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Monday, April 21, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 56.0° F  Fair
The Paper

SPORTS

Where's the ? for Wisconsin women's hockey?

Hilary Knight.
Hilary Knight.
Credit:UW Communications
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The defending national champion Wisconsin women's hockey team has won four out of the last six national titles. Ranked first in the country, the Badgers (20-2-2) are favored to make another title run this season.

They're led by a trio of snipers - Hilary Knight, Brianna Decker and Brooke Ammerman - with 20 or more goals each. Knight's 135 (and counting) career goals are a Wisconsin record for either gender. So far this season, they have dramatically outshot (954-565) and outscored (117-69) the UW men's team, which has staggered its way to a 10-10-2 record.

So why are the Badgers drawing just 2,071 fans for each home game, the lowest since 2008-09?

One reason: Five of the Badgers' 18 home games are played at 2 p.m. on Fridays, when most families can't attend. Another: Two of Wisconsin's top rivals, Minnesota and North Dakota, played here on back-to-back weekends in October when football dominated the news. And then there's the seven-week momentum-killing gulf between the Badgers' last home series and Friday afternoon's Minnesota-Duluth game.

But after the Women's World Cup proved over the summer that female athletes are plenty capable of producing fist-pump-worthy highlights, you'd think sports fans in a forward-thinking town like Madison would ignore all that and rally around an intensely competitive and fun to watch team like the women Badgers. They certainly do in Storrs, Conn., where the perennially dominant University of Connecticut women's basketball team routinely sells out games.

The guess here is if every Badgers fan who ever said he or she should get out to a women's hockey game actually did, attendance would soar.

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