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Packer's Perspective: Badgers take on Bemidji

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Hey Badger Fans!

The team has arrived in Bemidji after a short day of travel, and a very cold welcome. We left Madison this afternoon at 3 p.m., and headed to the airport where we flew straight into Bemidji, headed to the rink for a quick practice, and then checked in at the hotel. The team had our usual evening meal, before turning in to get some rest to prepare for the upcoming games. The team is looking forward to the series and hopes to build of last game's momentum and move forward.

'"We are expecting a good battle this weekend," freshman forward Sydney McKibbon said. "They will be fired up to play us at their home rink with their home fans to cheer them on, especially considering we beat them both games in Madison. I think we need to come out strong in the first period in order to set the tone for the weekend. Last weekend we learned that you can't take any team lightly and that we need to play a complete 60 minutes in order to win. We came out on Sunday against North Dakota and did the little things to be successful so we need to carry that on in Bemidji. This weekend is going to be all about compete level and who is willing to work the hardest and win the battles. We are well prepared and had a great week of practice and I think we are all excited to play some games."

Fellow Badger forward, Rachel Jones, had similar emotions heading into the weekend and realizes the weight this weekend holds in the standings.

"Heading into this weekend, I think our team realizes how important these games are with the understanding that Bemidji didn't like being swept when they came to Madison," Jones said. "They are going to come out hard and play for the whole 60 minutes, this is a team that won't go down without a battle. Some of the things our team needs to build off of from last weekend is we need to play 100% every time we hit the ice, winning every one on one battle. After last weekend our team knows that we have to play for the whole game in order to be successful."

The team is well aware of the importance of the upcoming weekend, as well as the importance of competing for the full 60 minutes. Bemidji is a team that is always difficult to play on the road, and in order to be successful in their barn we have to give it everything we have every time we hit the ice.

The games take place Friday and Saturday at 2 p.m. and we hope those back home can follow our games and cheer us on as we look to walk away this weekend with a few road wins in our back pocket.

Until next time, thanks for reading, and On Wisconsin!

-Madison 

Packer's Perspective: Back to Work

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Hey Badger Fans,

Thank you to all who came out and supported us this weekend! The atmosphere was great, and the team thrives when the home crowd gets involved. Saturdays game was a tough loss, but the team used our mistakes from the game to learn and build for Sunday. It was tough when North Dakota came out and got a quick goal again, but the team rallied together as one and played our hearts out, taking 3 points away from the weekend and finishing on a high note. There was a lot to learn from overall after the weekend, but we also did a number of things very well as a team. Monday was a much needed day off after the grueling weekend and physical series, and all the ladies took full advantage of the extra recovery.

Monday night we gathered as a team at LaBahn, and had a little 101 clinic. There were about 100 kids that showed up for the clinic, and it was a great way to give back to a community that supports us throughout the season. We spent an hour on the ice, teaching and playing around with the little kids, and then we headed up to the concourse of the arena to sign some autographs and eat some pizza with the skaters. The whole event lasted a little over two hours, and it was a huge success. We are grateful to all those who showed up to support our organization and hope all the participants enjoyed being little Badgers for the day.

Tuesday was back to work, as we had film, practice, and lift. We reviewed the game from Sunday, looking at times when we had a few breakdowns, and also focusing on the things we did well and need to continue to execute in order to find success this season. We then hit the ice for a quick practice to work on skill and focus on what we need to do this weekend, and then headed down to the weight room for a quick workout to keep in shape. After workout, the team enjoyed a nice meal, and a few of us headed to a local middle school to visit with a fourth grade classroom.

While visiting with the fourth graders, we talked about our experiences as young athletes, our journey to the University of Wisconsin, and then answered a number of varying questions from our favorite NHL team to our favorite movie or color. The kids were awesome, and certainly came prepared with a number of questions to ask. The visit with the fourth graders was finished with a quick autograph session, before we headed home. The visit to the elementary school was extra special for senior goaltender Ilana Friedman, who attended that middle school when she was younger. Later tonight, a number of ladies will be heading to the local senior home to visit with some elderly members of the community. I am always amazed at the willingness of my teammates to give back in the community whenever they get a chance, especially with the highly demanding lifestyle they live.

The journey for our team continues this weekend as we head up to Bemidji to play on the road. Check back in later this week for emotions from players about the upcoming games, and a recap of our journey to Northern Minnesota. Until next time, thanks for reading, and On Wisconsin!!

