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WIsconsin Women’s Hockey Wins NCAA-Best 7th National Title



Wisconsin Women's Hockey

Wisconsin women’s hockey played a game for the ages in Duluth, Minnesota, against Ohio State on Sunday afternoon. It was the Badgers’ fifth game against the Buckeyes this season, but this game had national title implications. Ohio State came in as the preseason favorite to repeat as champs, earned the number-one seed in the NCAA Tournament, and challenged the Badgers the entire way, but it was not enough. Wisconsin defeated Ohio State 1-0.

After a five-game skid earlier this season, the NCAA Tournament was not a guarantee for the Badgers. Badgers’ fans defining memories from this season will not be that losing skid, however. What will be remembered are the contributions from an incredible freshman class, defeating the defending national champions, and securing the program’s seventh national championship.

Wisconsin Women’s Hockey Secures Early Lead

A pair of freshmen got the Badgers on the board early. Wisconsin has relied on their freshman to generate scoring throughout the season and Kirsten Simms answered the call with 6:32 remaining in the opening frame. Fellow freshman Claire Enright fought to keep the puck in the offensive zone and found Simms open in the high slot. Simms got a wrist shot off around one defender and scored high blocker side.

The Buckeyes outshot the Badgers 16-5 in the first period. Badgers senior goaltender Cami Kronish held OSU scoreless, stopping all 16 shots. Wisconsin skaters added another 7 blocked shot attempts by Ohio State – including three by captain Britta Curl.

Although no goals were scored in the second period, there was plenty of action on both ends of the ice. Wisconsin led the Buckeyes in shots on goal 11-6 in the second. The Badgers controlled possession at the end of the period in the Ohio State defensive zone to close the period – peppering a total of nine shot attempts toward the OSU goal in the final 1:50.

Third Period Blitz for the Buckeyes

Enright tried to get her name on the scoresheet again early in the third period. After finding herself alone on a breakaway, the Farmington, Minnesota native tried to go to her backhand to beat Ohio State goaltender Amanda Thiele, but could not get around her right leg.

After killing a roughing penalty committed by defender Riley Brengman, Ohio State brought pressure to its offensive zone. Kronish made an impressive toe save after sliding from her right to left across the crease to stop a shot attempt by Buckeyes winger Paetyn Levis with 12:43 remaining. It was the first of three saves by Kronish in a mere 49 seconds.

After both teams were held scoreless down the stretch, Ohio State attempted to pull Thiele for an extra skater but had the play blown dead after making an early substitution. Eventually, Thiele was successfully pulled, but it was too late. The Badgers won 1-0, shutting out Ohio State for the first time all season.

Wisconsin Women’s Hockey Record-Breaking National Championship

With the victory, Wisconsin broke its tie with the Minnesota Golden Gophers for the most NCAA Division 1 Women’s Hockey national championships. It is another feather in the cap of head coach Mark Johnson – the all-time winningest coach in women’s college hockey.

Kronish was named the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. She made 31 saves in the championship game, including 16 in the first period. The 2022-23 season was Kronish’s first as the Badgers’ starting goaltender.

Four other Badgers joined Kronish with individual accolades. Kronish, Natalie Buchbinder, Curl, Nicole LaMantia, and Sophie Shirley won their third national championship. That group of five joins only seven other UW players to ever win three national titles.

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Kedrick Stumbris covers Wisconsin football, basketball, hockey, and volleyball. He received his B.A. with economics and political science majors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2018 and has had his work published on Bleacher Report and Verbal Commits.