Napanee’s Madison Cronkwright will be a part of Brock Badgers history tomorrow afternoon in Charlottetown, PEI when the team steps on the ice for the U SPORTS National Championships.
Friday’s game against the University of Saskatchewan will mark Brock’s first appearance at a women’s hockey national championship. That part of history isn’t lost on the 20-year-old Cronkwright as she gets set to wrap up her rookie university season.
“We have a lot of graduating players this year,” said Cronkwright via phone from PEI. “They’re a huge chunk of our team and our success. They’ve worked their butts off for the last four, five, some of them six years that they’ve been here. We’re just looking to live in the moment and give it our all on the ice. It can be a short tournament if you let it so we’re just looking to come in and gain some momentum and continue on with the success that we’ve been having.”
Cronkwright, a graduate of NDSS, says the university season has been like no other she’s experienced. She enters the nationals with a goal and six assists in 16 games played.
“It was a step up for sure,” Cronkwright said of university hockey. “The game is a lot faster. It’s pretty incredible to be on such a successful team in your rookie season. It was kind of a Cinderella story in a way, we worked really hard to get where we are. It wasn’t like anyone seen us at nationals. It was just a pure season of hard work for every single person on this team. That’s the key take away for me, just knowing your capabilities and trusting in your teammates. Everyone on our team wanted it just as bad.”
The Badgers finished third in the OUA with a record of 7-5-4 and then got hot at the right time, reeling off three straight playoff wins to advance to nationals, capturing the program’s first OUA banner in the process.
They opened the playoffs with a 2-1 win over Guelph, making the school’s first playoff win in over a decade.
“That was one of the first playoff wins that Brock has had in a little bit,” said Cronkwright. “That was a huge win and just gave us momentum heading into the Western game. Western had won an upset against Waterloo so going in to that game we were at home which was nice. It was just another gritty team win, it got off on the right foot, we scored early in the game and just never took our foot off the pedal from there.”
In the provincial finals they upset Nipissing 2-1 on the road in front of a packed crowd of Lakers supporters.
Cronkwright and the Badgers will look to continue their winning ways this weekend and continue to re-write Badger history in the process. Brock opens their tournament tomorrow at 2 p.m. eastern time in a game that can be live streamed at https://www.cbc.ca/sports?ref=cbcsports.
Each game is must win, as a loss drops a team to the consolation bracket and a second loss ends their tournament.
Brock enters the tournament seeded fourth out of eight teams.
Concordia enters as the top seed followed by University of New Brunswick, University of BC, Brock, Saskatchewan, Nipissing, McGill and the host UPEI team.