Packer's Perspective: The Badgers Behind the Masks

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Hey Badger fans! Today's post is a little different. Usually, I bring to you the upcoming anticipation of games, post game reactions, and the activities we are involved in daily throughout the community. Although this post will include some of our daily interactions in the community, it is more of a story. The story behind the Wisconsin women's hockey team, and the backgrounds that bring this group together to create a family that is stronger than any obstacle we face together. 

This story does not start in any specific location, it has no general direction, and most of the quotes and information will remain anonymous out of respect for the privacy of my teammates, although at times, some individuals are named. The purpose of this story is to show the fans of the Wisconsin women's hockey team that the individuals who make up this nationally ranked program, are not all that different from anyone else in the community. We show up to the rink each day, leave our lives at the door, and for three hours we interact as athletes; however, when the lights dim and we change back into our street clothes, my teammates and I venture back out into the real world, and face realities that are often hard to cope with. Through the spotlighting of my team in this blog, I will work to show that the talents of my teammates on the ice are far less impressive than their courage in the outside world, and that if the phenomenal athletes I suit up next to each day can use their setbacks to propel them to success, perhaps we can inspire our followers and fans can do the same.

Injuries are a setback in any environment. People are injured in the work force, in daily activity, and like many athletes on the team, in athletic competition. Fans often see players get hurt. They read about injury reports, or see a player walking around with a cast or bag of ice; however, what the fans do not see is the hard work and mental determination it takes for these players to get back on the ice. Ranging from broken bones, to stitches, to major reconstructive surgeries, the Badgers are made up of relentless women who dedicate their lives to a sport they are passionate about. 

"You can never ask why me. Once you start asking yourself that and weighing through all the possibilities, that is time wasted that you could have used to get better and get back with the team." 

One player that stands out for her battle with injuries is senior defenseman Stef McKeough. Many have read her story and know that Stef has been sidelined because of a concussion, but my focus is not on her injury. My focus is on Stef as a teammate, and as a compassionate individual who has had her athletic career halted because of a devastating injury, yet shows up for every home game to support her team. She spends hours and hours a day each week in the training room. Hours of work that people never see to try and get back to where she once was and to try to continue living life as a normal college student. 

As a former roommate, and current teammate of Stef McKeough, I can honestly say I have never met a more selfless individual. I watched her battle with her injury last year, and I think that is one of the toughest things I have had to stand by and watch a teammate go through. Someone so passionate and caring for others, with no control over what was going on in her own life. Through her struggles, I learned that the outlook on a situation is everything, and it was incredible to see someone in such a negative spot maintain such a positive composure for those around her. She has taught me, and our entire team, the true meaning of being a good teammate. Her passion for the game of hockey was always obvious, but long after being stuck in the bleachers, she continues to give back and support her team no matter what the circumstance. 

Stef is a member of the Wisconsin team that does not suit up with us on a daily basis, but gives back in an invaluable way with her support and constant encouragement. She always pats us on the back on the way to the ice, and is always giving insight between periods. She follows the team on the road, and offers positive feedback when we find ourselves frustrated. Stef McKeough is the unsung hero within our locker room, a teammate who receives little credit for the unrecognized support she provides. Like Stef, numerous of my teammates have had surgeries and injuries that have left them out for any given period of time. 

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The hours these ladies put in to get healthy are moments no fan ever sees, but are of utmost importance when describing the character and commitment that makes up a large chunk of the team's overall personality. In the four years that I have been at Wisconsin I have had my fair share of injuries, and had to rehab to battle my way back into the lineup, but none of these injuries compare to some of the battles I have watched my teammates fight in their own lives away from the rink.

Another area of life discovered when talking with my teammates and getting to know them over the years is something I will call personal hardship. In the words of one of my teammates: "I consider myself really lucky. There are going to be obstacles in your life and you have to overcome them. God has a plan for all of us". 

The personal hardship category is not to put our team in a negative spotlight or for fans to get the idea that this team is composed of a group of misfortunate and heartbroken women; but rather to point out to our fans the fact that this is a team of renowned athletes who work just as hard off the ice as they do on it in order to be the presentable and well rounded women they are today. 

"Being surrounded by such a great group of people everyday is a blessing and makes you realize how special what we have here is." 

