The Wisconsin Badgers had a 2-1 lead against 6th ranked Ohio State after two periods, then came unglued in the third, falling to the Buckeyes 6-2 in the first of a two game series in Columbus, Ohio.
It’s the third straight defeat for the Badgers, who had dropped two straight at home against Minnesota prior to Friday night’s defeat.
The Buckeyes scored five third period goals and won for just the first time this season when trailing going into the final period.
Wisconsin’s frustration led to a number of scuffles in the final minutes. Badger defenseman Peter Tischke was ejected with 89 seconds left after a cross-check on Ohio State’s Kevin Miller.
The Badgers (14-16-4, 8-12-3-1 Big Ten) had grand visions at one point this season of returning to the NCAA Tournament. The only way that will happen now is if UW can find a way to gather themselves quickly and win the Big Ten Tournament. That would carry an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, but it would appear to be a major stretch at the moment. The Badgers will have to play all of the Big Ten Tournament on the road.
Linus Weissbach and Matthew Freytag scored the two Badger goals, giving Wisconsin the lead on both occasions. But the Badgers dropped to 1-4-1 in their last six games and will have to face the Buckeyes (20-8-5, 13-8-2-1) again tonight.
The Badgers will get head coach Tony Granato back this coming week for the Big Ten Tournament. Granato has been with the U.S. men’s Olympic team in South Korea.
Following tonight’s game, the Badgers will face either Minnesota or Michigan in next week’s opening round of the Big Ten Tournament. They’ll be hard pressed to avoid another early exit to their season.