Photo courtesy of the Ohio State Athletic Department
The Ohio State women’s ice hockey team ended the 2011-12 regular season with perhaps its best performance of the year Saturday.
Following a lopsided 7-1 loss to No. 1-ranked Wisconsin Friday afternoon in Madison, Wis., OSU (16-14-4, 13-14-1-1 WCHA), upset the Badgers (29-3-2, 23-3-2-1 WCHA), 4-2, Saturday at the Kohl Center.
The Buckeyes got two goals from junior forward Hokey Langan, with freshman defenseman Kari Schmitt and senior forward Laura McIntosh also tallying on way to a victory Saturday. OSU sophomore goalie Lisa Steffes made 28 saves after letting seven shots get past her Friday.
OSU got off to a fast start Saturday with three unanswered first-period goals.
Eight minutes into the first period the Badgers turned the puck over and Schmitt capitalized, scoring to give the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead at 8:30 in the opening stanza.
OSU added to its lead with two goals in a 1:05-minute span shortly after Schmitt’s goal. McIntosh fired a shot from the faceoff circle that found the back of the net at 10:39 in the first, and Langan scored a power-play goal at 11:44. The Buckeyes held strong on defense, stopping six Wisconsin shots and led, 3-0, after 20 minutes.
The Badgers scored the lone goal of the second period to cut OSU’s lead to 3-1 with a tally on the power play at 17:31. A little more than five minutes into the third period, Wisconsin added another power-play goal at 14:59 to cut the Buckeyes’ lead to 3-2.
Wisconsin continued to put pressure on Steffes, taking 10 shots in the third period, and pulled its goalie to gain a player advantage with less than a minute remaining.
The Buckeyes were able to gain control of the puck, and Langan tallied her second score, an empty net goal at 19:31, to seal the win, 4-2.
OSU’s four goals tie for the most given up by Wisconsin this season, and the two-goal margin of victory is the biggest of the year against the Badgers.
The win solidified a fifth-place finish in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association with 41 points for the regular season. OSU will travel to fourth-place Minnesota Duluth (18-13-1, 15-12-1-1 WCHA) for a best-of-three series in the first round of the WCHA playoffs starting Friday in Duluth, Minn.