Now four years into the program, the Wisconsin womens hockey team continues to make progress. The Badgers finished the season 22-8-5 overall and 14-6-4 in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play. The 22 wins ties the 200102 team for most wins and the .700 winning percentage is a school record.
Wisconsin finished third in the WCHA during the regular season and third at the 2003 WCHA Womens Final Five, held at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D.
HEAD COACH MARK JOHNSON:
The transition to the programs third head coach in four years went smoothly as Mark Johnson took over the womens team at the start of the season. Johnson became the first Badger coach recognized by the WCHA when he was named WCHA Co-Coach of the Year along with Minnesota-Duluths Shannon Miller. Johnson was also one of eight finalists for the American Hockey Coaches Association Division I Coach of the Year.
The first senior class in Wisconsin history made its exit with the final game of the 200203 season.
The group set the standard for all those who come after. Three-year captain and defender Sis Paulsen, two-year assistant captain and defender Kerry Weiland, goaltender Jackie MacMillan, forward Kelly Kegley, forward Kendra Antony, forward Michelle Sikich, forward Julia Ortenzio and assistant captain and forward Kathy Devereaux make up the group. The first five named made up the first group of frosh recruits, with MacMillan coming a year before the program started. Sikich and Devereaux transferred to Wisconsin, while Ortenzio walked onto the team.
Wisconsin rewrote its recordbook where winning is concerned. The Badgers won nine straight games from Jan. 31-Feb. 28, 2003, breaking the old mark of eight games set during the inaugural season. The winning streak came during a school-record tying 10-game unbeaten string. The unbeaten streak record was set earlier in the season, ending just two games before the second streak began. Both unbeaten streaks were stopped on the second night of two-game series with NCAA Frozen Four participants. The Badgers won at Minnesota-Duluth before having their first streak snapped on Jan. 18 by the Bulldogs. Wisconsin extended its second unbeaten streak and its nine-game winning streak with a home win over Minnesota. The Gophers ended the run the next night, March 1, 2003.
A Badger strength was special teams. Wisconsin ranked second in WCHA games in both power play and penalty killing. Wisconsin succeeded on 24 of 98 power-play chances, a 24.5 percent rate, and killed 83 of 92 short-handed situations for a 90.2 percent penalty kill success rate. Wisconsins 20.5 percent power play in all games ranked third in the league and fifth in the nation.
Wisconsin was the second-least penalized team in league games at 11.0 penalty minutes per game, and were the least penalized team overall, averaging just 10.6 minutes per game.
Two Badgers were selected second-team All-WCHA. Senior defenders Sis Paulsen and Kerry Weiland made up the second team defensive corps. Paulsen, who ranked fourth among WCHA defenders in scoring, was a first-team selection in 2000. Weiland becomes the first Wisconsin four-time All-WCHA pick after making the second team in 199900 and the first team in both 200001 and 200102.
Senior defender Sis Paulsen capped off a successful season and career with her selection to the 2003 WCHA All-Tournament Team. Paulsen, a major part of the UWs success all season, helped the Badgers finish third at the 2003 WCHA Womens Final Five.
Fourteen Badgers, five more than the next closest school, garnered Academic All-WCHA. Those honored include seniors Kendra Antony, Kathy Devereaux, Kelly Kegley, Jackie MacMillan, Sis Paulsen, Michelle Sikich, Julia Ortenzio, Kerry Weiland, juniors Meghan Hunter, Steph Millar and Karen Rickard and sophomores Jackie Friesen, Nicole Uliasz and Amy Vermeulen.
The 14 student-athletes helped the Badgers to a 3.2 grade-point average for the fall semester.
The Wisconsin women attracted an average of 905 fans to each game during the 200203 season, ranking second in the nation. The Badgers had at least 1000 fans at seven of 16 home contests, with a season-high 1,624 against Minnesota-Duluth on Oct. 25, 2002 at the Kohl Center.
A fourth Badger joined the ranks of the 100-point club when defender Sis Paulsen reached the mark early in the season. The team captain, who began the season with 99 points, assisted on a power-play goal in the UWs second game of the season to crack the 100-point barrier. She joined Kendra Antony, Meghan Hunter and Kerry Weiland in the prestigious club.
Four Badgers were selected to respective national teams during the season. Defender Kerry Weiland made her first appearance on a senior national team when she played for the 2002 U.S. Womens Select Team at the 2002 Four Nations Cup held Nov. 6-10 in Kitchener, Ontario. Weiland later was named to the 2002 U.S. National Team that was to play at the 2003 World Championships in Beijing, China. The tournament was cancelled due to the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Junior Meghan Hunter and sophomores Carla MacLeod and Jackie Friesen were selected to the 2003 Canadian Under-22 National Team. The squad traveled to play in the European Air Canada Cup womens international competition February 5-8 in Salzgitter and Hannover, Germany.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:
Six times during the 200203 season, members of the Wisconsin Badgers were recognized by the WCHA as players of the week. Sophomore defender Nicole Uliasz earned the seasons first WCHA Defensive Player of the Week award to open the season. Senior goaltender Jackie MacMillan was named WCHA Defensive Player of the Week four times, while senior defender Sis Paulsen was Wisconsins only WCHA Offensive Player of the Week.
MacMillan was also honored as the U.S. College Hockey Online national defensive player of the week.
Wisconsin completed the season with its highest final rankings in school history. The Badgers sat at No. 5 in the final U.S. College Hockey Online Poll and No. 6 in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine Poll. Wisconsins previous best final ranking was No. 7 achieved in both of the last two years.
WISCONSIN ALL-TIME LEADERS:
Departing seniors Kendra Antony, Sis Paulsen and Jackie MacMillan left statistical legacies that future Badgers will be hard pressed to match.
Antony leaves the program as the all-time leading scorer with 159 points. Scorer of the first four goals in UW history, she also leads the program with 92 assists and in games played with 137.
Defender Sis Paulsen finished her playing career as the school leader in defensive scoring with 130 points. The three-year captain also ranks second with 136 games played.
Goaltender Jackie MacMillan has started nearly every game the past three seasons, and more than half of the games during the inaugural season, to post what may prove to be unreachable records. She finishes her career leading all goaltenders with 121 games played, 15 shutouts, 6999:28 minutes played, 2527 saves, 75 victories, a 2.08 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage.
WCHA ALL-TIME LEADERS: A pair of Badgers finished their playing days as career leaders in several WCHA categories. Defender Sis Paulsen ended her career with 130 points, the most ever by a league defender. She also leads in WCHA games with 92 points in league games. Senior teammate Kerry Weiland ranks second all-time with 127 career points and second in WCHA games with 83 points.
Jackie MacMillan dominates the goaltending charts. MacMillan ranks first overall with 121 games played, 15 shutouts, 6999:28 minutes played and 75 victories. In WCHA games, she leads with 83 games played, 12 shutouts, 4833:13 minutes played and 52 wins.