Wisconsin women's hockey has won its sixth NCAA championship, and all it came down to one of the wildest endings to a hockey game you will ever see.
The Badgers faced off against Northeastern for the national championship on Saturday, exchanging goals to force overtime for the fourth time in the history of the Women's Frozen Four. After a few minutes of back and forth, Wisconsin leading scorer Daryl Watts took the puck behind the goal, with not many options in front of her.
All five Northeastern players were grouped around the goal, ready to cover the two Badgers in shooting range. So Watts did something unexpected. She called bank, and the result was a title:
You have to feel for the victim of the bank shot, Northeastern defender Megan Carter, who immediately crumpled when she saw where the puck had landed.
Incredibly enough, Watts said she really meant to bank in the shot. During a sudden-death overtime.
"To be honest with you, my mind is kind of a blur right now, but I'm pretty sure [Northeastern goalie Aerin Frankel] was butterflying and I just thought I could bank it off of her," Watts told ESPNU after the game. She didn't even know her shot went in off Carter and not Frankel until speaking with reporters later:
Whether or not the shot was intentional, it counted all the same. The national title is Wisconsin's second in three years, with a chance at a three-peat lost due to the cancellation of last year's Frozen Four due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Badgers were ranked second in the country at the end of last year, behind only Cornell.
The technical back-to-back titles move Wisconsin into a tie with rival Minnesota for most Frozen Four championships, with both currently sitting at six. Head coach Mark Johnson, known as a member of the Miracle on Ice team, also now owns the most titles in women's hockey history with six.
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