Wisconsin saved the best for last.
It took 59:44 of hard-fought hockey, but No. 1 Wisconsin (33-2-4) finally got one past fourth-seeded Boston College when senior defender Mellissa Channell scored with just 17 seconds left in the game to give the Badgers a 1-0 victory.
Channell’s game-winner capped a back-and-forth battle between the nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 scoring defenses. Each side had chances, but in the end, it was Wisconsin who capitalized.
Wisconsin put 36 shots on Boston College goaltender Katie Burt and junior forward Annie Pankowski led the Badgers with seven shots on goal. Wisconsin netminder Ann-Renée Desbiens shut out the Eagles on 22 shots, including 12 in first period.
Alumnae, other Badger players, and friends of the program quickly weighed in on the win:
Unbelievable night for Badger hockey! NCAA and Big Ten Championship bound!— Alex Rigsby (@aRigs33) March 18, 2017
On to the next one Badgers! Congrats! One more W ! https://t.co/7O4hR8eMDc— Brianna Decker (@Bdecker14) March 18, 2017
The win sends Wisconsin on to the national title game for the first time since 2011-12 when the Badgers lost to Minnesota. UW will play either second-seeded Clarkson or sixth-seeded Minnesota in the national championship. The puck drops in St. Charles at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Wisconsin hopes to get more good news Saturday morning as Desbiens will find out if she receives the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. The Badgers’ All-American is one of three finalists for the nation’s top collegiate women’s hockey honor.