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The time has finally come and we have arrived here in Vail, Colorado! We took off at about 6 a.m. this morning from Madison, on a chartered plane, and arrived in Denver about three hours later. The landing was amazing, dropping down in the middle of the Rockies and getting a view of the city early in the morning due to the time change. Once on the ground we loaded up the bus and drove through the mountains to get to Vail, a beautiful drive that was full of excitement and anticipation as we neared the rink.
Senior Captain Alex Rigsby was happy to arrive in Vail, having visited the city numerous times, and is looking forward to a positive team experience.
"There was a lot of excitement once we landed and started heading up the mountains," Rigsby said. "It's a new experience for a lot of girls, so it's awesome we are able to play in such an incredible environment. Practice went well and it is always good when showdown ends in a goalie win (that last point by Rigsby is highly debatable amongst other players)."
Practice was short and to the point. Coach did a great job of keeping it simple, knowing the legs would be a little tired after the long trip.
"After we landed I felt very excited," senior captain Kelly Jaminski said. "The first practice was an adjustment with the altitude but it was great to be on the ice with the girls and after we get a good nights rest I think we will be ready to go tomorrow."
It was cool to see the other teams arrive while we were on the ice, and is a nice little camaraderie as we are staying in close proximity to one another in the rink all weekend, as well as all sharing the same hotel. Moving along with the amazing aspects of this trip...our hotel. We are in an awesome hotel right at the base of the mountains in the Vail village.
After practice we headed over to the hotel, got checked in and instantly hit the city to explore. Most of us found our way to a great little pizza parlor in town and had a bite to eat after the long day of activity. We didn't stay out long as we don't want to wear ourselves out for the games, but it was nice to get out and enjoy the town a bit and take it all in. After seeing the town a bit, most of us headed back to get some homework done or relax and hang out with our families. It is a very cool trip and a lot of families made the trip so we are looking forward to some time with them when we can. When asked about the games, the captains all had similar takes.
"I'm really looking forward to competing against teams we never get to see and spending quality time the girls on the team as well as family members who are here to watch the games," Jaminski said. "We are really blessed to have this opportunity."
"We were able to have some downtime after practice, so it was fun walking around the village and looking in all the shops," Rigsby said. "It's going to be a fun weekend."
"This week I am looking forward to playing some really competitive out of conference games," Turnbull said. "We don't get the chance to play teams from the East Coast that often so it will be a great challenge for our team."
Personally, I'm really looking forward to a snowball fight with some of the locals, when it hopefully snows later this weekend. We're expected to get three to five inches of snow on Saturday.
The first game is tomorrow night, and we look forward to what is sure to be a great experience. The rink is a tiny old school building, but is beautiful in its build and will create a great atmosphere tomorrow night as fans cram in to watch the action. We open up tomorrow night against Northeastern, and hope all those back home can tune in and cheer us on.
Thanks for reading, On Wisconsin!
Another weekend down, and many more to come for the Wisconsin team as we return to this ice for practice in preparation for the upcoming games in Vail. The weekend was a much needed break for the entire group and was a great chance to catch up on 'life as a normal kid'. The entire team had a variety of activities going on, but the highlight from what I heard was a team gathering at a local restaurant in town. I was home for the weekend, watching with my parents and sister as Michigan got their bums kicked by the Nebraska football team.
While I was home however; many of my teammates hung around town. The team (minus a few of us) went to Samba, and enjoyed a nice variety of foods. Samba is a restaurant that is usually a pretty heavy meal and is a favorite among many in our locker room. Along with Samba, a few girls headed to Chicago to relax and have some fun. The weekend was a nice break, a great time to catch up with friends, get some work done, and most importantly get packed, as it meant fewer days between us and the trip to Vail.
