COLUMBUS, Ohio – Wisconsin forward Mark Zengerle normally is the kind of player setting up his teammates. Saturday, he was the one cashing in.
The Wisconsin senior’s two-goal effort broke a five-game road winless streak for the Badgers as UW topped Ohio State, 4-2, in the Schottenstein Center.
The win allows No. 8 Wisconsin (17-9-2, 8-5-1-0) to stay in second in the Big Ten while Ohio State (15-10-3, 5-6-3-2) remains tied for third. The loss snapped a six-game unbeaten streak for OSU.
Wisconsin’s win prevented the Buckeyes from sweeping after OSU won Friday 2-1.
“We think we played a better game overall (tonight),” Ohio State coach Steve Rohlik said.
“They were playing for a sweep so we knew they would play hard,” Zengerle said. “We stayed with it.”
For a player that leads the Badgers with 27 points, Zengerle does not score many goals. But on Saturday, he scored his fifth and sixth goals of the campaign, one of which ended up being the game-winner.
While Zengerle is still a ‘look first for a pass’ player, Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves said he has been looking for shots on goal lately.
“Mark has had some chances,” Eaves said. “He hit some posts here recently. He has been shooting the puck more lately and tonight he was rewarded as he has found the back of the net a couple of times.”
A night after OSU had an early 2-0 lead, it was UW who had the early two-goal advantage despite OSU getting the first six shots of the contest.
“The first thing we talked about after the game was it was the same game but in reverse,” Eaves said. “We got the 2-0 lead, that was the difference tonight, that was the difference last night.”
Freshman Morgan Zulinick scored his third goal of the year during a power play with a wrister that flew past the glove of OSU goalie Christian Frey 9:44 into the game.
The Badgers took a 2-0 lead 11:50 into the first as Zengerle’s outreached stick redirected Grant Besse’s pass from the slot over Frey.
“We did what we wanted to do in the first, get off to a good start and have the momentum,” Rohlik said. “We had some chances and got on the power play and I was happy with where we were at. And then all of a sudden we take a penalty and they score on the power play and they get the other one.”
Ohio State responded 12:54 into the second as Nick Schilkey led a two-on-one and called his own number, taking a snapper over Joel Rumpel’s glove. Ohio State’s Ryan Dzingel started the break and was credited with a second assist. The assist allowed Dzingel, an Ottawa prospect, to become the 56th Buckeye to score 100 points at OSU.
Dzingel became the first Buckeye to score 100 points before concluding his junior season since R.J. Umberger. Dzingel is leading the Big Ten with 38 points this season.
“I have seen a big jump in his overall game,” Rohlik said. “I attribute that to a lot of success. He has scored points his entire career, he has scored points at every level, but he has become more of a two-way player. I think that is part of his development.”
Wisconsin and Ohio State traded goals early in the third. Zengerle took advantage of a misplayed rebound by Frey and defender Curtis Gedig to give UW a 3-1 lead 1:02 into the third. OSU responded 55 seconds later when Max McCormick fired a one-timer past Rumpel from the left circle.
Ohio State’s power play went to work late in the third period. It was a battle of the top-ranked power play in the Big Ten versus the top-ranked penalty kill. It was the Badgers’ penalty kill that won the battle.
The Badgers stopped the Buckeyes on all eight of their man advantages over the weekend.
“It was always starts with your netminder,” Eaves said about UW’s penalty kill. “He made some big saves. Our guys worked coordinated together; (assistant coach Gary Shuchuk) has got them understanding what they’re trying to do.”
After OSU pulled Frey with 1:54 left, UW sealed the game with Nic Kerdiles’ empty-netter as time expired.