While it is hard to complain about winning 10 of its last 12 games on the Bob Johnson rink at the Kohl Center, the Wisconsin men's hockey team cannot be thrilled about the way it ended its record home-stand.
The Badgers out-shot Ohio State 37-22 and outplayed the Buckeyes for much of the game, but it was OSU who came away with the 3-1 victory in Madison.
"They're very frustrated and disappointed," head coach Mike Eaves said in his post game press conference. "They don't want to hear the words we were saying as a coaching staff. But, it's the truth, and we hope that at some point before they leave they recognize how well they played and they hold their heads up when they walk out of this building."
The Badgers (14-7-1, 5-3-0 Big Ten) took a 1-0 first period lead thanks to senior Mark Zengerle's third goal of the season, but that would prove to be the entirety of UW's offense.
Wisconsin had plenty of chances in the second and third periods to tie the game after falling behind, but some combination of bad luck and Ohio State (12-9-1, 2-5-1) freshman goalie Christian Frey -- who made 36 saves on 37 UW shots -- kept the Badgers off the scoreboard.
"You can kind of view it in both ways," senior forward Sean Little said. "I feel like we had a good effort as a team. We just couldn't find a way to put the puck in the net. Overall, I thought we played alright, so I don't think it was a loss. I think we got better as a team tonight and that's all we can ask for."
As if the loss was not bad enough, Wisconsin also lost one of its top scorers when Tyler Barnes left the ice in the third period. The senior forward fell into the boards behind the Buckeyes' net and skated to the locker room in obvious pain.
Despite stopping 17 of 19 shots, junior goaltender Joel Rumpel saw his nine-game win streak come to an end. Rumpel's season record fell to 11-2-0 on the year in the loss.
The Badgers hit the road next week for the first time since late November when they make the trip to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan, and they are already looking forward to moving past this loss.
"Right when we come back to the rink on Monday everyone has to be ready to get better," senior captain Frankie Simonelli said. "There's no time to sit there and dwell on a loss tonight. We could have used the points for the standings and the rankings, but we have to move forward, and that starts Monday."