ERIE, Pa. — Ohio State shut down Wisconsin’s top scorers, but the Badgers’ offensive depth proved to be too much to handle as the Wisconsin third line scored three teams and Badgers made an early lead hold up in a 4-2 victory over the Buckeyes in the 2021 women’s Frozen Four at Erie Insurance Arena on Thursday night.
The Wisconsin line of Caitlin Schneider, Casey O’Brien and Makenna Webster contributed three goals and a total of eight points, with O’Brien leading the way with a goal and two assists.
The third line got the game off to a fast start, as Webster scored just 1:19 into the semifinal, with O’Brien and Schneider assisting.
In the second period, it was more of the same, with O’Brien scoring 1:58 into the middle frame on Schneider’s assist. Schneider then scored with 8:21 gone in the second to make it 3-0 Badgers and it appeared that a rout was on.
But Ohio State made its presence known, as Gabby Rosenthal poked a rebound past Wisconsin goalie Kennedy Blair late in the second and Sara Saekkinen finished a 3-on-2 for the Buckeyes in the mid-third to make it a one-goal game.
Daryl Watts scored into the empty net to secure the victory in the frozen four for Wisconsin, which is still the defending champs after winning in 2019. The 2020 tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wisconsin is playing in its seventh consecutive Frozen Four.
Pittsburgh Penguins Elite alumnae Chayla Edwards and Lacy Eden were both held scoreless for Wisconsin.
Their opponents in the final will be No. 1 seed and Frozen Four neophytes Northwestern, who broke though this season after losing in the quarterfinals in three of the last four.
The championship game will face off at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and be broadcast on ESPNU.