As we enter the last month of the regular season for the University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team, one thing is clear: The Badgers have dominated the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
When a shoot-out win is your worst conference decision of the season, as it was for UW last Saturday against Bemidji State University, things are going pretty well.
Outside of a non-conference matchup against Northeastern University, No. 1 Wisconsin has yet to drop a game.
Somehow, their almost perfect record does not do the Badgers justice with regard to the team’s supremacy. The numbers are absolutely striking.
In the 26 games played this season, which includes their non-conference schedule, Coach Mark Johnson’s team has put the puck in the net a staggering 93 times. Compared to the stingy 28 goals they allowed to opponents over that span, UW has consistently shown they are capable of outpacing their competitors day-in and day-out.
The Badgers have won more than 57 percent of their face-offs this season. That 7 percent may seem small, but over the course of the season that averages out to a +212 face-off differential. It is no wonder they score at such a high clip, when they have such an advantage in puck possession.
A team experiencing this kind of sustained success cannot do so without some of the best players in the country. UW’s top performer has been their netminder, Kristen Campbell.
Among goalies with over 15 games played, Campbell leads Division I in goals against average – and it isn’t even close. In 26 games played, Campbell has allowed 1.08 goals per game. To put that in perspective, the next best goalie lets up 1.27 goals per game.
On the offensive end the team is led by Claudia Kepler. Kepler leads the team in goals with 16 and has been unbelievably efficient. Converting on almost a quarter of her shot attempts this season, it’s a safe bet that if the puck comes off her stick it’s got a great chance at finding twine.
The Badgers have eight games remaining in the regular season. Two-game series against St. Cloud State, Ohio State University, University of Minnesota-Duluth and University of Minnesota-Twin Cities will give the team a chance to finish off the year strong heading into the tournament, where they will be heavy favorites.