After beating Clarkson in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, the No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers women’s hockey team (26-7-4 overall) has a quarterfinal matchup with a familiar postseason foe. Last season, the Badgers won the NCAA championship, their second in a row mind you, in overtime against Saturday afternoon’s opponent, the No. 3 Northeastern Huskies (30-4-2 overall).
The Badgers and Huskies renew hostilities at noon CT on Saturday at historic Matthews Arena in Boston. As with the opening round game, you can listen to Saturday’s showdown in Madison on 100.9 FM and if you aren’t in Madison, the game is streaming on College Sports Live which you can watch for free.
Adding even more sauce to this rivalry is the fact that Northeastern’s goalie, Aerin Frankel, claims that Wisconsin’s championship-winning goal was merely a fortuitous accident. “That player did not mean to make that play,” Frankel said during media availibility on Friday. Friend of the blog Todd Milewski has all of the details on what Frankel, who many are calling the Sorest Loser in Women’s Hockey History, said.
Daryl “That Player” Watts couldn’t help but laugh (seriously, click on the Milewski link, there is video and everything) when told about what Frankel said. “We won. She was on the wrong post. There was an opening...I’m not really concerned about what she thinks,” Watts stated. She even ended her answer with a laugh that said, not in so many words, “champions don’t concern themselves with the comments of runners-up.”
Northeastern's Aerin Frankel: "That player did not mean to make that play."— Todd Milewski (@ToddMilewski) March 11, 2022
Wisconsin's Daryl Watts: "She can say whatever she wants. We won."
Video of the two answers today about Watts' 2021 NCAA title-winning OT goal:https://t.co/XqfccqjSgN
Now, let’s not get it twisted here. Frankel is an excellent player. She is the defending Patty Kaz winner after all, but even Patty Kaz winners make mistakes and Watts, a Patty Kaz winner herself, was there to take advantage.
Watts, who started her career at Boston College, has a long history with Northeastern. She has a team best 19 points in 11 games against the Huskies and has registered a point in every tilt against NU after playing them nine times during her first two years at Boston College.
UW is 7-2-2 all-time against the Huskies and has won five of the last six meetings against Northeastern. Saturday’s contest will be only the second time that the two programs have met in the NCAA tournament while it’s the first time that UW has played a true road game against NU.
A key matchup that will probably decide the game, is how Wisconsin’s nation-leading penalty kill does against Northeastern’s lethal power play. The Huskies lead the country with 43 power play goals on the season and are second in power play percentage, scoring on 31.4% of their chances. The Badgers kill 93.8% of their opponents’ power plays and have only given up four power play goals all season. As a team, Wisconsin has scored five shorthanded goals soooooo technically when they are a player down they are still more dangerous on attack than their opposition.
The winner of the Boston Regional will advance to the 2022 NCAA Women’s Frozen Four, March 18 and 20, in University Park, Pa. The semifinals will air on ESPN+ while the national championship game on March 20 will air live on ESPNU.