Women’s College Hockey Game of the Week: Wisconsin and Minnesota Meet Again in the Frozen Four

Story posted March 17, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Anna Licastro

The NCAA semifinals are fast approaching, and while it may be called the frozen four, the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Wisconsin Badgers have been on fire these past couple rounds. Currently ranked second, Minnesota is coming off of a 3-0 victory over Minnesota Duluth, while Wisconsin has so far secured a 9-1 win over Long Island University and a 4-2 win over Colgate.

These two teams are far from strangers. In fact, this will mark the seventh time since 2012 that these Border Battle rivals face off in the NCAA tournament. They have won 12 NCAA championships combined, with each team capturing six crowns apiece. In their last two tournament matchups, the Badgers have emerged victorious, including an unforgettable 2-0 win in the 2019 NCAA Championship. Needless to say, the Golden Gophers will be looking to turn their luck around.

In their season opener, the Badgers fell to Penn State in an underwhelming 4-1 loss. This did anything but discourage them however, as they were able to turn the tide the very next day, securing a 9-1 victory over the Nittany Lions. This win would set the tone for the majority of their season, during which they went on a nine-game winning streak followed by a five-game winning streak shortly after.

One of the biggest reasons for their successes during these games came from their impressive shot differentials and very high scoring. The Badgers took advantage of almost every opportunity and put up multiple double-digit victories. This goal tally also speaks to the depth of this team, as they do not have just one star scorer, but rather nine players whose goal count is currently in the double digits.

The Badgers struggled in January when they went on a seven-game losing streak, but were able to get back on track towards the end of the regular season. The team is currently sitting at an overall record of 27-10-2 and a conference record of 19-7-2. This will be their 14th appearance in the NCAA Frozen Four second only to Minnesota’s 15 appearances.

The Golden Gophers have had an outstanding season, with an overall record of 30-5-3 and a conference record of 22-3-3. In their season opener, they took down the Manitoba Bisons 13-0 and kept that momentum for the remainder of their season. Much like Wisconsin, the Gophers have succeeded by capitalizing on their opportunities and putting up a substantial number of goals in the majority of their games. According to head coach Brad Frost, another strong point for this team has been their discipline and their defensive play.

Forwards Taylor Heise and Grace Zumwinkle are leading the team in both goals and assists and have been crucial to their victories this season. The Badgers will need to keep a close watch on these two, as they will surely be dangerous in the offensive end.

The first time these two teams went head-to-head this season was in November when they tied the first game of the series 3-3 and Wisconsin took the second game 4-1. They met again in February and tied the first game 2-2, although this time the Badgers secured a 1-0 shootout victory, and went on to take the second game 7-5 as well.

The semifinal matchup will take place on Friday, March 17 at 6 p.m. in Duluth Minnesota.

Anna Licastro is a first-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email arl5942@psu.edu.