The support system our team provides one another is something that words cannot describe. To have 24 people within two miles of you who will be there at any hour of the day for any given reason is something so rare and we are all lucky and blessed to have such compassionate individuals who put others before themselves. 

In fifth grade, a current Badger found out her mother had been diagnosed with cancer, only to learn two weeks later that her father had been diagnosed as well. 

"It was extremely difficult at the time, you learn not to complain about the little things and to value opportunities afforded to you. It's difficult to see other teammates go through it with their families. I think about it daily especially because it's so common, you hear about it more often, but also just because it affected me so heavily at such a young age." 

At age 15, another teammate lost her mother after a 17-month battle with cancer. 

"It sucked, I don't think at any point in your life losing a family member is ever easy, but it was hard being a young teenage girl. I have a lot of other people in my life who have stepped in and filled in a sort of motherly role and helped me out along the way. Some days are harder than others for instance the anniversary of her death, her birthday, and other holidays. People are aware that I find those days harder than most. I am fortunate to have formed some life long friendships with some of my current teammates as well as teammates from other teams I have played on in the past. It is easy for me to talk to those people about anything, including the loss of my mom. I am extremely grateful to be able to play a sport with teammates who are always willing to lend me a shoulder to lean on." 

These, among other difficulties teammates would rather not have shared, are some of the hardships and realities my fellow teammates have overcome in life before and during their Badger careers. The struggle of watching family members battle illness, and the tragedy of dealing with loss are areas of life that the Badger team is well acquainted with. Through these struggles, the women that make up our team have emerged as strong individuals, propelling them to success on the ice and in various outlets of life. The determined nature of my teammates has enabled a number of them to share their experience with others, and also enabled them to appreciate life in a new way, and become a supportive teammate for those around them.

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One final area of life that I wish to unveil about the Wisconsin women's hockey team is in regard to our families. The parents, siblings, and grandparents who are not pictured in highlight films, or typically mentioned in newspaper articles, but are the reason every one of us is where we are today. 

"Just the commitment and support of my family: driving me an hour to and from the rink every day of the week for practice and games, and for allowing me to leave home at the age of 14 to attend a boarding school in another state to pursue my hockey career. Times haven't always been easy financially but they always came through and made ends meet. I could not ask for a more supportive and loving family and I'm very fortunate to have so many people that believe in me and are willing to let me pursue my dreams." 

Family is something that is extremely important in the eyes of my teammates and I.  As previously discussed, we have players who have watched as family members struggle with their health, and also we have players with family members actively serving in the military, players who families struggle to make financial ends meet, and individuals who rarely get to return home except for a few days a year because of distance and commute. There are friendships made on our team that will last a lifetime, long after we hang up our skates for the last time. The overall personality and family that has emerged in our locker room as a result of the shaping of our families back home is remarkable. 

Family is an area of life for the Badgers that is beyond any material value. The financial commitment and the time consuming schedule of the sport our parents allowed us to play at a young age is often difficult for families, but our parents made it work, and because of their sacrifice every one of us is where we are today. Without the love and support of our families none of this would be possible, but also the faith our families had in us from the start. 

Becoming a Division I athlete is no easy task, and that is not to put my teammates or myself on a pedestal and say no common individual can reach this stage, but it is a dream thousands of athletes of various sports have, and is a grueling competition to achieve that final goal. Our families believed in us. They enabled us to have the resources to chase our dreams, and supported us as we failed and succeeded along the way. The parents and support from back home is something that rarely receives credit on any stage of notoriety, but on behalf of my teammates: Thank you to all the parents, siblings, loved ones, and fans who have supported us along the way. The greatest play of any of our careers came the day you made the commitment to allow us to pursue our dreams.

A number of difficult times have been previously mentioned, but as the cliché saying goes, it's the hard days that make the good ones better. The Wisconsin team no doubt has days where someone comes to the rink and finds it difficult to smile because its been a rough go, but for the most part, our lives are filled with days where there are nothing but smiles in the room. The camaraderie and character of the various individuals makes for a great atmosphere, and it is something that I have been fortunate enough to have been a part of and experience first hand for the last four years. 

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As a member of the team, I have met people who have changed my life forever and have learned more about life that I ever could about hockey. My teammates are some of the kindest and most compassionate individuals I have ever encountered, and that is often unseen from the other side of the glass. In one word, to sum up my team, I would say the Wisconsin women's hockey team is relentless. Facing every battle, on and off the ice, with the tenacity and determination that we are always stronger than anything that can happen to us in this life. 