As they hype from the weekend calms down a bit, practice will be daily as usual this week Monday-Wednesday, with two lifts sprinkled in, then we pack up early Thursday morning and head to Vail at about 6 a.m. The team is excited. Coach told us that we are a small part in history making as we prepare to play for the first time in the Rocky Mountains. As excited and prepared as we all are for the games, the girls are also looking forward to the experience. The uniforms we have planned and the atmosphere itself is a unique treat for women's hockey. This group has worked hard to hopefully make this trip both memorable and successful. We hope all fans can follow through the various outlets that will be covering our games this weekend, and I encourage you to tune in when you can as this is sure to be a weekend to remember.
The team heads off Thursday morning. Check back in later this week for reactions from players after landing in Vail and taking the ice for the first time in the mountains!
Until next time, thanks for reading and On Wisconsin!
It has been a few days since the last post, so I will try my best to catch fans up on what the Badgers have been up to.
Last weekend was a great way to finish off the first chunk of the season. We were very happy to have a hard earned win both nights, and it was nice to finish the first leg of the season off on a high note.
Following the weekend, we took very little time to have a break and have been hard at work despite the bye week and off weekend. This week is a great opportunity to work on our conditioning and also focus on some skills stuff. We had a hard practice Tuesday, Wednesday was a game day, which is always fun because despite being teammates, the competitive side in all of us shines through and creates a high tempo atmosphere. The rest of the week will continue to be high tempo and skill focused as we skate Thursday and skate Friday as well.
We lift three times in this off week, and have bike workouts on the days where we are not lifting in the weight room. The extra work is taxing on the team, but everyone is in good spirits and working hard, focusing on taking this week to get better.
The upcoming weekend is something we are all looking forward to. It is rare to get time off, and coaches are working us hard this week, but also rewarding us with an entire weekend to recover and relax. Some of the girls are returning home for the weekend, others have family coming to town to visit, and some are simply looking forward to having time to relax and hang out with friends around Madison.
The team is excited about the weekend off, but also excited for the upcoming trip to Vail. It is going to be a great experience, and a unique opportunity to play some hockey in a beautiful setting. The team has some special uniforms that will be worn in the Vail games, and I encourage all fans to tune in later for photos of the uniforms that are a first for Badger Hockey.
The week has been crazy, but as it winds down, we look forward to taking a break and having some time to focus on our studies and also on ourselves. I am looking forward to returning home to Michigan, where I will visit my mom, dad, puppy, and sister who attends the University of Michigan. Despite being a loyal Badger, I am excited to attend a Michigan football game at the Big House (sorry folks!). I am also planning to go to a Detroit Red Wings game with my sister, and can't wait for a little fun with my family after the long stretch of hard games we have just completed.
Next week will have posts gearing up for Vail, filling fans in on our reactions and emotions as we arrive, and also wrap up what the experience was like and how the team fared in the Rocky Mountains. Tune in next week for more on what is to come in Vail, and to follow the Badgers as we prepare for a first time experience and one we are all excited to be a part of. Until next time, thanks for reading! On Wisconsin!
After opening the Four Nations Cup with a dominating 10-0 triumph over Sweden last night, the U.S. Women's National Team faces Team Canada tonight at 6 p.m. (CT) in Lake Placid, N.Y.
In yesterday's contest, Meghan Duggan, who was named team captain on Monday, put the U.S. on the board redirecting a shot from the point into the net in the first period. Hilary Knight also added a goal in the third period that put the U.S. up 8-0. Jessie Vetter split time with Molly Schaus in net for the U.S. and combined for an eight-save shutout.
Tonight's game between the U.S. and Canada is the third tilt between the two rivals in the last month, and is the second chance for the American squad to claim a victory on its home soil.
Video is available through FastHockey.com, for a fee, and live stats are available on the USA Hockey site.
The 2013 Four Nations Cup is underway in Lake Placid, N.Y. as five players with Wisconsin ties will represent the United States during the week-long tournament.
Meghan Duggan, who won three national titles during her time at Wisconsin, was named captain of the U.S. squad yesterday. Duggan will serve as captain for the Four Nations Cup and during the rest of USA Hockey's Bring on the World Tour as the squad prepares for the 2014 Olympic Winter games in Sochi, Russia.
