MADISON, Wis. — Delaney Drake wants three.
Which she may consider four. For now, it's two national titles.
The Leland graduate and University of Wisconsin forward said she's coming back for another season with the Badgers, taking advantage of the extra year of eligibility offered by the NCAA when last year's sports shut down because of the novel coronavirus.
When fellow senior Daryl Watts' overtime goal gave the Badgers a 2-1 national championship game victory over Northeastern last Saturday, emotions pent up for a year overflowed in the Wisconsin postgame celebrations in Erie, Pennsylvania.
"We were on Cloud Nine," Drake said. "So many different emotions — relief, excitement, happiness. We all were hugging each other in the locker room."
It didn't take head coach Mark Johnson — a member of the famed 1980 "Miracle on Ice" U.S. Olympic hockey team — to get back down to business, reminding the ladies their next practice date of April 6.
Until then, they could celebrate.
Drake instead quickly underwent surgery for a recurring problem in her right foot where a bone had shifted. Doctors broke a metatarsal in her foot and repositioned it during surgery this week. She hopes to be back on skates in June.
The foot issue started becoming more and more of a problem during the season, and she'd scheduled the surgery during the season. But not until after the national championship game.
The foot became painful whenever she'd play. A hefty tape job helped some, and she'd usually wear a walking boot the day after games to help manage the pain, which sometimes drew questions.
"People would be like, 'Are you all right?'" Drake said in the boot. "And I'm like, 'I'm fine, why?'"
For now, she's getting all fixed up for that run at another crown after winning it as a sophomore and senior.
After all, with two, she's equalled her dad in rings. Dallas Drake won a national title at Northern Michigan University and a Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings.
She also considered the Badgers the favorites last year when COVID-19 wiped out the postseason.
"Last year, all year we had a super close-knit team," Drake said. "We had a feeling that's different from other teams, where you know they had issues. You just know. We had a really good feeling, so it was devastating."
With that extra year, she's adding a sports communication minor to her English major, expecting to graduate in the spring of 2022.
Drake put up nine goals and 33 points in four seasons, working her way up the lines. She also has a +21 +/- rating and two game-winning goals to her credit.
Drake told her teammates they were technically the defending champions, since nobody dethroned them.
"Every day we were fortunate to practice," said Drake, the only player from Michigan on Wisconsin's roster. "We embraced every challenge we faced. It was a really emotionally draining season, but I wouldn't do it with any other team. And to do it together was special."
The championship pulled the Badgers into a tie with Minnesota for the most national titles with six.
The majority of the 2021 championship squad should return. Up to eight could use the extra year of eligibility to return, and Drake said she thinks most will in the coming weeks.
Just like she was the first in that recruiting class to commit, she also made her intentions to return clear early on.
Part of that is missing out on some of the normal things seniors get, like a Senior Night game. The Badgers didn't designate a game as such this year, but should again next season if things have cleared up.
"I think we knew we'd be coming back next year," Drake said.
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