The Wisconsin Badgers women’s hockey team beat the Ohio State Buckeys 4-2 on Thursday night and will be advancing to take on the Northeastern Huskies in the finals of the NCAA Tournament. WHAT A FREAKING NIGHT FOR THE DEFENDING CHAMPS!!!!
Wisconsin will be playing in their ninth NCAA Championship game, their second straight and third out of the last four for those scoring at home.
The Badgers opened up their semifinal victory quickly when Makenna Webster scored a gritty goal after only 79 seconds had elapsed in the first period. Casey O’Brien and Caitlin Schneider got the assists and the Badgers were off and running.
The Badgers and the Buckeyes were tied at 10 in shots after the first period and despite the lead for Wisconsin it felt like the game was even. Just under two minutes passed in the second period and O’Brien scored her second goal of the season, from Schneider, and the Badgers were up 2-0.
A little over six and a half minutes later Schneider scored, from O’Brien and Webster, to push the lead to 3-0 and show off how well the third line was playing. Wisconsin was well on their way to the national title game and nothing would stop them...except, well, Ohio State starting scoring.
The Buckeyes scored with six minutes left in the second period and then banged one home just under eight minutes into the third to make the score 3-2. Ohio State continued dominating play, outshooting the Badgers 29-13 in the second and third period, but Wisconsin’s defense shone.
UW blocked 18 shots throughout the game, compared to OSU’s seven, and kept Kennedy Blair from facing too many tough shots. “The biggest thing I wanted to do was win a national championship in my five years of college. So here we are now in the place where I started. I’m super excited. I have a lot of family and friends in the stands, old teammates, so it’s very exciting to do it right here in Erie,” Blair said.
The Badgers held on to the lead until OSU pulled their goalie and then Daryl Watts blocked a clearance attempt and put the biscuit in the basket to win the game.
Daryl Watts called game. pic.twitter.com/pmuYJ9ovbD— Wisconsin Hockey (@BadgerWHockey) March 19, 2021
“The nice thing about [the third line] getting on the scoresheet tonight is it’s gotta help with their confidence. As I told the team after the game, different people are stepping up in all our different games and that’s the nice thing I’m seeing. You don’t have to rely on (Sophie) Shirley or (Daryl) Watts or somebody else, someone is stepping up and making a contribution,” head coach Mark Johnson said.
The Badgers will now face Northeastern on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. CST on Saturday night on ESPNU. It is, as they say, appointment viewing.