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: Rivalry matchup runs deep throughout UW’s prowess on ice

Numerous alumni, current team members make noise on national stage
Bennett Waara
Badger women’s hockey face off against Ohio State. February 24, 2024.

It felt inevitable. Canada and the United States battling for gold. This year was no different.

Since the International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championships began, being held on the women’s side in 1990, the U.S. and Canada have met in the gold medal game all but one time — 2019 — when the host country, Finland, upset Canada in the semifinals before falling to the U.S. in the gold medal game.

It’s always a treat to watch when these two traditional hockey powers get together, but this year’s gold medal game might have been the best of them all, with Canada taking down the United States 6–5 at Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York, in the second-highest scoring gold medal game in the tournament’s history.


For a matchup that’s seen nine of the 22 gold medal games go to overtime, with an additional four decided by one goal that ended in regulation, that’s a high bar. With the win, Canada won a spectacular record 13th title.

In Madison, however, it was spectacular for other reasons — it was a tournament dominated by those who have worn or who are currently still wearing, a University of Wisconsin sweater.

Five players on Team Canada’s gold-medal winning squad — forwards Blayre Turnbull, Sarah Nurse and Emily Clark and goaltenders Ann-Renée Desbiens and Kristen Campbell — all played for UW.

Six athletes from the Badgers represented the United States — defender Caroline Harvey and forwards Kirsten Simms, Laila Edwards, Britta Curl, Lacey Eden and Hilary Knight — making for 11 total between the two nations.

For some of the longer-tenured veterans on both squads, this tournament added to some already very impressive accolades. Desbiens — the 2017 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner and winning goaltender in the gold medal game for Canada — recorded her Canada-best 20th career win in the tournament. She had a 1.36 GAA and a .935 SV% in four games played. Knight — the Badgers’ all-time leader in points — medaled in a record 14th tournament. At 34 years old, she tied for the tournament lead with 10 points on four goals and six assists.

All that being said, this tournament should make Badgers fans really excited about the present. Superstar defender and Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award top-10 finalist Harvey was named to the tournament’s all-star team by the media after she led the field with eight assists to go along with two goals, one of which tied the gold medal game at five with just over five minutes to play. Her 10 total points were tied for the most among all skaters in the tournament and the most by a defender by four points. Her offensive toolkit was on display over the entire 12-day tournament where at many times, she looked like the best player on the ice, but she also was on the ice for just two goals against — leading the United States with a +12 rating, the third-best mark of all skaters.

Simms — the NCAA’s leading scorer this past season with 75 points — spent most of the tournament playing on a line with Edwards and former University of Minnesota member Taylor Heise and played well. The U.S. and Canada played a game in the group stage of the tournament and in a stark contrast to the gold medal game which ended 1–0 in overtime.

The winner? It was Simms, who also scored the only goal for the Badgers in their 1–0 victory over Ohio State in the 2023 Frozen Four title game. Simms showed off everything that made her such a dangerous scorer in the NCAA this year — the slick hands, quick release and smarts on the ice, using a defender as a screen in a goal where Desbiens never even moved. The lone assist went to Harvey.

But, perhaps no one had a better tournament than UW sophomore Edwards. Back in December during the Rivalry Series, Edwards became the first Black player to play on the senior national team and in this tournament, she announced her arrival on the international stage with authority. In her first-ever Worlds with the senior team — she played in a couple U18 ones — and as one of the younger players on the ice, she dazzled fans and demoralized opposing teams in taking home the tournament’s Most Valuable Player honors despite being on the silver medal squad. She scored a tournament-high six goals on just 10 shots on goal for a ridiculous 60% efficiency clip. She showed up when it mattered most as well, with a goal and an assist in the gold medal game and a hat trick in the semifinal win over Finland.

The best part for those in Madison? Harvey, Edwards and Simms, will all just be juniors on next year’s Badgers squad, hungry for a title after falling just short this past season. Rising senior Eden, who had a goal and two assists during the tournament in a mostly fourth-line role, should also be back. Of the 11 goals the four returning Badgers scored, five of them had at least one of the other Badgers with an assist. In totality, all of UW’s members contributed 48 points, with over half of them coming from the four players who will be on the squad next year.

Here’s how all of the Badgers performed in Utica, marked by goals, assists and total points —

  • Hilary Knight (USA) — 4-6-10
  • Caroline Harvey (USA) — 2-8-10
  • Laila Edwards (USA) — 6-2-8
  • Kirsten Simms (USA) — 2-2-4
  • Sarah Nurse (CAN) — 1-3-4
  • Emily Clark (CAN) — 2-1-3
  • Lacey Eden (USA) — 1-2-3
  • Blayre Turnbull (CAN) — 1-2-3
  • Britta Curl (USA) — 0-3-3
  • Ann-Renee Desbiens (CAN) — 4-1-0, .935 SV%, 1.36 GAA
  • Kristen Campbell (CAN) — DNP
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