NEW YORK — Two Super Saturday games at Madison Square Garden. Two Wisconsin Badgers overtime victories.
Fresh off of a 3-1 upset of No. 8 Ohio State (12-5-6 overall, 3-3-1-1 Big Ten) in Columbus on Thursday, Wisconsin (12-8-1, 5-2-0-0) came to New York and swept the series with a 3-2 overtime win over the Buckeyes.
The Badgers entered Saturday’s play sixth in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 3.62 goals per game. For all of their offensive prowess, however, defense has been suspect, as Wisconsin allowed 3.19 goals per game going into the showdown with the Buckeyes (tied for 46th nationally out of 60 teams).
Wisconsin sophomore goaltender Matt Jurusik (3.64 GAA, .872 SV% over 10 games in 2016-17) got the start and was fantastic. Jurusik, who was plagued with soft goals early in the season, turned away 27 shots and held the second-ranked Ohio State scoring offense to only two goals, both with extra men.
Senior forward Aidan Cavallini got the scoring started for Wisconsin 18:15 into the first period. Pairing with a just sprung-from-the-penalty-box Trent Frederic for a 2-on-1 break, Cavallini put his second goal of the season past Ohio State goaltender Christian Frey for a 1-0 Badgers lead.
Cavallini wires one into the back of the net to make it 1-0 Badgers. pic.twitter.com/nsVM30IASx— Wisconsin Hockey (@BadgerMHockey) January 29, 2017
Both teams traded opportunities in the second period but Jurusik and Frey both held the line. Jurusik, in particular, turned away some very good looks by the Buckeyes. Sparks began to fly between the teams in the second after sophomore defenseman Patrick Sexton flattened Ohio State forward Sam McCormick on a huge hit that landed Sexton a two-minute elbowing minor.
The fireworks continued into the third when Ohio State’s Josh Healey crushed senior assistant captain Grant Besse, resulting in a five-minute major for interference. Besse, who stayed down for several minutes, was eventually able to leave the game under his own power, but did not return.
Just 19 seconds later, Ohio State’s Mason Jobst picked up a two-minute minor for boarding. The Badgers failed to take advantage of the opportunity, however, as the Buckeyes killed off both the 5-on-3 and the major.
Wisconsin added a beautiful goal at 14:57 on a gorgeous exchange between Will Johnson, Cameron Hughes and Mathew Freytag that Freytag buried past Frey to light the lamp.
Johnson➡️Hughes➡️Freytag➡️Back of the net. pic.twitter.com/c0wek7DPfi— Wisconsin Hockey (@BadgerMHockey) January 29, 2017
With just over two minutes remaining, Ohio State’s Mason Jobst finally put the Buckeyes on the board after OSU pulled Frey for an extra attacker. With just 16 seconds left, OSU tied the game, also with an extra man, when Josh Healey tipped a shot past Jurusik sending the game to overtime.
The Badgers came away with all three points, however, as assistant captain Cameron Hughes put the game-winner past Frey after a scramble in front of the goal.
With the win, Wisconsin moves into a first-place tie with Minnesota for the Big Ten lead. The victory was the Badgers’ third straight against a top-10 team and fourth over such opponents on the year.
Wisconsin heads to East Lansing next week for a series against Michigan State.