ST PAUL, MN - MARCH 21: Joel Rumpel #33 of the Wisconsin Badgers makes a glove side save during the semifinal game of the Big Ten Men's Ice Hockey Championship against the Penn State Nittany Lions on March 21, 2014 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Earns a Split against Ohio State

The Badgers hard work finally paid off tonight in Columbus Ohio as the team snagged their first Big Ten Conference win on the road against The Ohio State Buckeyes’ with a score of three to two.

It did not go the Badgers way early.

1:06 into the first period of play, Ohio State struck first.

Senior Matt Johnson came flying down and slid a puck across Joel Rumpel onto the waiting stick of Anthony Grecco who buried it to give Ohio State an early lead.

The Badgers and Mike Eaves looked stunned and confused but re grouped well. The Badgers withheld the Ohio State onslaught nicely, keeping them in the competition.

Before the game Eaves decided to switch up his top lines, moving Sophomore Grant Besse to the second line with Sophomore Morgan Zulinick and Freshman Cameron Hughes. The move paid off quickly.

The three line mates rushed in to Ohio States’ zone. Hughes found Zulinick who made the extra pass to Grant Besse who took the shot one time past Christian Frye to tie the game at one a piece with 7:15 left in the first period.

The neutral zone was the center of action all of the first period. The two teams combined for thirteen shoots.

Badgers held a seven to six advantage and head into the second period tied with Ohio State at one.

The second period started off much like the first with Ohio State striking first.

With 11:47 left in the second period Joel Rumpel made a save and lost control of the rebound. The puck slid just out of his out stretched glove. The puck bounced right on the stick of Ohio State’s Lampasso who finished on an empty net to give the Buckeyes a 2-1 lead.

Wisconsin was once again down one on the road and needed to respond.

After Ohio State gave up a penalty, the Badgers looked to attack.

Ohio State, who holds the Big Ten’s worst penalty kill, would be tested.

Joseph LaBate found the puck off the backboards and controlled the puck in the crease and slid it home for the equalizer.

Ohio State and Wisconsin would head into the third period of play locked at two goals.

The third period was a back and forth battle with both teams getting great looks at taking a goal lead.

Joel Rumpel played well posting twenty-eight saves. His counterpart, Christian Frey had twenty-five of his own.

The game-winning goal came at 15:41 into the third period.

Joseph LaBate slid to his knees with the puck on his stick toward the corner of the Buckeyes’ zone. LaBate passed the puck into the slot to a charging Adam Rockwood. Rockwood took the wrister and whizzed it past Ohio State’s Frye.

With just under five minutes to go the Buckeyes’ offense was frantic, getting good looks on Rumpel but not being able to find the back of the net.

The Badgers cleared their lines nicely and held on to win with a 3-2 scoreline.

The win marked the Badgers first Big Ten conference game and their first win since January 3rd.

Some of the Badger faithful had a good joke about the Badgers win on twitter:

The Badgers come home next weekend to take on Michigan State at the Kohl Center in a two game series. Morale should be high after coming off a tough road win and momentum late in the season could be huge for this young team.

Sawyer Bock

About Sawyer Bock

Sawyer is a Sophomore at UW-Madison majoring in Communication Arts and a beat writer for the UW- Men's Hockey Team. You can catch him on UW-Madison's student radio WSUM where he hosts a sports talk show and broadcasts numerous varieties of Badger sports or on twitter @YoungSawyer_