Friday night’s loss seemed to be the final straw for Wisconsin men’s hockey head coach Mike Eaves.After another Big Ten defeat against Ohio State, the Badgers were still searching for their first conference win of the season Saturday.In game one of Wisconsin’s two-game road series against Ohio State, the Badgers got off to a hot start when forward Corbin McGuire scored on a rebound less than five minutes into the game to give Wisconsin an early one goal lead.While Wisconsin remained ahead by a goal one period, the second period completely belonged to the Buckeyes. A goal by Ohio State’s Tyler Lundley returned the momentum to the Buckeyes, and they never gave it back.With two minutes to play in the period, OSU forward Nick Shilkey put the Buckeyes up for good with a wrist shot that found the top left corner of the net.The Buckeyes entered the third leading 2-1, and that was how the game ended following a scoreless third period. The Badgers were outshot 42-20, and after the game, it appeared Eaves had run out of patience with his young team.“They have to start to get it going,” Eaves said. “That’s what is a little bit frustrating as a coach, and I think it’s on them as players. After Christmas, there are no true freshmen anymore. We should be better, so we have to figure that out.”Eaves was also critical of senior goaltender Joel Rumpel, who made forty saves in Friday night’s 2-1 defeat.“He kept us in it, he kept it 2-1, but I’ll be the first to say he’ll want both goals back,” Eaves said. “He played like the rest of the team. He was inconsistent.”But on Saturday in game two of the series, the Badgers seemed to take their coach’s words to heart, responding with an impressive bounce-back performance in Saturday night’s rematch that gave them their first Big Ten win of the season.After Ohio State scored just over a minute into Saturday night’s game, Wisconsin’s Grant Besse erased the Buckeyes’ lead in the 12th minute of the period with his 10th goal of the year.The teams remained deadlocked at one at the first intermission, but Ohio State’s Christian Lampasso opened up the scoring in the second period eight minutes to put the Buckeyes up by a goal once again.Down 2-1 in the second period, Wisconsin was in the same situation they were in the night before. However, this time, it would be a much happier ending for the Badgers.Four minutes after Ohio State took the lead, Wisconsin senior Joseph LaBate scored off a pass from Adam Rockwood to bring the Badgers and the Buckeyes even at two goals apiece.The game remained tied at two until just over four minutes were left in the final period when Rockwood and LaBate combined for a goal again. This time LaBate fed Rockwood for the late go-ahead goal.Led by goaltender Joel Rumpel, who made 28 saves, the Badgers held Ohio State without a goal in the final four minutes to escape Columbus with their first conference win.Next weekend, the Badgers will return to the Kohl Center to host Michigan State, hoping to put together their first winning streak of the season.
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