My teammates have taught me lessons I never thought I could learn through my college hockey experience, and it is my hope that through the sharing of some of these stories that the fans will see these women in a new light. I hope after reading this account that fans see them not only as Badger student-athletes but also as strong role models in the community and strong leaders in the future. Like all people in this world, members of this team have deep histories that make up the people they are today. My teammates, no matter where they come from or what they have been through, are outstanding examples of what hard work and the pursuit of a dream can amount to. I hope you enjoyed reading about my team as much as I enjoyed sharing this small piece of our story, and we hope to see you out at LaBahn as we continue on this season in search of our ultimate goal. 

Until next time, thanks for reading, and On Wisconsin!

-Madison Packer

Packer's Perspective: Back from St. Cloud

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Hey Badger fans! Another successful weekend on the road for the team as we picked up six points before heading back to Madison. The weekend was a rocky start in the first few shifts of Friday's game as players tried to get a feel back for game pace and back in the swing of conference competition. The team picked it up by the second period and came away with a 3-1 victory.

 Saturday night was a different story as we came out fast from the start and got an early lead, pushing the team to a 4-0 victory over the Huskies. Saturday's game was much better for the team as we improved vastly from Friday to Saturday and settled back into our comfort zone.

The team took the day off Sunday after returning home late Saturday night, but was right back to work Monday morning. The upcoming series against North Dakota is the most important series of the season thus far, and we know all that is on the line as far as rankings both in the WCHA and on the national stage.

The team has an extra day to go over systems with the games this weekend falling on Saturday and Sunday and this is something we look forward to taking full advantage of. The team is looking better and better each day as we continue on our journey, and we look forward to the games this weekend as a test of where we stand and how far we have come since we last met North Dakota up in Grand Forks.

Tune in later this week for more from the Badger squad!

Thanks for reading, On Wisconsin!

 - Madison 

Packer's Perspective: New Year, New Energy

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It's that time again Badger fans, we are on the road and gearing up for tonight's game against St. Cloud State. The team left Madison yesterday afternoon and bused up to Minnesota. We arrived and had a short team practice to review systems and get the bus legs out, before checking into the hotel and having a team meal. This morning we had a typical skate around that consisted of the usual drills and games a rebound, before heading back to the hotel yet again for a little down time and pre-game meal. The game is set for 7 p.m. tonight, and the ladies know that the first game back after a long break is highly important on a number of levels.

"We are all super excited to get back into league play after having almost a month off since our last game," junior forward Blayre Turnbull said. "These games will definitely be a challenge for us. Playing against a hardworking team like St. Cloud on a big ice sheet will be an exciting way to kick off the new year. We are hoping to play these games with the same intensity and tenacity that we finished 2013 off with. It is going to be very important that we play smart, simple, and within the systems we have been practicing and playing with all season."

Junior forward Brittany Ammerman had similar thoughts and emotions going into tonight's game. 

"I think everyone is feeling refreshed from our break and is excited to be back at it for the second half of the season," Ammerman said. "We are very excited to be playing a game tonight because it's been almost a month off from games. The being said I am looking forward to our team's energy tonight. In terms of what we need to focus on in the beginning of tonight's game, I think positive energy, simple plays, and short shifts will be key to us getting back into the swing of things for this second half of the season."

The team is well rested and ready to go to work tonight on the road. We have prepared the last couple weeks to make sure we are back in game shape, and know the second half of the season is highly important if we want to reach our ultimate goal at the end of the year. The ladies are excited to be back on the ice, and looking forward to the first game back on the road.

 A little added emphasis for a win tonight is to give senior goaltender Alex Rigsby a road victory on her birthday. She's 22 today, and the victory would certainly make for a great birthday treat as she spends the day away from home. The puck drops in St. Cloud tonight at 7 p.m. Be sure to tune in and cheer the team on as we continue our journey to the finish line. 

Thanks for reading, On Wisconsin!

-Madison Packer

Packer's Perspective: Heading Into the New Year

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Hey Badger Fans-

The time is here! We have returned back to campus and hit the ice once again, continuing on our journey to the finish line. Break was not nearly long enough, and flew by, but everyone is in agreement that it was nice to get away and spend time with loved ones over the holidays. Most of the team left campus back sometime between the 17th and the 20th of December and then we all returned by the 27th of December in order to take part in practice later that day. The break was good, and a little time away from the rink is always healthy. 

