At long last: Wisconsin finally gets over hump with win over Boston College, advances to championship game Sunday afternoon

Ann-Renée Desbiens was announced as the winner of the Patty Kazmaier Award Saturday after leading the NCAA in shutouts. 

Image By: Kaitlyn Veto

ST. CHARLES, Mo. — After falling in the semifinals the past three seasons, No. 1 Wisconsin (33-2-4) began the season with an all-in mentality towards a national title. However, late in the game Friday evening, it appeared that the Badgers might find themselves again on the wrong end of a close semifinal game.

In a game that appeared to be destined for overtime, senior defenseman Mellissa Channell blasted a shot from the blue-line that sailed past Boston College goalie Katie Burt with just 17 seconds remaining for the game-winner.

The Badgers’ 1-0 win over No. 4 Boston College Friday evening gave UW the opportunity to play for the program’s fifth National Championship Sunday afternoon.

“In all honesty, I blacked out. I think Annie passed it back to me and I just took a shot, I wasn't really aiming I was just trying to hit the net, trying to create a rebound or something,” Channell said. “But it hit the perfect corner in the bottom corner and I guess it was a lucky shot.”

After UW got the game’s first shot on goal, Boston College followed up with 11 unanswered shots on net. However, the Badgers’ second and third lines helped start a surge that seemed to settle the team back into a rhythm to close out the period. UW carried that momentum throughout the rest of the game.

While Wisconsin outshot Boston College 31-10 over the last two periods, both teams had multiple chances to break the stalemate. That was until Channell’s late-game heroics secured the win for UW.

“Definitely BC played their best hockey at the beginning of the first,” Badger senior goalie Ann-Renée Desbiens said. “They came out super fast at us, but we were fortunate enough that they didn't get the bounces they wanted and I think we kept building since the first period. We improved all game long and I think that our best period was definitely the third. I think we grew as the game went on as a team.”

Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson knew the game was going to come down to which team could capitalize on its opportunities first.

“From my seat, I thought it was a real good game,” Johnson said. “Like a bunch of games, whether quarterfinal games or championship games, Frozen Four games, it's gonna come down to a team getting an opportunity and capitalizing on it and it took almost until the end of the game to capitalize one of ours. I think the team's excited, I know our seniors are excited, they got over the hurdle and they put themselves in a position to play for the national championship.”

Desbiens stopped all 22 shots that came her way for her NCAA-leading 17th shutout of the season.

“I think as a goalie it's definitely nice to have a lot of shots and be involved and that's definitely something that you look forward to,” Desbiens said. “It's a nice challenge and those low scoring games definitely challenge you more and you need to stay focused because you never know who's gonna get the bounce.”

Wisconsin will play either Minnesota or Clarkson Sunday afternoon for the National Championship.

“In the past three years we've lost in the semifinal game so just getting over that hump,” Channell said. “We always have a joke saying, 'Make it to the game, make it to the game.’ And this year we are fortunate enough that we actually get to play on Sunday.”

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