DULUTH, Minn.- T he top-ranked Wisconsin women's hockey team rallied from a 3-2 deficit late in the third period to defeat No. 7 Minnesota Duluth, 4-3, in overtime, on Saturday to clinch the program's ninth WCHA regular-season title.
Daryl Watts scored twice, including the game-winning goal during overtime, to lead the Badgers (12-3-1, 12-3-1-1-1-1 WCHA) to their fifth WCHA regular-season title in the last six years. This also marks Watts' second OT game winner of the year.
The Badgers dominated action in the first period, outshooting UMD (11-5-0, 11-5-0-1-0-0 WCHA) 18-5, but after UW missed an opportunity on a breakaway the Bulldogs responded with a goal to take a 1-0 lead.
Watts, a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, lit the lamp to tie the game at 1-1. UMD then scored twice to increase their lead by two.
Lacey Eden netted the puck with just over two minutes left in the second period to cut UMD's lead to one.
Brette Pettet lit the lamp with just over a minute of play left to tie the game and send it into overtime.
Watts then sealed the deal for the Badgers with her goal under one minute into the three-on-three overtime.
Three Notes of the Game:
- The Badgers won their fifth WCHA title in six seasons with the overtime win against the Bulldogs. This is the second consecutive season that Wisconsin has won the Julianne Bye Cup at Duluth.
- Watts scored three points with two goals and an assist. She leads the WCHA in points with 31.
- With two points from one goal and one assist, Eden now has 11 career points with the Badgers over 10 games.
Straight from the Rink
Head coach Mark Johnson
On the game:
"It's a tough trophy to win and I told the group that we played well today. We played really well today. We didn't win a flukey-type game, we deserve the victory. It came in a strange way in the last minute of the game with the tie and winning in overtime, but from start to finish they were focused in."
On winning the trophy:
"We finally got a bounce there to tie it up with Brette's goal. And then Daryl being Daryl, scores a highlight reel goal and gives us the victory. It's nice to have the trophy on the bus going back to Mad Town."
On how tough this year has been:
"I think we'll all look back on it and remember how everybody had a big smile on their face because they did what they needed to do and they got rewarded for their efforts. I'm just really happy for them."
On the team's motivation:
"In between timeouts and periods, we were just trying to have really positive energy, pumping each other up. And I think all throughout the game we knew that we had what it was going to take to win a championship and we trusted one another."
On what she felt after winning the game:
"Just excitement and joy, that was such a fun game. Coming back and scoring a goal with one minute left to tie it, that was so much fun. To kind of complete the comeback in OT to win a trophy, there's really nothing better."
By virtue of winning the WCHA regular-season title, the Badgers will hold the top seed in next weekend's WCHA Final Faceoff. UW will face Minnesota in a semifinal game on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis. More information about this year's WCHA Final Faceoff will be released in the following days.