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Badgers earn eighth WCHA regular-season title

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It was an epic Sunday afternoon at AMSOIL Arena as the No. 2 Wisconsin women's hockey team scored twice in the final minute to force a 5-5 tie with No. 9 Minnesota Duluth and earn the 2019-20 WCHA regular-season title outright. 

Senior alternate captain Abby Roque led the charge and finished the battle for Wisconsin (27-4-3, 17-4-3-2 WCHA) posting two goals, while junior Daryl Watts brought up the rear by taking the draw point from Minnesota Duluth (16-10-6, 11-8-5-3 WCHA).

For the third-straight game, UW found itself in a 1-0 hole after the first period when UMD scored a power-play goal with less than two minutes on the clock.

But after letting their first shorthanded goal of the season slip through halfway into the second, the Badgers bounced back quickly scoring twice in a 2:32 span.

Roque scored on UW's third power-play of the day knocking the puck past UMD netminder Maddie Rooney.

Minutes later, senior Alexis Mauermann took a pass from Roque on a rush and backhanded the puck to tie the game at 2-2 after 40 minutes.

Three goals were scored in the first four minutes of the third as Watts gave Wisconsin a 3-2 lead just 47 seconds in off a pass by sophomore Sophie Shirley before Minnesota Duluth's Sydney Brodt scored twice in a 2:26 span to take a 4-3 advantage.

The game looked set when the Bulldogs notched another goal late in the third, but the Badgers took full advantage of the 3:32 minutes left on the clock.

In the last 58 seconds on a six-on-four power play, Shirley tapped in the fourth Badger goal with a placed pass by Watts before Roque followed up by clinching the 5-5 tie and the WCHA regular-season cup with 15 seconds left in the game. 

After a scoreless overtime, UW took the extra league point as Watts took off down-ice on a breakaway and nailed the top shelf in three-on-three OT. 

After securing the top seed in the WCHA Final Faceoff, UW has earned a bye for the first round of the tournament that will take place on campus sites Feb. 28-March 1. The Badgers will open the WCHA Final Faceoff at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis with a semifinal matchup on Saturday, March 7 at 2 p.m. against the lowest remaining seed in the tournament.

(UW Athletics contributed information to this article.)

Alec Ausmus

Sports reporter

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