The team has returned to campus and been grinding each day, from lift, to cardio, to on ice sessions themselves, everyone is pushing hard and focused on continuing to pursue our team goal. While hockey is what brings the fans and the followers, the players are ordinary individuals just like the rest. We hang out with family members, spend time with friends, and yes, some of us still write letters to Santa (Sydney McKibbon). Upon returning to campus, I asked my teammates to list their favorite gift or moment of this Christmas season (Hanukah for senior goaltender Ilana Friedman), and here is what we came up with. Also; I have included some of the nicknames we go by, to better know the ladies! Enjoy!

#1 Jorie Walters- A ninja blender
#2 Melissa Channel (Chan)- A Garth Brooks CD set and some lulu lemon clothes
#3 Jenny Ryan- Fondue with my family for Christmas dinner...yummm!
#5 Stef McKeough- Ketchup chips, and also making the kiss cam at the Sens hockey game with my brother.
#6 Courtney Burke (@courty6)- A North Face jacket
#7 Kelly Jaminski (Jammer)- A new pair of comfy slippers
#8 Katy Harding (Stone)- Taking a trip to Hawaii with my family
#9 Molly Doner- Finally having all five of my siblings and I home together
#10 Brittany Ammerman (Brit)- Surprising my mom with the Linus bike she has always wanted
#11 Sydney McKibbon (Syd)- Skating outdoors at Lake Louise 
#12 Katy Josephs (Kath)- Skating on the outdoor rink with my brothers
#13 Katarina Zgraja (Z)- A delicious home cooked turkey dinner
#14 Madison Packer (Pack)- Bowling with my family in Aspen and skating with a group of four and five year olds at the local rink
#16 Sarah Nurse- Being with all my family
#17 Blayre Turnbull- A new pair of fuzzy socks
#20 Mikayla Johnson (MJ)- A basket to hold all my blankets
#23 Kim Drake- Decorating the Christmas tree
#24 Karley Sylvester (Carlos)- A new Sonic Care toothbrush and taking a trip to New York to visit my boyfriend...he's in the NHL, Brock Nelson, look him up.
#25 Erika Sowchuk (Sowwww)- A new pair of beats
#27 Rachel Jones (Jonesie)- A shiny new front tooth
#28 Natalie Berg (Bergie)- My Barbie jeep, it does great on the snowy Wisco roads
#30 Ann-Renee Desbiens- Having all my siblings and nephews home
#31 Ilana Friedman (Ils)- Spending time with my boyfriend on the football team
#33 Alex Rigsby (Rigs)- Magic bullet blender...I like my smoothies (she really does!!)

There you have it! All the favorite gifts and moments from the Badgers holiday season, but now it's back to work. We have six practices under our belt and we are gearing up to head to St. Cloud to start the second leg of the season. The second half of the year is a fresh start and a new chapter for us, as we look to make strides to continue getting better and focusing on reaching our ultimate goal. Tune in later this week for a full recap on practices and the trip to St. Cloud, and thoughts from players on what they look forward to moving into the first game of 2014. From the entire Badger team we wish you a safe and happy New Year and look forward to playing in front of our home crowd in 2014! 

Until next time, thanks for reading, and On Wisconsin!

-Madison Packer

Packer's Perspective: Friedman's holiday break recap

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I hope everyone had a great holiday and is looking forward to the New Year! Another treat for the holiday is another guest blogger, senior goaltender, Ilana Friedman!

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Greetings Badger Fans!
 
This is Ilana Friedman, one of the goalies on the women's hockey team.  I'm writing from a distant location in relation to Madison...well actually not really.  As a Middleton, Wisconsin, native, my holiday travel plans are not as exciting as a lot of other members of the team this year.  A quick ten-minute drive west on University Avenue gets me home!  Downtown is usually very quiet during the various breaks, and this break has been no different thus far, especially with the recent snowfall that's forced many to stay inside!

Break has been very relaxing thus far.  My plan usually revolves around sleeping in, trekking over to the rink and working out, sitting in our amazing hot tub or sauna, and then relaxing the rest of the day.  Over break the team likes to pick up new TV shows as we have a bit more free time than during the semester, so I'm currently catching up on Scandal (a team favorite) and just started a new biography about the Kennedy's (one of my favorite topics as a history major). 

