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Wisconsin women’s hockey vs. Northeastern National Title: how to watch, game preview and open thread

Folks, this is the big one. The national championship game is upon us!

Scott Clarke; @ESPNImages

This was kind of how this season was always destined to end. The two best teams in the country are facing off for a national title and, quite frankly, we couldn’t be more excited. The Wisconsin Badgers women’s hockey team and the Northeastern Huskies are the top-two teams in the nation and we are lucky to get to watch them settle this on the ice.

The Huskies enter the game as the No. 1 seed and haven’t lost a game since Dec. 13 against Boston College, their second game of the season. They now sit with a record of 21-1-1 and beat Robert Morris and Minnesota Duluth in the NCAA Tournament to get to the finals. Their goalie, Aerin Franklin, is one of the three finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Award and she leads the country in wins (20), goals against average (0.76), save percentage (.967), shutouts (nine) and winning percentage (.932). Head coach Dave Flint was named National Coach of the Year on Friday and Alina Mueller leads the country with 37 points and 25 assists on the season.

What I’m trying to say is, the Badgers definitely have their work cut out for them.

The Badgers are not without stars of their own. For instance, the American Hockey Coaches Association announced the 2020-21 CCM All-Americans on Friday. Defenseman Grace Bowlby and forward Daryl Watts were both named first team. This is Bowlby’s first time earning the honor while Watts was first team in 2018 and second team in 2019.

The No. 1 team in the country versus the defending national champs. It doesn’t get much better than this, folks.

How to watch/listen

TV: ESPNU, 6:30 p.m CST

Streaming: Watch ESPN

Radio/Satellite: 1310 WIBA, Brian Posick; Sirius/XM Channel 372

Live stats: Here!

Arena: Erie Insurance Arena, Erie, Pa.

Fun facts (courtesy of the media guides for both teams)

  • This appearance marks the ninth time Wisconsin has played in the NCAA title game, which is tied for the most in NCAA history.
  • The Badgers are making their third appearance in four years and with a win, would bring home their sixth title in program history. Minnesota currently holds the record for most title wins at six.
  • The Badgers improved to 27-8 all time in NCAA Tournament games after beating Ohio State in the semifinals.
  • All-time, the Badgers are 6-2-2 against the Huskies, including a 3-2-2 record in neutral-site contests.
  • The two teams last met in the Battle of the Burgh championship game last January as senior Caitlin Schneider scored the overtime game-winning goal to defeat Northeastern, 4-3.
  • The Badgers are 6-0 all-time against Hockey East teams in the NCAA tournament, including a pair of wins at the 2011 NCAA Frozen Four in Erie against Boston College and Boston University.
  • The top-ranked Huskies are riding an NCAA best 22-game unbeaten streak and have won an NCAA-best 54 games over the last two seasons.
  • Northeastern leads the NCAA in winning percentage (.938), shutouts (10), goals (103), scoring margin (+3.50), and first in power play goals (18).
  • Skylar Fontaine, two-time Hockey East Best Defenseman, leads all NCAA defensemen with her 14 goals and 30 points (14 goals, 16 assists) this year after finishing No. 2 last season for all blue-liners with 42 points.