Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, June 09, 2023
Wisconsin celebrates its win over Boston College in the national semi-final, which sent them to the national title, a contest which they dropped to Clarkson. 

Wisconsin celebrates its win over Boston College in the national semi-final, which sent them to the national title, a contest which they dropped to Clarkson. 

Despite postseason losses, Wisconsin seniors left lasting legacy

With 125 wins, two WCHA regular season championships, three conference tournament titles and four straight Frozen Four appearances, Wisconsin's senior class has had a career that most collegiate players can only dream of.
Yet for as much as they've won, those six players—Sarah Nurse, Sydney McKibbon, Mikayla Johnson, Mellissa Channell, Jenny Ryan and Ann-Renée Desbiens—have always been defined as much by their failures as by their successes.
While they won the WCHA, they couldn't beat Minnesota in Minneapolis. While they got a No. 1 ranking, they couldn't convert it into a title. While their star goaltender set NCAA records, she didn't win the Patty Kazmaier. Even making the Frozen Four every year turned into a negative after three straight semifinal losses to the Gophers.
It's easy to see this year as an extension of that pattern. Despite holding the No. 1 ranking the entire year, boasting the top offense and defense and the country's best player and avoiding another matchup with Minnesota, the Badgers still couldn't capture the program's fifth title.
But these players are far too talented and accomplished to be defined by what they couldn't do.
They routinely gave Minnesota—a team that was one game away from five straight national championships—all it could handle.
They set NCAA records for attendance, not once but twice, and helped establish LaBahn Arena as one of women's college hockey's premier venues.
Mostly importantly, they maintained a tradition of success and created a team culture that has put their successors in a position to succeed even more. The younger members of this year’s team repeatedly cited the seniors as a major factor in their smooth transition to Madison and the college game.

“They've helped me up when I've had a bad shift and I've learned a lot from watching them play so they've definitely been great mentors for me through this year,” freshman defenseman Mekenzie Steffen said after the Badger’s NCAA quarterfinal victory over Robert Morris.
If anyone’s in a position to evaluate the success of this year’s graduating class, it's head coach Mark Johnson, who won four national championships in six years before the seniors arrived on campus.

“For four years [they] have done so much to help our program grow and obviously won a lot of hockey games and created a lot of great memories for our group,” Johnson said. “They've got great chemistry, they enjoy coming to the rink and it's been fun to watch them progress and deal with those adversities and come out of it better people.”

Even after a loss in the biggest game of their careers, Johnson made clear what he thought of the seniors final season in Madison.

“It was a special group, it was a special season,” Johnson said. “In a week, in a month, in two months, as these kids look back on their experience, especially this year, it's going to bring a big smile to their face.”

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Daily Cardinal has been covering the University and Madison community since 1892. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2023 The Daily Cardinal