The Wisconsin women’s hockey team (28-10-2) edged out the Ohio State Buckeyes (33-5-2) to win the 2023 NCAA Championship on Sunday, 1-0. The game was low-scoring, yet thrilling, with both teams giving it their absolute all in the final match of the season.
Right out of the gate, Ohio State took control of the puck, maintaining consistent pressure against Wisconsin. Both sides were having little luck getting shots off as each teams’ defenses worked hard early.
With just over eight minutes left in the first, shots on goal were tied at 4-4. That did not last, as freshman Kirsten Simms tallied the first and only goal of the game, taking the lead for the Badgers. Caroline Harvey worked to get the puck deep into OSU’s defensive zone.
Simms eventually gained possession and centered herself to take the shot. She perfectly used an OSU defender as a screen and pocketed the puck into the upper left corner of the net to make it 1-0 with 6:32 remaining.
After scoring the goal, Wisconsin amped up the pressure. Goalie Cami Kronish repeatedly caught and blocked shot attempts from Ohio State, while Wisconsin defenders worked to keep the rebounds from finding new life.
With about a minute left in the period, Buckeye wing Paetyn Levis demonstrated incredible speed as she raced past two Badgers to win the puck and take a breakaway shot. Luckily for Wisconsin, the attempt went wide and the period ended with the Badgers still in the lead.
The second started off similarly to the first, with each team doing everything possible to keep the puck away from their respective nets.
With 6:18 left in the period, OSU forward Jenna Buglioni got a threatening look on goal after breaking away from Badger defenders. The shot went high above the crossbar however and missed, similar to Levis’ close attempt in the first.
The teams went back and forth until there was 1:30 left in the period and Wisconsin took complete control.
The Badgers had possession of the puck for over a minute, and the Buckeyes tired out wereunable to change their line. Unfortunately for Wisconsin, they couldn’t get anything past goalie Amanda Thiele who put up a remarkable effort after surrendering an early goal.
The period ended with the score still 1-0 Wisconsin.
The third allowed goalie Cami Kronish to shine as the Buckeyes turned up the intensity. Kronish pulled off several acrobatic saves and stepped up when her team needed it the most.
The third period proved to be an excruciating countdown for the Badgers, as their only objective was to maintain their one-goal lead. Tensions were high in the crowd as both fan bases held their breath for the final 20 minutes.
With 2:42 left, the referees resolved a minor confusion about the number of players on the ice after the Buckeyes attempted to pull the goalie, but the extra skater proved unhelpful.
Wisconsin proudly took the 1-0 win over the defending champions in a truly unforgettable NCAA title game.
The sweet end to the season was hard-earned for this underdog team as they proved one lone goal was all they needed. This victory made Wisconsin the first unseeded team to ever win the national championship. Their seventh national championship, and third in five years, broke the record for the most wins of all time for any program, surpassing the Minnesota Gophers.