Wisconsin used a powerful display on their power play opportunities to take down Ohio State 4-2 in a crucial WCHA tilt in Columbus, OH on Friday afternoon. The Badgers scored all four of their goals off of special teams opportunities as they climbed to 8-3-2 (4-3-2-2 WCHA) on the season.
Ohio State is now just five points ahead of the Badgers in the WCHA Women's standings with a record of 9-4-0 (7-4-0-0 WCHA) after the loss. Wisconsin managed to find a way to score in nearly every special teams way possible despite going 0-7 on the power play for the night.
Following a scoreless first period of action that saw Wisconsin outshoot the Buckeyes 13-3 it was the Badgers getting the scoring started. At the 3:45 mark of the 2nd period Alev Keitzer netted her 7th goal of the season as Wisconsin was on the penalty kill, setting a tone of special teams goals that would ring true throughout the afternoon.
However, it seemed to only wake up the Buckeyes as they scored 2 unanswered goals to take a 2-1 lead in less than five minutes following the opening goal of the game.
Wisconsin would tie things back up at 2-2 just three minutes after the 2nd OSU goal, scoring at the 11:57 mark of the 2nd period on a Karley Sylvester penalty shot. It was Sylvester's 7th goal of the season as both teams would go to the 2nd intermission tied up at that 2-2 score.
OSU outshot the Badgers 19-12 in the period and Wisconsin's Alex Rigsby came up big time more than once or twice in the period to keep UW in the game.
The 3rd period would be an even offensive matchup as the shots were 11-10 in favor of the home Buckeyes, but it's often not the amount of shots you take it's about the opportunities you take and Wisconsin took advantage of the opportunities Ohio State gave them.
It wasn't until the final five minutes of the final period that the deadlock was broken as Wisconsin again found the back of the net on a short handed situation. Blayre Turnbull netted her 2nd goal of the season at 15:37 in the period and was assisted by Brianna Decker. As it turned out Turnbull's goal would be a memorable one as it was the game winner.
Wisconsin got an insurance goal with just 47 seconds remaining and Ohio State going empty net to try and force overtime. Instead it was Madison Packer credited with her 4th goal of the season unassisted.
The Badgers owned a small advantage for the night on shots at 35-33 and goaltender Alex Rigsby was on fire stopping 31 of those 33 OSU shots, moving her and Wisconsin's record to 8-3-2 on the season.
Rigsby moved her season goals against average to just 1.31 and she now has a .941 save percentage as well. She is 5th nationally in goals against average and 7th in save percentage so far this season.
Next up is the series finale at Ohio State tomorrow at 1pm Central from Value City Arena in Columbus, OH.