2018-01-04 / Sports

Freshman enjoying ice time with college hockey’s top-ranked team


FORMER LELAND student Delaney Drake has skated all 22 games for the top-ranked Wisconsin women’s hockey team this season. 
Photo Jake McLaughlin FORMER LELAND student Delaney Drake has skated all 22 games for the top-ranked Wisconsin women’s hockey team this season. Photo Jake McLaughlin Delaney Drake wasn’t sure what to expect in her first season at Wisconsin — but she didn’t expect this.

Drake, a former Elmwood Township resident and Leland Public School student, has appeared in all 22 games for the No. 1 Wisconsin women’s hockey team (21-1-0, 12-0 WCHA) this winter.

Career goal No. 1 has eluded Drake to this point, although she has found the scoresheet with a pair of assists.

Her first came in a 7-0 win over Ohio State on Nov. 4.

“I didn’t even know I had the assist until I got back to the bench,” Drake said. “It was pretty cool.”

The second assist may have been a bit more memorable. It came in Wisconsin’s only hiccup thus far, a 3-2 loss to Northeastern on Nov. 24.


DELANEY DRAKE, pictured, is continuing her already impressive hockey career this season at Wisconsin — which is off to a 21-1-0 start thus far. Photo David Stluka DELANEY DRAKE, pictured, is continuing her already impressive hockey career this season at Wisconsin — which is off to a 21-1-0 start thus far. Photo David Stluka That said, Drake could care less about the stats. She’s far more interested in getting better and competing.

“I am having a lot of fun,” she said. “You know you’re going to get better, whether it’s with your teammates or coaches, and it’s a super fun environment to be in. I didn’t expect to go in and play a lot, especially for a high-end team, but I’ve been working hard.”

The blue-collar grind is nothing new.

Drake spent four seasons in the Junior Women’s Hockey League, won a gold medal with the Team USA Under-18 Selects, participated in USA Hockey’s 2016 Women’s National Festival and attended the 2016 USA Hockey Girl’s Select U-18 Player Development camp. And — despite playing on teams loaded with talented skaters — Drake keeps moving up.

“The difference between this team and teams in the past is we all just work so well together as a unit,” she said. “With the combination of the skill we have and the team energy, it’s way better than any team I’ve been on.”

The Badgers, who are currently outscoring teams 76-22, have 12 games left on the regular season schedule.

The WCHA First Round is slated to start Feb. 23.

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