Photo Courtesy UW athletic department

UW women’s hockey captures WCHA Final Face-Off title

While most of the attention of the Border Battle between the Wisconsin Badgers and Minnesota Gophers surrounds the infamous Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe, perhaps the most competitive and heated matchup comes on the ice.

Yes, the Badgers and Gophers women’s hockey teams have the most intriguing matchup in the rivalry, and on Sunday afternoon that played out in the WCHA women’s hockey tournament championship game.

It was a true rubber match, as the teams both swept home series’ between the two. On Sunday it was Wisconsin prevailing 1-0 over the host Gophers, taking back-to-back WCHA Final Face-Off titles in the process.

Patty Kazmaier finalist and WCHA Player of the Year Ann-Renee Desbiens was on point between the pipes en route to leading the Badgers to victory. She stopped a career-high 35 shots and added to her NCAA shutouts record, recording the 20th of the season.

“It usually comes down to one team being a little more opportunistic than the other,” UW head coach Mark Johnson said via the school’s website. “We were fortunate to get the goal in the second period, then withstanding the third period and Minnesota power plays. Our locker room is very excited. It was a tough task, but as I told the team a few minutes ago, that was a gut check effort. Everybody had a hand in it. I’m very proud of what they put forward.”

The Badgers (34-3-1) were outshot for just the second time this season, with the Gophers (32-4-1) leading 35-24. However, that didn’t matter one bit thanks to a Sydney McKibbon (8) goal in the 2nd period.

Her game-winning goal came at the 12:13 mark of the period and was assisted by Sarah Nurse. It als0 gave McKibbon an incredible six total points in postseason play already.

McKibbon’s goal and the Badgers intense third period of defending meant a sweep of the regular season and tournament titles for the first time since the 2010-11 season. It also marks the sixth tournament title for the program.

Wisconsin is also guaranteed a place in the NCAA tournament thanks to the win over the Gophers.

UW will find out its opponent on Sunday at 8p.m. CT as hosts a selection show for the tournament.

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, as well as Publisher of Big Ten site