Joining Duggan on the U.S. squad is former Wisconsin netminder Jessie Vetter and forwards Brianna Decker and Hilary Knight. In addition, future UW player Annie Pankowski is on the team of 25 players that are vying for one of 21 spots on the U.S. Olympic Team roster, which will be announced on Jan. 1.
The United States opens the tournament tonight at 6:30 p.m. as the U.S. faces Sweden. Team Canada and Team Finland are also partaking in the tournament.
All contests during the 2013 Four Nations Cup can be watched online at FastHockey.com for a fee. The tournament wraps up on Saturday, Nov. 9.
It was a big weekend for the team as we swept the Lindenwood Lady Lions and continue on to our goal at the end of the season. We had three ladies with their first Badger goals this weekend, and I caught up with them to get their take on what that felt like.
"Scoring my first badger goal was an amazing feeling," freshman forward Mikayla Johnson said. "Hearing that horn go off and celebrating with my teammates was a memory I'll never forget."
The celebration following the goal was pretty unique, and sophomore forward Rachel Jones, who made a beautiful backdoor pass on the play to assist MJ's goal, may have been the most excited person in the building. It was cool to watch our team get excited for one another, and shows the unity and support that makes this group such a strong unit.
Another Badger scoring both Friday and Saturday night to record her first and second goal as a Badger was freshman defenseman Mellissa Channell. Channey and I go way back to our days playing in Detroit with Little Caesars and it was nice to see her get a few points this weekend. Both goals were nice shots from the point, and when asked about her goal, she has a funny story that will make this a memory much like MJ's.
"I remember right before going out that shift I asked Paul (Hickman) if I could use my backup stick, as many people always blame not scoring on the stick, so I just thought a chance would help," Channell said. "That next shift I get a beautiful pass from Bergy (senior defenseman Natalie Berg) and scored. It was an exhilarating experience, and what makes it better is that my mom was there to see it."
A nice goal, and a good team play that helped make this moment special for Channell, and we look forward to more contributions from her this season.
The third Badger with her first goal this weekend was sophomore forward Katy Harding. Her goal came late in the game Saturday night and was the result of a good forecheck all around, but she declined to comment and was unavailable for a face to face interview as she has been hiding in her apartment as a result of being swarmed by paparazzi since the goal.
Following the game, the team got together for a little innocent fun. We had a costume party with the team at senior Stefanie McKeough's house. As many know Stef has been sidelined due to injury for a few years now, but she is a great part of our team chemistry and is a mature leader in the locker room as she has been constantly supporting and guiding the team. The top costumes of the night were the Hanson brother's made up of Mikayla Johnson, Katarina Zgraja, and Stef McKeough and also the classy biker chicks, comprised of Alex Rigsby, Natalie Berg and Kelly Jaminski. Blayre Turnbull also had an awesome homemade cotton candy costume that she constructed out of a pillow and some spray paint. The freshmen were each a different color glow stick, which was a cute idea, but the Hanson brothers and biker ladies showed them up with more creativity in the final polls of best costume.
The get together was a relaxing and fun event to top off a successful weekend, as we had to quickly turn around and refocus to prepare for Ohio State. This is a big weekend for our team as Ohio State is ranked No. 10 in the country and will be a good test for us moving forward. This weekend is the last of games before a weekend off and we hope to finish the home stretch off with a couple wins. The ladies are focused in and preparing for this upcoming weekend and we hope to see you all out to cheer us on in this final leg of our long home stand. Tune in later this week for more updates and thoughts going in to this weekend.
Thanks for reading, On Wisconsin!
It's game day here in Madison and the girls are excited for another weekend to get better. We face off against Lindenwood tonight at 7 p.m. and tomorrow at 2 p.m. The games are an opportunity for us to play some games out of conference and to see some new competition other than the typical WCHA play that we are accustomed to.
