Women’s Hockey: No. 2 Ohio State to face off against No. 1 Badgers in two-game series

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The Ohio State Women’s Hockey team waits for the puck to drop during the Ohio State-Wisconsin game on Nov. 28. Ohio State lost 0-5. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor

In just their fourth series this season, head coach Nadine Muzerall and the No. 2 Ohio State women’s hockey team will travel to Madison, Wisconsin, to play the No. 1 Badgers Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m. on Big Ten Network.

Ohio State (6-0) and Wisconsin (6-0) are the top two teams in the country, according to the latest U.S. College Hockey Online poll , and this series could prove to be a preview of the National Championship. Muzerall said her team is up to the challenge the Badgers will bring because it will prove just how good the Buckeyes are this season.

“You always want to play against the best to consider yourself being the best,” Muzerall said. “Those games are the ones that get you fired up and hold you accountable to doing the right things.”

Both the Buckeyes and the Badgers have performed at a high level on offense and defense this season.

Wisconsin’s 47 goals are good for second-best in the country while Ohio State’s 28 goals puts it in the top six.

The Badgers’ sophomore forward Makenna Webster is ranked among the top two in the country in both assists and goals per game.

Ohio State senior forward Sara Saekkinen said Wisconsin plays quick, just as the Buckeyes do, and the pressure and pace will be high throughout the game.

“They’re a fast team, like we are,” Saekkinen said. “So it’s going to be a lot of skating and going hard end to end.”

To meet the Badgers’ offense, Ohio State’s brick wall of a defense will need to fortify itself this weekend, as it has done all year.

The Buckeyes have the best scoring defense in the country and have only allowed five goals in six games. They are led by senior goalie Andrea Braendli who has already earned two WCHA Goaltender of the Week honors this season.

Senior defensemen Madison Bizal said the defensive core on the team has grown closer this season, helping them perform at such a high level.

“Getting to know each other and getting the chemistry has been really fun so far,” Bizal said. “I’m looking forward to the rest of the season with the D-core, as they are very talented players.”

Since last season, Wisconsin has been on a six-game home winning streak.

Muzerall said although the Badgers will be assisted by a passionate home crowd, the Buckeyes — the last team to beat Wisconsin at home — will be up to the task.

“I know that they’ll have a really great crowd,” Muzerall said. “We’re ready for that.”

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