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Wisconsin women’s hockey: goaltender Kennedy Blair transfers to UW

The grad transfer from Mercyhurst will be looking to fill the hole that Kristen Campbell left.

COLLEGE HOCKEY: NOV 25 Mercyhurst at Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Badgers women’s hockey team, who are still the defending national champions by the way, were set to have a gaping hole between the pipes next season after, former WCHA Goaltender of the Year and NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Kristen Campbell graduated.

However, last week, Kennedy Blair, formerly of Mercyhurst University, announced that she was transferring to Wisconsin for her last season of eligibility.

The native of Bismarck, N.D., and reigning CHA All-Tournament MVP, started her career at North Dakota (before the program was cut for budgetary purposes), coincidentally, with Campbell. Then they both went their separate ways, Campbell to Wisconsin and Blair to Mercyhurst, but now Blair is following in Cambell’s footsteps again.

Last season, in 29 games, Blair finished the season with a 17-8-3 overall and 10-3-1 conference record, made 645 total saves for a .921 save percentage and 1.98 goals against average and had five shutouts. Blair gave up only two goals, over two games against Penn State and Robert Morris, in the CHA tournament and led the Lakers to the title and an automatic NCAA Tournament bid.

Wisconsin will have an open competition for the starting goalie spot next season with Blair joining redshirt junior Breanna Blesi (Maple Grove, Minn.), junior Cami Kronish (New York, N.Y.) and incoming freshman Jane Gervais (Quebec, Canada).

In another interesting twist of fate, according to Todd Milewski’s article on Blair’s transfer, Blair’s first game in college? Against the Badgers and Campbell at LaBahn Arena.

“I was so nervous,” Blair said. “But I thought it was really cool that me and Kristen were both going up against each other. That’s the best memory I have of it. But just playing in front of all of those fans, too. The atmosphere in that rink was so awesome, and I’m excited to play in front of that atmosphere this year.”

Wisconsin won 4-0, but clearly Blair was impressed by everything Madison has to offer. The Badgers have had recent success with transfers as winger Daryl Watts came over from Boston College last season and led the team in scoring. Here’s hoping Blair has a similar impact on Wisconsin this coming season.