you up for a third period where it’s anybody’s game.
“We came out in the third period and played strong. We did a much better job of killing penalties tonight. I think they only had one shot on three power plays and we capitalized on a few of our power plays and that’s probably the difference in the game.”
Sophomore goaltender Becca Ruegsegger earned her third win of the season, stopping 16 of 18 shots, including nine in the third period. Lisa Steffes made 43 saves for OSU.
“I’d say it was a pretty good weekend for us,” Duggan said. “We came out hard and competed and we got what we wanted. Yesterday we started off maybe a little slow, and they jumped on us quick. I think we realized what we need to do in order to beat them. They’ve got a great team, and we stepped up to the plate and just had a great weekend overall.”
Duggan gave Wisconsin the early 1-0 lead on an unassisted power-play goal. She gained control of an attempted clear by the Buckeyes high in the slot on the right side and beat Steffes five-hole at the 6:17 mark of the first period.
Wisconsin (6-0-0, 4-0-0 WCHA) went ahead 2-0 when junior Brittany Haverstock passed to Mallory Deluce along the boards on the left side. Deluce skated the puck behind the net and centered it to Knight in the slot, and Knight’s shot beat Steffes glove side at the 14:28 mark of the period.
The Buckeyes (4-2-0, 2-2-0 WCHA) got on the board 1:57 into the second period. Swarming toward net, sophomore Tina Hollwell scored her first goal of season by jamming in the puck while skating in front of net.
Wisconsin responded midway through the period when Knight scored her second goal of the game on a power play. Brooke Ammerman fed a pass to Saige Pacholok on the blue line. Pacholok found Knight at the top of the slot, and Knight ripped a one-timer past Steffes high on her glove side.
Natalie Spooner brought the Buckeyes within one late in the second period when she fired a shot from high in the slot. Ruegsegger made the first save, but the puck trickled past her and Spooner was there to bury the loose puck, making it 3-2 with 2:02 remaining in the middle frame.
The Badgers increased their lead to 4-2 late in the third period. Brianna Decker streaked through center ice and passed to Carolyne Prevost as she crossed over the blue line. Prevost took the puck through the slot and fired one between Steffes’ legs with 2:46 to play.
Duggan put the game away with an empty-net goal with 23 seconds left in the game. Duggan broke up a pass in the defensive zone and took the puck to the red line, where she fired it down the ice into the back of the net for the final goal of the night.
Wisconsin concludes its season-opening eight-game homestand next weekend when it hosts Minnesota State Friday and Saturday at the Kohl Center. Puck drop is set for 2 p.m. both days.