Fairport native hopes to trade NCAA D1 hockey title for a spot on the US women’s Olympic team

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HAMDEN, CT – MARCH 22: Wisconsin Badgers defenseman Natalie Buchbinder (2) skates with the puck during the NCAA women’s hockey game between Clarkson Golden Knights and Wisconsin Badgers on March 22, 2019, at the People’s United Center in Hamden, CT. (Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

FAIRPORT, N.Y. (WROC) — Natalie Buchbinder missed Daryl Watts’ overtime goal to hand No. 2 Wisconsin the NCAA women’s Division I ice hockey title.

She was too busy trying to catch her breath after a shift when Watts scored the game-winner to defeat top-seeded Northeastern 2-1 in overtime and defend their title.

“Once I saw the reaction from the ice, I was like ‘oh my God,'” said Buchbinder. “It was crazy and I wish I got to see it in the moment.”

It was just as cool watching the replay after Saturday night’s trophy ceremony.

Fast forward a few days, and the Fairport native has already shifted gears to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Buchbinder is one of 24 college athletes and 16 defenders heading to the U.S. Women’s National Team Evaluation Camp to try out for the World Championship Team.

If selected, Buchbinder would represent Team USA in the 2021 International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship May 6-16, in Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia. She would also be one step closer to her Olympic dream.

“It would mean the world. I’ve looked up to past Olympians my whole life, so to be able to have that opportunity would be crazy,” said Buchbinder. “I’m pushing for it, I’m working hard for it, but if I don’t get it, there’s next time.”

Buchbinder could return to Wisconsin for another season due to an NCAA eligibility waiver. She could either play next season to defend another national title, or 2022-2023 if she selected is to the 2022 U.S. Women’s National Team.

USA Hockey anticipates the roster for the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship will be revealed on March 30.

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