Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Seven-time national champions return star-studded lineup to ice this winter

Strength, size are standout traits for experienced team
Anthony Winker

The University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team kicked off their season at the end of September, entering a four-month grind that will come to a conclusion with the NCAA National Championship Game March 24 in Durham, New Hampshire.

Despite an average regular season, in terms of UW women’s hockey, the group went on a run in the playoffs in 2022. Eventually, they took down Big Ten foes in Ohio State 1-0 to secure the national championship last season.

The storylines emerged of goaltender Cami Kronish turning in a shutout in the most needed moments, in addition to Mark Johnson earning his seventh national championship in his 21-year-tenure as the leader of the Badgers.


How the program is able to control and hone that energy into their matchups in 2023-24 will be key to their future success, Johnson said.

Women’s Volleyball: Wisconsin leaves positive mark on volleyball scene early in season

“I think part of that process is to be excited and celebrate which we did last spring and obviously did a week or so ago,” Johnson said, referencing the reveal of their championship rings. “So, part of winning championships is celebrating. But at the same time, as we start the season, that’s in the past and the future lies ahead of us.”

Johnson’s pedigree, highlighted as the winningest coach in both UW and NCAA women’s hockey history, is noteworthy in making the Badgers one of the best programs in the nation.

The U.S. College Hockey Online ranked UW at No. 1 to begin the season, days after the Badgers earned recognition of winning the regular season title from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

There’s a buzz about this group and what they plan to accomplish in the fall and winter – making them an intriguing follow at LaBahn Arena in the next couple of months.

“The next step is to play our first game and see where we’re at and how we can prepare for our opponents,” Johnson said in a press conference on Sept. 26. “So, there’s a lot of excitement in the air.”

The legendary head coach mentioned that players took advantage of the summer and progressed in both skills and strength. There are seven new players on the team, bringing in an altered attitude to the group as a whole but still with the same goal in mind.

Size is a key characteristic that stands out for this specific UW women’s hockey group, Johnson said. The aforementioned training over the summer and into the school year has played a role in that.

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“I think the experience of our sophomores now and with the upperclassmen last year,” UW women’s hockey forward and graduate student Britta Curl said. “We have a lot of skill in those younger grades, and how they’ve evolved is just kind of big for us.”

After being on the younger side last season, the Badgers return multiple upperclassmen who are looking to once again put together a stellar season on the ice.

It starts with their leading goal scorers from the 2022-23 season in Casey O’Brien and Curl. The two upperclassmen racked up 19 goals apiece throughout the season, and finished with a combined 52 assists to power UW’s offense.

On the defensive end, starters in Chayla Edwards, who returns to the team for a fifth season, Katie Kotlowski and Caroline Harvey will play key roles in helping out their new goaltender, after Kronish graduated from last year’s group.

They were a huge help, Johnson said. Kronish lacked strong experience at the position but earned help from her defenders to find success throughout the latter half of the season. 

Coming off of an ankle injury, goaltender Jane Gervais looks to maintain the momentum she built early on in the season last year. Gervais led the Badgers to an 8-2 record in front of the net — finishing the year with two shutouts as well.

In addition to Gervais’ prowess at the position, new goaltenders, in a battle between freshman Ava McNaughton and redshirt freshman Chloe Baker, look to get some experience under their belt early on in the season.

“We’ve got some experience there, which we will rely on early in the year as we go,” Johnson said. “But, you know Ava is going to be biting at the bit to get some playing time and it’s our job as coaches, whether it’s her or Chloe, to get them into games.”

UW has options and depth at the position, along with every other facet of the game. It’s a quality characteristic that separates them as the No. 1 team in the preseason rankings.

With star power on all ends of the rink, UW is primed for a successful season and has a chance to earn their eighth national title with Johnson at the helm.

“We’ll see it early on,” Curl said of the intense competition. “I think we’ll have some good games over the next month or so and that should remind people that nothing in this league is a breeze  — and we saw it last year, so we know that’s the case.”

It’s a work in progress, as the Badgers look to piece together quality weeks as the season grows.

Johnson, along with the rest of the program, look to gain that experience and get their skates back under them early on this fall and into the winter.

“I never go into a season expecting to go undefeated,” Curl said. “I think when things come, don’t let it start to snowball and get worse. Just take games as they come, and don’t let it roll up.”

UW embarked into the 2023-2024 season Sept. 28 against Lindenwood University. The schedule will continue to roll through the months of February, highlighted by marquee matchups against the University of Minnesota and the Buckeyes late February.

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