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Campbell Pitches Third-Straight Shutout, Wins NCAA Title

By Carter Brooks

Photo courtesy of the NCAA

Kristen Campbell very well might be the greatest active goaltender in all of hockey at this very moment. 

Campbell Pitches Third-Straight Shutout, Wins NCAA Title

Riding a two-game shutout streak into the NCAA Division I female hockey championship for the Wisconsin Badgers Sunday afternoon, Campbell – a Brandon product originally from the Midget AAA Westman Wildcats – kept her streak alive through the NCAA final game, en route to a 2-0 victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers. 

After a 4-0 victory in the quarterfinal over Syracuse, and a 5-0 semifinal win Friday night against Clarkson, it was only fitting for the 21-year-old backstop to deliver her 11th shutout of the season Sunday afternoon, making 27 stops against a very potent Minnesota attack at People’s United Center in Hamden, CN.

“I just thank my team in front of me,” Campbell said to ESPN post-game. “They were doing whatever it takes to get the puck out. It’s a complete team effort. Sure you can look at the goalie getting the shutout, but it’s all about the team in front of you.”

Playing for the University of Wisconsin kind of happened by accident, as the Manitoban had her hopes crushed of winning a national title with the University of North Dakota when the female hockey program closed its doors. Choosing to join the Badgers was a decision that changed her life. 

“When I went to North Dakota, my goal was to win a national championship,” she reflected. “I couldn’t thank the coaching staff here enough for taking a risk on me, taking a chance to bring me into this program. As soon as I got that opportunity, I knew I was going to make the most of it. It’s just been an unbelievable time at Wisconsin, and it’s honestly been a dream come true every minute I’ve spent there.”

Following an exceptionally successful 2017-18 campaign, in which the backstop put up a 1.19 goals against average and a .939 save percentage, Campbell one-upped her totals this past season, bringing her goals against average down to just 1.03, while shaving off one decimal to her save percentage (.940).

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The Brandon native absolutely tore up the competition in 2018-19, going 35-4-2, while dressing in every single game for Wisconsin this season. The second-year Badger had eight more victories than the next best NCAA Division I goaltender, while destroying the competition with her 1.03 goals against average. 

Campbell was named both the Goaltender of the Tournament as well as the Most Outstanding Player as she finished the three-game, single-knockout portion with a perfect 0.00 goals against average and a 1.000 save percentage.

 Wisconsin’s first NCAA championship since 2011, and fifth all-time. After a 19-1 start to the season, the Badgers produced seven wins in seven playoff games, outscoring the competition 30-3 in the postseason. 

Carter Brooks - Associate Editor of Game On Magazine - is a news writer and sports columnist situated in Winnipeg, MB. On top of reading and writing, coaching hockey is his favourite pastime. Carter can be reached at carterbrooks1994@gmail.com

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