Winter break also includes another not so fun activity: law school and internship applications.  I took the LSAT in October and am now applying to various schools and internship positions.  Although they're not too difficult to complete, they are time consuming.  I'm mainly looking at schools out east either in Boston, New York, or Washington D.C. but as our recent trip to Vail forced me to fall in love with the state, I might apply some places in Colorado too.

My holiday plans were probably a little different than many of the members on the team, as my family and I do not celebrate Christmas. I was raised Jewish, so our holiday traditions have a different little spin.  Christmas Eve was spent with my family playing various different board games like Settlers of Catan and Tripoli.  The fun continued on Christmas day, which included a movie at one of the local Madison movie theaters and Chinese food for dinner (that's why I have to continue working out over break!).  In years past we usually saw one of the Lord of the Ring's movies, and this year was no different with The Hobbit!  The rest of the day was spent with the famed pets in the Friedman household: the puggles (pug-beagle mixes).  They're names are Jem and Scout and they are divas just as their big sister is!

Although Christmas is not a holiday that I personally celebrate, I do love this time of year and I would like to extend my holiday greetings to all of our supporters!  Thanks for being the best fans in the country and enjoy the rest of the holiday season!  

Seasons greetings and On Wisconsin!
 
- Ilana Friedman

Packer's Perspective: Gameday against Bemidji State

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The time is here again, it's game day for the Badgers. This post is unusual in timing as we typically do not have a day off in between, but I just wanted to keep followers up to speed as a great deal happened in the short break. The game Friday was a big win for the ladies, and we were happy with our efforts, happy but not content. After the game we went right back to work, enjoying a long afternoon and then returning to the rink Saturday morning to learn from the night before.

We watched film Saturday, then practiced and reviewed a few systems. We also worked a bit with our lines to get the flow going for the game Sunday afternoon. After practice, the team exchanged gifts for our secret snowman. It was a fun holiday tradition, and the gifts were awesome all around. From store bought goodies, to homemade gag gifts, the team had a few laughs and enjoyed opening gifts from one another with Christmas music playing in the background.

After the gift exchange, a number of us returned home before heading out again for a night packed with activity. Several girls went out to cheer on the volleyball team, who won their match Saturday night and are headed to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2006. Also, Alex Rigsby, Sydney McKibbon, Kelly Jaminski, Jenny Ryan, Katy Josephs, and myself all volunteered at the men's game, raising money and collecting toys for the Toys for Tots drive. Our efforts collected 92 toys and about $3,350, all to be donated to the Toys for Tots foundation to help children around the United States have a better Christmas this winter. The night was fun, but didn't last too long, as we all wanted to be sure we were home and in bed in time to get a good nights rest. I am always amazed with my teammates and all they do outside of the arena to give back to the community, and Saturday night was a great example of the girls giving back to a community that gives so much to us year round.

The team is amped up and looking forward to finishing on a high note what has been a great weekend for Badger athletics. The team returns to the ice Sunday at 2 p.m. to face off against Bemidji for one final time in 2013. We hope to see as many fans out as possible as we look to maintain our second place seed, and head into the new year rested and ready to continue on our journey. 

Until next time, thanks for reading! On Wisconsin!

- Madison

Packer's Perspective: Home Sweet Home

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This week has been business as usual for the Badgers. Practices, lifts, and video sessions have helped us to prepare as we gear up for one final weekend of games against Bemidji State. The team is ready to go and looking forward to finishing off the first half of the season in front of our home crowd.

When asked about the upcoming weekend, how it feels to be home, and what the future holds, junior forward Karley Sylvester was happy to be back.

"It's great to be back home," Sylvester said. "It will be fun to play in front of our home crowd. They bring a lot of energy that we don't get on the road. It will be great to play in our own rink and also sleep in our own beds. After this week the upcoming break will be nice. We have had a great start and it will be important we all come back from break re-energized and excited to finish strong."

Sophomore defenseman Courtney Burke had similar emotions, but was also a little star struck. When asked to comment she first said, "OMG! Paparazzi!" After taking a few moments to gather herself, Court expressed her excitement about playing at home.

"It will be exciting to finally play at home again since we have been on the road for the past three weeks," Burke said. "We get to play the last two games hopefully coming up with some points for our league and head into the break in great shape. It will make finishing up finals and spending the holiday with our families much more enjoyable." 

