Sports & Recreation

And a Shutout Makes Seven

With another NCAA championship, the Badgers are the winningest program in women’s hockey.

The Wisconsin Women's Hockey team poses for a team photo together on the ice after winning the 2023 NCAA Women's Ice Hockey National Championships at AMSOIL Arean in Duluth, Minnesota.

Seeded sixth in the tournament, the Badgers were the lowest seed to ever win the NCAA title. Meg Kelly

It’s bold to call Wisconsin women’s hockey an underdog, but that didn’t stop the phrase from being thrown around going into this season’s NCAA playoffs.

It also didn’t stop the Badgers from winning the whole tournament and making program history.

After a rough patch in January and a heartbreaking third-period loss to Ohio State to close out the regular season, the Badgers certainly didn’t glide to the 2023 title. Seeded sixth in the tournament, they went up against number three Colgate in regionals and number two Minnesota in the Frozen Four semifinals before facing top-ranked Ohio State once again in the championship game in Duluth on March 19.

The Badgers struck early with a goal from freshman Kirsten Simms x’27, assisted by fellow freshman Claire Enright x’27, just six and a half minutes into the first period. It was the only goal scored on either side, as the Badgers’ relentless defense and a strong performance from goaltender Cami Kronish ’22, MSx’23 shut out the Buckeyes — the first time Ohio State had been held scoreless since January 2022.

“I think that just proved to everybody who doubted us that we were the better team at the end of the day,” Kronish says. “We came ready to play, and we were able to accomplish something amazing.”

Kronish was named Most Outstanding Player of the 2023 Frozen Four, a title both well deserved and a long time coming. While this marked her third national championship with the Badgers (along with conference tournament titles in 2019 and 2021), she spent her previous four seasons waiting patiently as goalie greats Kristen Campbell ’20, Kennedy Blair MS’22, and Breanna Blesi ’22 guarded the net.

“Learning how to become a supporting teammate from the sidelines was a huge factor in becoming a better leader on this team,” Kronish says. “Not everybody has this opportunity — to play here, to play Division I hockey, to play hockey, period — so [you just have to] be thankful for every moment that you get on the ice and make the most of it.”

The 2023 victory marks the Badgers’ seventh national title, breaking their tie with Minnesota to become the most decorated women’s hockey program in the country.

Published in the Summer 2023 issue


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