MINNEAPOLIS – The Ohio State women’s hockey team won their first-ever WCHA Conference Tournament on Sunday with a 1-0 overtime win against Wisconsin. Jincy Dunne gathered the puck behind her own net and hit Tatum Skaggs as she streaked up across her own blue line. Skaggs carried the puck down the ice and beat Wisconsin’s Kristin Campbell to win the game.
It was Skaggs’ second-straight game-winner, as she scored in overtime to defeat Minnesota on Saturday. She was named the tournament’s most outstanding player for her efforts.
“It’s something you dream about as a little girl. In that moment, every shot is a good shot,” said Skaggs. “As a line, right before that we said ‘we’re going one more rush and that’s going to be the game.’ We looked at each other, me Emma (Maltais) and Liz (Schepers) and we said ‘this is it. Let’s go.’”
Ohio State coach Nadine Muzerall said it’s no surprise that Skaggs was the player that won the tournament for the Buckeyes.
“A clutch player is what (Skaggs) is. You can’t find those too often. They’re very rare. To find a goal-scorer is rare. You have to be composed under pressure,” said Muzerall.
The Badgers outshot Ohio State 41-26, but the Buckeyes clogged in front of the net, blocking 20 shots while goalie Andrea Braendli stopped a season-high 41 shots in the shutout.
“When you’re recruiting, you build from the back,” said Muzerall. “Andrea ever since Christmas has been lights out for us.”
The Buckeyes regularly put fewer shots on net than their opponent, but Skaggs said it’s not something the team focuses on much.
“The shots on the scoreboard don’t determine the game. There’s still a lot of time left and there’s a game to play and a game to win. So you just have to do you and play how we practice and how our culture is and stick together,” she said.
Muzerall echoed those words. “We’re not focused on the shots, we’re just focused on the end result.”
It was a historic win for Ohio State and the conference. Every WCHA tournament before today had been won by one of three teams and it’s been ten years since anyone other than Minnesota or Wisconsin took the crown.
In her fourth year at the helm, coach Nadine Muzzerall has taken Ohio State from a team that won 10 games the year before she started to a perennial contender, winning 20 or more games in each of the last three seasons.
“Finally this is our year and it just feels so good that all of the hard work we’ve put in over the years is coming to fruition,” said Skaggs.
Badger defender Mekenzie Steffen and forward Abby Roque joined Ohio State’s Skaggs, defender Jincy Dunne, forward Jenn Gardiner and goalie Andrea Braendli on the all-tournament team.
The NCAA selection show takes place on NCAA.com at 9 pm ET tonight. Wisconsin should be hosting an NCAA quarterfinal, while predictions show Ohio State will come right back here to Minneapolis to face the Gophers.