It took three years, but the University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team (16-3-1, 12-3-1-0-1 WCHA) is a back-to-back national champion.
This caps off a spectacular season in which the players captured the WCHA regular season and conference tournament titles. They battled through an ever-changing schedule and a lot of uncertainty to arrive at the top of the college hockey world with their sixth championship in program history.
Wisconsin faced the hottest team in the country in the national championship game, the Northeastern Huskies (22-2-1, 17-1-1 Hockey East), who came into the matchup without a loss since December 11, 2020. Patty Kazmaier Award finalist Aerin Frankel led the Huskies in net, the nation’s top goalkeeper. Badgers forward and leading scorer Daryl Watts has also been named a finalist.
Women’s Hockey: Badgers start fast, finish off Ohio State in National SemifinalThe No. 2 University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team (16-3-1, 12-3-1 WCHA) advanced to the 2021 National Championship Game after Read…
The game started off in a deadlock, with both teams feeling out their opponent and trading mild scoring chances. Each team recorded nine shots on goal in the opening period, but nobody found the back of the net.
This trend continued in the second period with both teams very evenly matched. The Badgers outshot the Huskies in the middle frame by a count of 11-9, but Frankel stood tall in net, keeping the game level at a 0-0 score.
Then, in the third period, the Badgers began to get some separation from the Huskies. They created a lot of offensive chances and were seemingly able to get into a rhythm for the first time all game. This led to a goal from the Wisconsin third line, which has dominated the opposition in NCAA Tournament play.
Casey O’Brien brought the puck into the Northeastern zone and fired a shot that was stopped, but the rebound kicked right out to Makenna Webster in the slot who deposited it past the outstretched arm of Frankel, putting Wisconsin up 1-0 with nine minutes left in the game.
Northeastern would respond to this tally with some offensive pressure of their own. They got the puck deep into the Badgers zone where Chloé Aurard took a one-timer that flew past the glove of Wisconsin goaltender Kennedy Blair to tie the game at 1. This score would hold for the rest of regulation, pushing the game to overtime.
Just over three minutes into the sudden victory overtime period, Watts controlled the puck behind the Northeastern goal before banking a shot off the back of a Husky defender and in the net past Frankel. Once realizing the puck had crossed the goal line, Watts began to celebrate the victory as her teammates poured off the bench to surround her with gloves and helmets flying. This was the fastest overtime goal in NCAA women’s hockey tournament history.