Being at home is a huge advantage as we get the perks of having our own fans, and also sleeping at home in our own beds. This weekend is different with the day off Saturday in between Friday and Sunday games, but that is to our advantage as we will be able to utilize our home facilities and resources to ensure we are fully recovered and ready to go Sunday for game two.

Three members of the women's team, senior captains Kelly Jaminski, Alex Rigsby, and myself will be heading the Toys for Tots drive at the men's hockey game on Saturday night at 7 p.m. We will be collecting toys and donations to help military families this holiday season. I encourage all those who can to get out and make a contribution to this great cause Saturday night, and help cheer the men on in their Big Ten home opener. 

The puck drops Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. for the Badger women's team, and we look forward to seeing you all out as we finish off 2013 in LaBahn Arena. Until next time, thanks for reading, On Wisconsin!

 

Packer's Perspective: A Sweet Finish for the Seniors

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It has been a while since the last post, and a lot has happened for the Wisconsin women's hockey team. I want to apologize for the long gap in posts. Life on the road has proven to be a bit hectic and scattered, but the next few weeks should be more on track. The trip to Duluth was a long one, with a five hour bus ride each way. The bus ride was relaxing for most of us as we didn't have much homework with the holiday weekend, and I made some cute little turkey cookies for the team to enjoy along the way. 

We left early Thursday morning, arriving in Duluth around 3 p.m., and hit the ice for practice. Practice was the usual round of drills to get the legs moving and finished up with the routine shootout. It was another goalie win on the road, which is always disappointing for the players, but we were happy with their choice for the singer at team meal.

After practice we went back to the hotel and enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving meal as a team. It was different, spending a holiday that is typically shared with our families, away from home with a group of girls in sweats; however, it was a good reminder what a solid group we really are. The group we spend so much time with is more than just a team, and truly becomes much like a family and it was nice to be able to spend the holiday with them. During the Thanksgiving meal the goalies pick of Mikayla Johnson as singer was revealed, and she chose to sing Follow Me by Uncle Kracker, nailing all the notes perfectly.

The game Friday night was a battle from the start. It is always tough to play Duluth on the road, and it took the team some time to get our legs moving and play Wisconsin hockey. We pushed through the obstacles and came together in the end as a team, and were happy to pull away with one point on the road for the night. It is tough to find a positive in a situation when we don't win, but a tie was enough for us to keep in good spirits and learn from the game to put our knowledge to use for Saturday night.

Saturday night's game was a different game altogether, but was a dogfight again nonetheless. The team played hard, and never gave up on the system. We came out with a lot of energy in the third period, and three shifts in, junior forward Karley Sylvester was able to find the back of the net on a beautiful shot glove side high. The team held the lead and played defensively to the end. Senior goaltender Alex Rigsby played great, as did freshman goaltender Ann Renee Desbiens. Ann came in the game cold in the second period, and made a few game changing saves to keep us in it until we got our momentum back. Ann earned the hardhat for the night, which is awarded to the player who embodies our team goals and makes plays that are gritty and sometimes unnoticed by the general public. The team was fired up to pull away with a win, and take 4 out of 6 points on the road. This was the first road win for the team in Duluth since my sophomore year, and it was a great way for the seniors to leave the ice up there one last time.

The team boarded the bus and headed back to Madison in good spirits. We watched Elf on the bus, which is always a team favorite, and also enjoyed some holiday snacks prepared by Mrs. Sylvester (Karley's mom). The trees were little corn flake wreaths, smothered in sprinkles and marshmallow. The team doesn't get to enjoy too many treats that often, so a treat on the way to Duluth and home were definitely highlights of the road trip. The team made it back into Madison around 2 am, and I speak for the entire squad when I say sleeping in my own bed never felt better.

Sunday was spent recovering and relaxing, preparing for school to start up again and taking care of our bodies in order to be ready for one final weekend of games before a much needed break. The team is looking forward to finishing the first half of the season off at home, and ready for the break that follows. 

The games this weekend are on Friday and Sunday at 2 p.m.. We hope to see as many people out as possible to cheer us on one last time in 2013 as we battle for points that will help us maintain our second place spot in the WCHA heading into the second half of the year. Stay tuned for another post this week, as players look forward to the games this weekend and talk about their favorite holiday activities. 

Until next time, thanks for reading, and On Wisconsin! 

- Madison
ON WISCONSIN