On Monday night, over 600 fans of Wisconsin women's hockey gathered at the Nicholas Johnson Pavilion next to the Kohl Center to celebrate the team's successful defense of its NCAA title. With a win over the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs on Sunday in Lake Placid, the Badgers claimed their second straight NCAA national championship.
That kind of repeat is pretty rare for any collegiate sports program, as was the team's particular accomplishments over this season. As detailed in the UW athletic department's report from the game:
The women's hockey team is the first UW program to repeat as NCAA champions since women's cross country won the title in 1984 and 1985. The women's lightweight rowing team has won three straight championships; however, the NCAA does not sponsor the sport.
With the win, the Badgers broke or tied six NCAA single-season team records: most wins (36), best winning percentage (.927), fewest losses (1), most home wins (19), fewest goals allowed per game (0.88) and lowest goals-against average (0.85).
Senior forward Sara Bauer -- last year's winner of the Patty Kazmaier Award -- was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament. A portion of her comments at the victory celebration were captured on video. Bauer is, contends the videographer, "pound for pound as good as any hockey player I have ever seen, including Hull and Gretzky. If you are a hockey fan, you should make an effort to find out about her."
A brief video clip of Bauer speaking at the championship party follows below.
Also available for viewing is a highlights reel of the Badger's victory over Minnesota-Duluth, put together by CSTV.
As noted by Jason Joyce in the March 23 edition of Isthmus, the Badger women's hockey team's success was unfortunately overlooked amid the hoopla surrounding the sudden end to the men's basketball team's season. "On their path to the national title, the Badgers outscored Harvard, St. Lawrence and Minnesota-Duluth, 9-1, to finish their season with a 36-1-4 record. They are the odds-on favorites to three-peat next year," Joyce writes. "The question is, will they get the promotional push they deserve from the UW athletic department?"