Every weekday from May 23-June 7, we will be looking back at the "Dandy Dozen" moments from the historic 2015-16 WCHA season. Next up on our countdown is…
Moment 2: 10 Hours, 24 Minutes and 18 Seconds of Scoreless Hockey
Given all that could – and often does – go wrong or off-script in a hockey game, posting a shutout at any level of the sport is an impressive achievement, a testament to superb goaltending, stellar blue line effort and excellent teamwork between all five players on the ice. How about posting a shutout not just in one game, but an entire two game series? How about not just one series, but two; or, how about for eight games – an entire month's worth of college hockey? Now, how about not allowing a single goal for parts of 11 games, at the top level of women's college hockey in the country?
Impossible, you say? Not for the 2015-16 Wisconsin Badgers.
Beginning at the 18:45 mark of the first period during an Oct. 3 victory over Providence and ending with 16:57 left in regulation of a Nov. 14 triumph at Minnesota Duluth, Wisconsin held its opponents scoreless – a sensational streak that spanned parts of 11 games, included an incredible nine-straight shutouts and an NCAA DI-record (men's or women's) 624 minutes, 18 seconds of shutout hockey. The remarkable run, which spanned more than a full calendar month, was fueled by standout junior goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens, who also set a NCAA standard (men's or women's) with a 543:33 personal scoreless streak (nearly 100 minutes longer than the previous record of 448:32, set by Badger legend Jessie Vetter during the 2006-07 season).
After the 8-1 victory over Providence during which the streak started, the Badgers' nine-straight shutouts spanned both games of WCHA series against Ohio State, at St. Cloud State, vs. Bemidji State and at Minnesota State, and then the first contest of a set at Minnesota Duluth. Counting the portions of the games vs. Providence (after the Friars' goal) and at UMD (before the Bulldogs' score), Wisconsin tallied 54 goals while keeping their opponents off the scoreboard.
The Badgers were not done after the streak, however. UW also recorded five-straight shutouts during the postseason, spanning the entirety of the Badgers' WCHA playoff championship run and their NCAA quarterfinal round victory over Mercyhurst. For the season, Wisconsin tallied a WCHA-record 23 shutouts and finished the season with an NCAA-record of a mere 0.72 goals-allowed per contest.
Desbiens fashioned perhaps the finest season by a goaltender in NCAA history, shattering numerous program, conference and NCAA records during a historic campaign. The La Malbaie, Québec native racked up 21 shutouts, setting the NCAA men's and women's single-season record. A top-three finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, her .960 save percentage and 0.76 goals-against average also established NCAA records. Desbiens became just the second netminder to earn WCHA Player of the Year honors, while she was also named a First Team CCM All-American and the USCHO Player of the Year.
While Desbiens was the backstop, every player on the ice played a role in UW's run of clean sheets, including its exceptional defensemen. Anchored by senior captain Courtney Burke and assistant captain Jenny Ryan (a junior in 2015-16), the Badgers' blue-line corps also featured junior Mellissa Channell, sophomores Lauren Williams and Maddie Rolfes, and freshman Mikaela Gardner.
Wisconsin's Scoreless Streak – By the Numbers
Between Oct. 3 and Nov. 14 – a stretch spanning parts of 11 games – Wisconsin set the all-time NCAA Division I record (men or women) by holding its opponents scoreless for an incredible 624 minutes and 18 seconds. Below is a sampling of things you could do over 10 hours, 24 minutes and 18 seconds:
- Driving 60 miles per hour, you could make the following WCHA road trips from Madison, Wis.:
- Complete round trips to Minneapolis and Mankato, Minn.
- Nearly complete round trips to Duluth (34 miles short) and St. Cloud, Minn. (44 miles short).
- One-way to Bemidji, Minn., Grand Forks, N.D. and Columbus, Ohio with room to spare.
- Take the full 5 hour, 55 minute flight from Madison, Wis. to San Jose, Calif., where the Badgers' streak began on Oct. 3 (and, most of the return flight!).
- Watch the entire original "Star Wars" trilogy (Episodes IV, V and VI), along with all of Episode VII
- Watch the movie "Miracle" 4.5 times.
- Listen to the entire Taylor Swift "1989" album 12.8 times.
- Switch the surface at the Kohl Center (home of Wisconsin basketball and men's hockey) from hardwood to ice and back, with 4 hours to spare!
- Play 10.4 regulation hockey games (with nine ending in shutouts!)
"Dandy Dozen" Moments from the 2015-16 WCHA Season
12: Trio of New Coaches Join WCHA
11: Husky Pride
10: Record-Setting Year in Bemidji
9: The Next Level
8: Final Face-Off Championship Game Aired Live on FOX Sports North
7: Kessel Returns to the Ice
6: Brandt Concludes Historic Career
5: Wisconsin Returns to Top of WCHA Mountain
4: National Award Winners
3: WCHA Comprises Half of Frozen Four Field