Sunday afternoon the number one seed Wisconsin hosted the number two seed Clarkson for the National Championship at the Family Arena in Charles, Missouri. The ice was still in fairly rotten shape and was regularly shoveled during the TV timeouts, but did occasionally extend into the BTN broadcast. The fact the Women’s DI Hockey National Championship game was being broadcast was a real treat and seemed to go off without a hitch, which spells good news for the next few years, as the entirety of the Women’s Frozen Four will be aired on television.
Wisconsin nearly scored right off the puck drop when Sarah Nurse’s shot just went of the crossbar. This quickly turned into a back and forth race across the ice with both teams attempting to put shots on goal, though neither Clarkson’s Shea Tiley nor Wisconsin’s Patty Kazmaier winner goalie, Ann-Reneé Desbiens, saw much action this period. It also became clear fairly quickly that the referees were treating this like a WCHA game and allowing a lot of physicality to go uncalled, which annoyed fans on both sides. For example, Genevieve Bannon plowed her way through a Badger who tried to slow her when she had the puck. However, when Annie Pankowski took Joiane Pozzebon out with her stick along the backboards and went for hooking at 11:25. The Badgers only allowed Clarkson one shot and killed the penalty. A few minutes later Emily Clark made a shot from the right circle, which Tiley blocked and Nurse got the rebound, but her shot went wide.
Mikaela Gardner tripped Rhyen McGill at 18:55. Wisconsin continued to skate like they weren’t killing a penalty with Nurse’s shorthanded breakaway down the middle, went high. The penalty carried over into second period. In that second half Ella Shelton put a far shot on goal, which Desbiens deflected, but Bannon grabbed the rebound before she could cover up and snuck behind the net. Desbiens gave chase, leaving the net empty, and that allowed Bannon to pass to Savannah Harmon and she scored a power play goal on the essentially empty net from the right side at 0:27.
The Badgers redoubled their efforts, which caused a mess at the Clarkson net and a frantic puck battle before they eventually cleared. They spent extended shifts in the Clarkson zone to the point where Jessica Gilham was too exhausted to take a run at Wisconsin’s when she finally carried the puck out of her zone. Save for three shots quick shots in a row, all the action was by Wisconsin until Jenny Ryan back passed to Nurse and she scored from the slot. Unfortunately for the Badgers, it was waved off because Clark took an interference penalty for bulldozing a Knight right before Nurse made the shot at 10:19. At upset as they were about the nongoal, the Badgers made the best of things, with Pankowski attempting a shorthanded wraparound before dropping to the ice and shot blocking in her own zone.
A Knight flew up the right side and tried to hammer her way into the crease, but Desbiens stopped her. Several Badgers made attempts before Bannon and Mellissa Channell went down in a corner. Channell then put a blast on goal, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Kelly Mariani and Amanda Titus crashed the net from the right side, which sent Desbiens bellyflopping to the ice as she was pushed into goal, but she made the save. Abby Roque tried to score from the corner, but was denied. Then a couple of Badgers and a Knight hit the ice as play moved to the opposite end of the ice. In the last minute of the period Nurse hurled the puck on Tiley from the slot, but she covered up and Wisconsin went into third period trailing Clarkson by one, though they had 23 shots to the Golden Knights’ 14 shots.
Wisconsin stayed on the attack in third period, which Presley Norby getting a couple of great chances right off the bat. Shelton tripped Nurse with a stick between the legs, which put the Badgers on their first power play at 3:18. They cycled and shot, with Corie Jacobson blocking a couple shots, but could not convert. Back at even strength, Channell had a left point shot, which Tiley caught. Then Nurse made a drop pass to Pankowski and she shot, but it went high. The pair made another attempt and failed again. Bannon passed to Cayley Mercer who shot into Desbiens. Sydney McKibbon, Sam Cogen, and Norby made a sweet tic-tac-toe pass before Norby shot, but it went wide. Then Desbiens came out of her crease to block a shot before denying McGill on a different shot.
Shelton took another penalty for tripping Roque at 12:19. Clark had a great shot on goal from the left circle and the Badgers nearly scored during a mess at Clarkson’s crease. However, several seconds of Wisconsin’s power play were wasted when a Knight skater sat on the puck and kept shifting around to keep the Badgers from digging it out from under her until the officials finally whistled the play down. Clarkson killed the penalty and then later one of their skaters flipped a Badger without a call because physical play was being ignored.
Loren Gabel flew down the right side, then made a quick pass from the circle to Mercer, who shot on goal from the left side. Desbiens went down for the save, but didn’t cover in time so that Mercer was able to steal it back and trickle the puck into goal at 16:56. Bannon had the second assist. Wisconsin used their timeout and pulled Desbiens from goal. Roque smashed Shelton into the boards and she went down in pain, and had to be helped off the ice. Clarkson iced the puck at 18:58, Mercer tried for the empty net again and scored at 19:16, putting the final nail in Wisconsin’s coffin. Despite the Badgers putting 41 shots on goal, they couldn’t get past Tiley and Clarkson win with a 3-0 shutout. Thus, Clarkson won their second national championship and for the second time, a non-WCHA team won the NCAA National Championship.