What a weekend it was for Cawlidge Hawkey! The women’s tournament crowned their 2021 champions this weekend, as the Wisconsin Badger’s led by a couple Canadians went Back to Back! Wisconsin is the latest program with back to back National Championships, continuing the trend set by Minnesota in ’15 & ’16 and Clarkson in ’17 & ’18. The win puts Wisconsin in a tie for the Most National Championships in NCAA Women’s Hockey!
This was a fantastic game as the finals saw the top two seeds face off! Both teams were absolute forces as they each finished first in their Conference during the regular season, capped off by Conference Playoffs Championships. To top it off, 2 of the 3 Patty Kazmaier Award (MVP) finalists (Frankiel, Watts) took part in this game; 5 of the top 10 if we wanted to expand the talent pool a bit.
The game was a tight contest all night as the goalies stole the show early and often. Wisconsin’s Kennedy Blair and Northeastern’s Aerin Frankel turned away 15 and 20 pucks respectively in the first two periods. The Badgers opened up the scoring just passed the halfway mark of the third period. Casey O’Brien got a step on her defender in the Neutral Zone and used her body to drive to the net once she entered the Huskies zone. With the defender all over, O’Brien took a low far side shot on Frankel, causing a rebound that McKenna Webster jumped all over to break the scoreless tie.
It didn’t take long for the Huskies to strike back and tie up the game. Just 39 seconds after Wisconsin took the lead, Northeastern’s Brooke Hobson kept the puck in at the Blue Line and dumped it in the corner to a waiting Aline Mueller. Mueller found Aurard in a soft spot just outside the slot area who got off a beautiful one timer that beat Blair high glove side to make it a 1-1 game.
The game required Overtime and it did not take long for Wisconsin to seal the deal. Just 3:16 into the game Daryl Watts hit Northeastern with a Stone Cold Stunner and called game. Watts picked up a loose puck off a missed shot along the half boards and brought the puck behind the Northeastern goal. She noticed Frankel go down into the butterfly position and the rest is history. Shooters shoot their shot and that’s exactly what Watts did as she managed to bounce the puck in off the Northeastern defender to win the National Championship.
This capped off the fairy tale ending for the Badgers but especially Watts who transferred to Wisconsin from Boston College (BC). At the end of the 2018-2019 season she decided to make a change in an attempt to win a National Championship in her last two seasons of eligibility. This was a major pickup for the Badgers, Watts won the Patty Kazmaier Award as a freshman and put up 130 points in 77 games during two seasons at BC (credit: Eliteprospects.com). Now a Senior, Watts will be moving on from the College game with a Natty and hopefully her second Patty Kaz award! It should not be too long before we see her playing in the Olympics, dare I say in 2022?
On the men’s side of things, they released their bracket and broadcast schedule last night. For all your Habs fans, it was probably a bittersweet feeling to not see Northeastern make the cut. However, for those interested in catching any Canadiens prospects, Cole Caufield and the Wisconsin Badgers are the #1 seed in the East as they are set to face Bemidji State on March 26th at 1 pm EST on ESPN2.
On the opposite side of the bracket, one of Montreal’s recent second round picks, Luke Tuch and the Boston University Terriers take on St Cloud State on March 27th at 6:30 pm EST on ESPNews.
As much as Habs fans would love to talk about Caufields run to the Final Four at nauseum, there is a much bigger and heart breaking story. The Easten College Athletices Conference (ECAC) Champs, the St Lawrence Saints, who earned an automatic bid to the Frozen Four have been forced to withdraw due to COVID-19. The ECAC was a shell of itself this season, however it afforded the opportunity of a lifetime to the Saints as they would have been the first team to ever qualify for the Frozen Four with a below 0.500% record.
The Skating Saints received an automatic bid to the Frozen Four as the Champions of the ECAC. However just a day after upsetting regular season champs Quinnipac in the finals, St Lawrence Head Coach Brent Brekke tested positive for COVID-19.
There are no words that can be used to describe the feeling on that team right now after reaching the highest of highs only to have it ripped away. Brekke is getting hit with the double whammy of having to live with this guilt and he fights off the deadly virus.
As a result of this, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish earned themselves a Frozen Four birth. I can’t pretend that the fan in me is not excited about this, however I, like everyone else can’t help but feel terrible for the Skating Saints and their Seniors.
As always check out the rest of the Hot Sauce Family! This week on Not Sauce For Work our boy Duke sits in for Terry to talk Deshaun Watson, English soccer and the NFL Free Agency Frenzy. They also bring on Luca Scott, co-host of the We Got Balls Podcast, the latest to join the family! Luca and his good friend Dean Bertoia will be putting out weekly Basketball podcast so stay tuned for the drop of their inaugural episode coming soon!