NCAA Hockey

Three-Ring Circus: Five Badgers seeking immortality

Three-Ring Circus: Five Badgers seeking immortality


MADISON, Wis. – It’s difficult to find a more exclusive, more impressive club featuring Wisconsin student-athletes.

The UW women’s hockey team has had nearly 200 players come and go since it was introduced as a varsity sport in 1999. Each one has had a hand in bringing six NCAA championship trophies to Madison.

But seven players were a little more involved in that process, skating for three national championship teams. The list includes Rachel Bible (2006, ’07, ’09), Meghan Duggan (’07, ’09, ’11), Kayla Hagen (’06, ’07, ’09), Angie Keseley (’06, ’07, ’09), Erika Lawler (’06, ’07, ’09), Alycia Matthews (’06, ’07, ’09) and Jessie Vetter (’06, ’07, ’09).

It’s mostly a distinguished group. Duggan and Vetter were Patty Kazmaier Award winners. Duggan, Lawler and Vetter were U.S. Olympians. Duggan, Lawler and Keseley rank among the top 15 scorers in program history. Bible led the team in plus-minus rating and Matthews was the top-scoring defender when the two were juniors in 2007-08.

It’s challenging enough for a school to win one national championship in a four-year span much less be in a position to claim three. The fact the Badgers lost in the 2008 national title game – they could have won four straight – further defines the quality of the program.     

Hard to believe, but another group of players is in position to win a third NCAA championship ring. Defender Natalie Buchbinder, winger Britta Curl, goaltender Cami Kronish, defender Nicole LaMantia and winger Sophie Shirley helped Wisconsin win national titles in 2019 and 2021. The opportunity to join that small, distinguished club continues Friday when UW appears in its 14th Frozen Four since 2006.

The Badgers (27-10-2 overall) face Western Collegiate Hockey Association mega-rival Minnesota (30-5-3) in the semifinals Friday at 6 p.m. at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, Minnesota on ESPN+. The survivor plays either defending national titlist Ohio State (32-5-2) or Northeastern (34-2-1) for the NCAA crown Sunday at 3 p.m. on ESPNU.

The concept of owning a third national championship ring definitely lives in the UW dressing room, but it’s kept in the proper context.

“It would be really special to get another one,” Curl said.

“It would be an amazing thing,” Shirley said.

“I think it’s definitely on our minds a little bit,” LaMantia said. “We’ve made…

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