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Badgers Hockey Sweeps Ohio State with OT win at Madison Square Garden

It was a double-header at Madison Square Garden for the Wisconsin Badgers, and just like the basketball game earlier in the day, UW hockey went to overtime. 

Just like the basketball game, Wisconsin came away the victors in overtime. Cameron Hughes put home a rebound at the 2:58 mark of the overtime period to give Wisconsin a 3-2 victory.

It also meant a series sweep over a top 10 program and a three-game win streak over previously top 10 opposition dating back to its series finale against Minnesota last weekend.

Wisconsin not only got a series sweep, it did so on the strength of its defense for the most part. The Badgers allowed just three goals to the second-highest scoring offense in college hockey for the entire series.

OSU came in to the game averaging a shade over four goals per game, but couldn’t find the back of the net all that easily against a Badgers defense that has had its ups and downs throughout the season.

Wisconsin got on the front foot quickly in this one, jumping out to a 1-0 lead at the 18:15 mark of the first period. It was a rare sight, as Aidan Cavallini netted just his second of the season, going glove high to his short side as a left-handed skater.

It was all about holding on from there, as the Badgers nearly blanked Ohio State in regulation.

UW looked in better position when Matthew Freytag was on the receiving end of a great three-man passing game on the rush in the third period. Will Johnson passed to Cameron Hughes in the middle, who dished to Freytag on the back side of the play and it was 2-0 Badgers at the 14:57 mark of the third period.

Despite the feeling of inevitability, the Buckeyes didn’t give up. Instead, OSU dug in and netted two goals in the final two minutes to tie the game up at 2-2.

The second came as Josh Healey put one in from the blue line and Dakota Joshua got in the action in front of Jurusik for the second time of the game. Joshua got just enough to make a Badger make a mistake and with just 16 seconds to go it was 2-2.

However, the hockey gods were smiling on the Badgers, who controlled most of the action at Madison Square Garden. UW outshot Ohio State 38-29 on the night and earned four power play opportunities.

The series sweep makes a massive statement for a young Badgers hockey program, it also puts them in the driver’s seat in Big Ten play and for a potential NCAA tournament berth down the road.

Wisconsin sit tied with Minnesota atop the Big Ten with 18 points and identical 6-2-0-0 records.

Few expected this team to be this competitive this early in the Tony Granato era, but a three-game win streak against top 10 opposition certainly has this team in a good position.

UW came in to Saturday’s game No. 19 in the PairWise rankings and that is just short of the cutoff to make the NCAA tournament. A second win over OSU likely catapults them in to the NCAA tournament picture for real.

Wisconsin will travel to East Lansing next weekend to take on Michigan State in a Friday/Saturday series.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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