WCHA Press Releases

2020-21 WCHA Season Review
League's 22nd season was unlike any other

Final Horn

- Wisconsin Wins Sixth National Championship: The Wisconsin Badgers put a cap on the 2020-21 season with the school's sixth national championship as UW downed top-seeded Northeastern, 2-1, on an overtime goal by WCHA Player of the Year Daryl Watts. The title was the second-straight for the Badgers, who captured the 2019 championship in the last NCAA tournament played prior to this season. The win was also the 17th for the WCHA in the NCAA championship game and the 18th national crown for the league overall, both of which are women's college hockey records. The Badgers' six national championships ties WCHA rival Minnesota for the most in women's ice hockey. Minnesota Duluth stands No. 3 on the list with five national titles.

- Watts, Zumwinkle Patty Kazmaier Top-3 Finalists: For the sixth time in league history, the WCHA landed multiple representatives on the Patty Kazmaier Top-Three Finalists list in 2020-21 as Wisconsin's Daryl Watts and Minnesota's Grace Zumwinkle advanced to the final stage of the selection process. The WCHA has now had at least one finalist for the top honor in women's college hockey in 20 of the league's 21 years of existence.

- WCHA Lands Five on CCM/AHCA All-America Team: The WCHA was represented by five players on the 2020-21 CCM/AHCA Women's University Division All-Americans list in 2020-21. Senior forward Daryl Watts and senior defenseman Grace Bowlby of Wisconsin were named to the first team while senior forward Grace Zumwinkle of Minnesota and senior defenseman Ashton Bell and junior goaltender Emma Söderberg of Minnesota Duluth received second-team recognition. The AHCA honors are the third for Watts (first team 2017-18 at Boston College and second team 2019-20 at Wisconsin) and the first for Bowlby, Zumwinkle, Bell and Söderberg.

- Badgers Take Home Final Faceoff Title with OT Win: WCHA Player of the Year Daryl Watts scored twice in regulation and freshman Lacey Eden banged home the game-winner 42 seconds into overtime to give No. 1 seed Wisconsin a 3-2 victory over third-seeded Ohio State in the 2021 WCHA Final Faceoff championship game at Ridder Arena on March 7. The win clinched the Badgers' ninth WCHA postseason title, all won during under head coach Mark Johnson's tenure, in Wisconsin's 14th trip to the league title game. The championship is also UW's fourth in the last seven seasons.

- Julianne Bye Cup Goes to UW: Wisconsin earned its second-straight WCHA regular-season championship with a 4-3 overtime victory over Minnesota Duluth on the final day of the 2020-21 season. The extra-time victory pushed the Badgers' WCHA-record regular season championship total to nine and was their fifth in the last six seasons (2016, 2017, 2018, 2020, 2021).

- Fifteen with WCHA Ties to Play for U.S. At IIHF World Championship: The WCHA will be well-represented at the 2021 IIHF Women's World Championship in May as 15 players with league ties are among the 25 players named to USA Hockey's Women's National Team that will compete at the 2021 IIHF Women's World Championship May 6-16 in Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia.

  • The WCHA contingent includes three players who competed in the league this season – Minnesota forward Grace Zumwinkle, Wisconsin defenseman Natalie Buchbinder and her Badger teammate, forward Britta Curl. WCHA alumni on the roster include forwards Hannah Brandt, Dani Cameranesi, Amanda Kessel and Kelly Pannek of Minnesota, Sydney Brodt of Minnesota Duluth and Brianna Decker, Hilary Knight and Abby Roque of Wisconsin.
  • WCHA alumni on defense include Minnesota's Megan Bozek and Lee Stecklein while former Badger goaltender Alex Cavallini is one of the three U.S. netminders.
  • Wisconsin 2021-22 signee Caroline Harvey is also among the U.S. defenders on the final roster.

- WCHA to Welcome St. Thomas to the Fold in 2021-22: The 2021-22 season will see the WCHA return to an eight-team circuit as the University of St. Thomas plays its debut season as a league member. A long-time power at the Division III level as a member of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, St. Thomas will be the first private school to compete in the WCHA and the sixth Minnesota-based program. The Tommies ended their Division III era with a 362-174-52 (.667) all-time record after posting its 21st-consecutive winning season during an abbreviated 2020-21 campaign.

By the Numbers

- 2,797: Career saves for St. Cloud State's Emma Polusny, a total which ranks No. 13 on WCHA career list. Polusny is one of just 14 netminders to top the 2,700-save mark in league history.

- 307: Blocked shots for Bemidji State's Tina Kampa, which ranks No. 4 on the WCHA all-time list.

- 84: Career goals scored by Minnesota's Grace Zumwinkle, the 10th-most in Golden Gopher history.

- 59: Victories in the last four Division III seasons for new WCHA member St. Thomas (59-18).

- 52: Saves by Minnesota State's Calla Frank against Ohio State on Jan. 22, the top single-game total in the WCHA this season and the third-highest total in the NCAA during the 2020-21 campaign.

- 19: WCHA and NCAA-leading goals scored total for Wisconsin's Daryl Watts.

- 16: Career power-play goals for Minnesota Duluth's Ashton Bell, the most among active WCHA players at the end of the 2020-21 season.

- .930: Career save percentage for Ohio State's Andrea Braendli, which ranks No. 10 in WCHA history.

About the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Women's League

The Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association marked its 22nd season in 2020-21. The nation's premier women's hockey conference, WCHA member institutions have won a record 17 national championships since the league's inception in 1999 (including 16 of a possible 19 NCAA titles), while producing seven Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winners, 105 All-Americans and numerous Olympic and national team members. The seven-team, NCAA Division I conference consists of: Bemidji State University (Beavers), the University of Minnesota (Golden Gophers), the University of Minnesota Duluth (Bulldogs), Minnesota State University (Mavericks), The Ohio State University (Buckeyes), St. Cloud State University (Huskies) and the University of Wisconsin (Badgers). The WCHA will grow to eight members with the addition of the University of St. Thomas (Tommies) beginning with the 2021-22 season. For more information, visit wcha.com.