Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Women’s Hockey: Wisconsin women’s hockey poised for another outstanding year

Badger women look to return to championship with new roster, new season
Daniel Yun

Six-time national champion women’s hockey team has returned to action in their 2022-23 season.

Head coach Mark Johnson is back with a new roster full of potential. The Badgers lost last season’s team captain Grace Bowlby, as well as All-American Daryl Watts but return a sizable portion of their starting lineup from a team that was one of the nation’s most talented.

Forward Casey O’Brien headlines the group of returners on the 2022 squad. The junior from Massachusetts finished last season as a top-10 finalist for the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Award — a trophy given annually to the top player in women’s college hockey.


Women’s Hockey: Badgers eliminated, fail to deliver three peat in 2022

O’Brien was outstanding a year ago and will be tasked with replacing some of the offensive production in the absence of Watts.

Sophie Shirley is another big time skater returning for the Badgers. While last year was underwhelming for her statistically, the talent is certainly there for the now fifth-year forward.

Shirley is a two-time Patty Kazmaier top-10 finalist after her outstanding 2020 and 2021 seasons. As a member of the 2021 team that won the national championship, Shirley finished second in the WCHA in points and third in goals.

Shirley has notched over 150 points in her Wisconsin career, and another strong season could have her finish as one of the program’s all-time greats.

Johnson also brought in an outstanding group of new faces to this year’s roster.

The Badgers added two additional Olympians to the roster in senior forward Jesse Compher and freshman Caroline Harvey.

Women’s Hockey: Olympian Jesse Compher announces transfer to Wisconsin

Harvey was named preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year, citing her outstanding playmaking ability as a defender. Harvey will most likely see significant minutes early and often in one of the nation’s best defensive units.

Compher played alongside Harvey with Team USA in the 2022 Olympics. She transferred in this offseason from Boston University where she was the Terriers’ captain. In 2019, her last full season for the Terriers, she managed 61 points and was a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award.

One final standout from this year’s group of newcomers is Laila Edwards. Edwards is the younger sister of current Badger , Chayla Edwards, and has proven to be quite the force on the amateur circuit. This past summer, in the IIHF under-18 Women’s World Championships, played at LaBahn Arena in Madison, Laila won MVP after tallying eight points in the tournament. She was easily the United States’ best player in the tournament and should develop into a star in her time at Wisconsin.

As far as the team as a whole, the Badgers will once again play one of the country’s most difficult schedules.

They open the year picked third in the preseason WCHA poll, narrowly behind last season’s national champion Ohio State and arch-rival Minnesota. These three teams are also the top-three ranked teams in the country, with Wisconsin ranked second in the USA Today Poll.

This top-heavy portion of the conference will test the Badgers, especially when University of Minnesota-Duluth, USA Today’s fifth-ranked team, is included.

Women’s Hockey: Historic college career comes to end for Daryl Watts

It will be interesting to see how the Badgers navigate this season, especially after last year’s disappointing end. They have a tremendous amount of skill throughout their roster, but there is a good mix of inexperience as well.

For the last two seasons, Kennedy Blair was outstanding for Wisconsin, earning a start in the 2021 national championship game. She ranked near the top of nearly every statistical category for goalies in her two years at Wisconsin.

But, this year, after Blair’s departure, the goalie position moves from arguably the team’s biggest strength to potentially its biggest weakness.

The most experienced netminder on this year’s roster is Cami Kronish. Kronish, in her redshirt senior season, has seen game action just seven times throughout her Wisconsin career with just two starts.

Redshirt sophomore Jane Gervais and freshman Chloe Baker combine to form what will certainly be an interesting goalie trio — a trio that does not have a clear starter.

Most expect big things from this year’s bunch, and it is hard to argue with those expectations due to the plethora of returning and incoming talent throughout the roster.

Ultimately, like most teams, it will come down to the goaltending. If Kronish can step up and prove herself as a capable starter in the WCHA, the Badgers will go far. But, if the starter remains murky as conference play approaches, trouble could be in store for Wisconsin.

Fortunately, Kronish will be playing behind one of the country’s most skilled defenses, and with a few handfuls of scoring options up front, she might not have to win too many games by herself.

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