Wisconsin women win 7th NCAA hockey title, blank Ohio State
DULUTH, Minn. - Kirsten Simms scored a goal and Cami Kronish had 31 saves to help Wisconsin beat top-seeded and defending NCAA champion Ohio State 1-0 Sunday, earning the Badgers their record seventh national title.
Simms, who hid behind Ohio State’s Lauren Bernard in front of the net, flicked a wrister into the goal to give Wisconsin the lead at 13:28 of the first period.
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Wisconsin (29-10-2), which lost five consecutive games at one point in January, has won three of the last four national championships (2019, ’21 and ’23 — 2020 was canceled due to COVID-19). The Badgers have appeared in an NCAA-leading 14 of the last 17 Frozen Fours.
Kronish, who had 37 saves in the Badgers' 3-2 overtime win over No. 2 seed Minnesota in the semifinals, was named the Frozen Four's most outstanding player.
"I give a lot of credit to Cami, our goaltender," Wisconsin coach Mark Johnson said. "I mean, she came up big.
"She took the torch this year. She has worked hard for five years and this is the first year she really got an opportunity to play," he continued. "She wanted the baton, she took us to the end and today she was the difference in the game."
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Kronish, a fifth-year senior who came into this season with 82 career saves and no shutouts, stopped 16 first-period shots and finished with her eighth shutout of the season.
Ohio State (33-6-2), which entered play having scored at least two goals in every game but one this season, was shut out for the first time in the last 57 matches, dating to a 1-0 loss to Minnesota-Duluth — which the Buckeyes later beat in the 2022 national championship game — on Jan. 21, 2022. Ohio State finished the season tied with the Badgers for second in the country with 169 goals, seven fewer than Minnesota.
"I thought in the last month we've been in a good space and in a good position, playing very well," Johnson said. "You look at our body of work over the last three games, at (No. 3 seed) Colgate, (second-seeded) Minnesota and then Ohio State, three of the best teams in the country, and we were able to get by them."
Wisconsin improved to 27-1-1 this season when leading after two periods.
The Buckeyes won three of four games against the Badgers in the regular season by a combined score of 15-8, with their lone loss coming 6-5 in overtime at Wisconsin on Feb. 18.