By The Numbers: Forget Turnover, Wisconsin Women Primed For Another Run

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

The women’s Wisconsin Badgers team is fresh off its fifth NCAA championship, but even as the roster faces notable turnover, pieces are in place for another run in 2020.

With incoming youth, developed scorers, and the nation’s top goaltender, the numbers say coach Mark Johnson’s team will be up for the challenge of a repeat in 2019-20.

18 YEARS OF JOHNSON

In 17 seasons with the Badgers, Johnson’s squad has annually been among the best women’s teams in the nation, accumulating a 494-87-43 overall record.

In that span, the Badgers have eight conference tournament titles, 13 NCAA Tournament appearances, 12 Frozen Four appearances, and five national championships.

Entering his 18th season in Madison, Johnson continues to find a way to replace seemingly irreplaceable talent every summer; a few promising young players are showing there’s no sign of slowing down for the 2018-19 WCHA Coach of the Year.

7 STRAIGHT NCAA APPEARANCES

The Badgers will be eyeing their seventh-consecutive NCAA berth in 2019-20 and not many will doubt their odds. But a tournament bid is hardly enough and the reigning champs will also be tasked with the program’s seventh consecutive Frozen Four bid.

Every member of the team knows what it takes to push them to the top and when you learn from winners and gain the experience of a championship, you become a leader for the youth behind you.

Now, a team full of leaders will pass their knowledge onto the incoming freshmen who are eager to expand a winning culture that will be tasked with overcoming key losses.

6 DEPARTED SENIORS

All six of the women that made up the Badgers’ graduating class this past spring skated in at least 34 of the team’s 41 contests, which shows just how instrumental each one was in pursuit of the program’s fifth NCAA championship.

Annie Pankowski led the Badgers with 28 goals and 50 points, which placed her second and tenth nationally, respectively. With 206 career points (96 G, 110 A) in her four years with the team, her on- and off-ice presence will be hard to replace.

Joining Pankowski in graduating are other forwards Emily Clark, Sam Cogan, and Sophia Shaver, in addition to defensemen Maddie Rolfes and Mikaela Gardner. Clark and Cogan combined for 107 goals and 153 points in their four years and finished fifth and sixth in team scoring in 2018-19.

4 NEW LEADERS

Abby Roque, Mekenzie Steffen, Presley Norby, and Kristen Campbell—more on her later—are four of the seven seniors on the roster entering the 2019-20 season. All four will be key in continuing the winning tradition in Madison.

Roque returns as the leading scorer after a 43-point (11 G, 32 A) season as the team’s top playmaker. Steffen returns as the primary puck-mover from the blue line following a 25-point offensive breakout.

Norby has set career highs in goals during each of her last two years and with an increased role on the backend, a fresh season, and natural maturation, her confidence should be high with another season and a championship under her belt.

2 20-GOAL FRESHMEN

When it comes to filling in the openings from the senior class, 2018-19 freshmen Sophie Shirley and Britta Curl are primed for larger roles after finishing third and fourth in team scoring.

Shirley recorded 38 points (20 G, 18 A) in 41 games as a consistent threat every game, earning the honor of WCHA Rookie of the Year. Another offensive step is only natural with a summer to train and a season to learn from.

Only four players set to return in 2019-20 recorded more goals than Curl last season. Take away Curl’s first nine games—in which she scored just two goals—and her 31 points (20 G, 11 A) in 32 games are that much more impressive. A quick start should help her build on her freshman campaign.

1 KRISTEN CAMPBELL

Campbell was named the Most Outstanding Player in the 2019 NCAA Tournament after posting three consecutive shutouts for the team’s fifth NCAA title.

Campbell led the nation with more than 2,384 minutes played, a 1.03 GAA, an .878 win percentage (35-4-2), and 11 shutouts, while her .940 SV% tied third.

Entering her senior year, Campbell’s near-unmatched skill and fierce competitiveness will help initiate another winning season in Madison before her collegiate career comes to an end in the spring.

0 NON-CONFERENCE LOSSES

The Badgers went a perfect 17-0 against non-conference opponents in 2018-19. A combination of intimidation, unfamiliarity, and overall skill helped them cast aside team after team when it came to non-WCHA foes.

Wins 16 and 17 came during the NCAA Tournament, where the aforementioned Campbell helped dump Syracuse and Clarkson en route to a rendezvous with WCHA rival Minnesota in the title game.

Any form of a loss is rare for the perennially contending Badgers as Johnson’s team is the early favorite to go back-to-back in 2020.


Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @Jacob_Messing.

New Flames Signing Connor Mackey Happy With Final Season In Mankato

Minnesota State junior Connor Mackey is the poster child for NHL late bloomers. After being an afterthought during his teenage draft-eligible years, the 23-year-old Mackey was the prize of the NCAA free-agent signings, as the Calgary Flames landed their big fish late last week.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

How Fans Are Getting Through The Coronavirus Hockey Hiatus

Since the NHL’s mandated season suspension, hockey fans have longed for action for nearly two weeks, but creativity and spontaneity have helped satisfy during the outbreak of COVID-19.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

WCHA Commissioner Bill Robertson Talks COVID-19, League Future & More

When it comes to crisis management in sports, WCHA Commissioner Bill Robertson has earned a PhD. The man affectionately known as “Billy Rob” was public relations director for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim during the NHL’s 104-day lockout in 1994-95, and he held the same post for the Minnesota Wild when the NHL shut down their entire season a decade later. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Coronavirus Another Threat To NHL Records Of Ovechkin, Crosby & More

As the NHL hiatus continues due to the threat of the coronavirus, the potential loss of regular-season games is a reminder of missed opportunities among NHL superstars.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Army's Brian Riley Reflects On 'What If' In A Season Lost To COVID-19

The cruelest two words in sport: “What if?” 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

NHL Signings To Watch For Following COVID-19 NCAA Cancelation

As coronavirus concerns spread and precautions are taken, the NCAA is just one of many entities that has announced the cancelation of the 2019-20 season, which could be followed by a wave of NHL signings.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

The Strangest Ending: The Inside Story Of COVID-19 Dismantling NCAA Hockey

“You’re not in the locker room . . . guys sitting in their gear. WE’RE ON A BUS JUST TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THE HELL WE’RE GOING TO DO!”

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

NCAA Hockey Canceled For The Remainder Of The Season Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

College hockey is done for the season. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

2020 Atlantic Hockey Playoffs Canceled Due To Coronavirus Concerns

Shortly after the WCHA canceled the remainder of their season due to concerns around the spread of the coronavirus, Atlantic Hockey has followed suit. The rest of the playoffs have been canceled. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Remainder Of The WCHA Postseason Canceled Among Coronavirus Concerns

The remainder of the 2020 WCHA playoffs have been canceled. You can read the full press release below issued by the conference.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In