"Lindenwood will be a good test for us to see how far we can push ourselves even though they aren't a typical rival," junior forward Katy Josephs said. "The weekend will be fun to keep building chemistry in our lines and as a team."
Fellow forward, and freshman Mikayla Johnson had similar comments about the upcoming series.
"I am excited for our team to get another weekend not only to play at home but to get better and grow as a team," Johnson said. "Every weekend brings something new and I'm looking forward to what this weekend has to bring."
The team as a whole is looking forward to the games this weekend as they will be yet another test of how we have gotten better from last weekend. We use each week as time to learn from previous games and push ourselves to make sure we are always moving forward on the journey to our ultimate goal. The team has done a great job of staying focused this week and we are looking forward to hitting the ice for another series of games at home. We hope to see all of our fans out at LaBahn Arena this weekend.
Thanks for reading, On Wisconsin!
This weekend was a success for the Badger squad, and we had a lot of contributions across the board. Freshman goaltender Ann-Renee Debiens got her first start between the pipes, and also earned herself a shutout in her first collegiate game, so congrats to her on a successful start to what we all believe will be a promising career here at UW.
The weekend was good, and it was nice to get two more wins as a group as we continue on our journey to the finish line this season. This weekend we are gearing up to face Lindenwood, and much like previous weeks, we are back to work. Monday is what Coach Johnson likes to call workday. It is a day that is usually finished with 8-10 minutes of skating, working to keep our conditioning up. It is never too grueling, but enough to get us moving and get the heart rates up a bit.
This weekend was also the first weekend that we were able to use our heart rate monitoring system. This is an awesome perk that we are able to use and we are grateful to our staff for getting it up and running for the season. We all wear heart rate monitors during lifting sessions, practices and games.
The monitors send information to a little hub, that kind of looks like a tiny spaceship, which is located behind our bench. The hub then relays this information to a computer where it is stored and we are able to check our results after the game. This system is nice because it enables us to see how much we worked during a game, and also track how many calories we burned so we are able to properly refuel our bodies and be ready to go the next day. This system is awesome, and is definitely a tool that will continue to help us as we improve throughout the season.
The team is looking forward to another series at home this weekend, but first, we have a week of practice and preparing. We had a video session yesterday, and will have another power play video session today, where we learn from what worked for our team, and also look at breakdowns so we can improve moving forward. This group is always working to improve on areas that will make us better, and our willingness to adapt has been an advantage as we face new situations each weekend.
That's all for now, check back later in the week for a recap of this weeks practices and thoughts from players going into this weekend.
Thanks for reading, On Wisconsin!
It has been a busy week so far for the Badger girls. Many of us took advantage of the day off on Sunday to hang out and enjoy some down time. I went to Chicago to do a little shopping, while a number of my teammates enjoyed the outdoors, which spanned from exercise to a little apple picking.
Two other activities that took place these last few weeks were the visit to the senior home and the much-anticipated visit to the Ronald McDonald House for pumpkin carving. Senior goaltender, Ilana Friedman was pretty excited about her experience when I asked her how the pumpkin carving went.
"I was happy to return to the Ronald McDonald House for my third year of pumpkin carving," Friedman said. "Whether it's carving a motion W, a spider, or a Bucky pumpkin we had a blast and it was great to visit the community that supports us so much!"
Blayre Turnbull and Brittany Ammerman visited the senior home, where they played bingo for a few hours with the ladies who always keep us laughing from visit to visit. Ammerman said it was nothing short of another entertaining visit. She lost five consecutive games to Ginny, an elderly woman at the home, and it is also rumored that some of the older women caught Turnbull hiding cards, but those rumors are yet to be confirmed.
The day off on Sunday was nice and much needed after the rough series against the Gophers. The team was disappointed with the outcome, but the nice thing about this group is that we are eager to learn and get better every day. Along with returning to the ice to prepare for St. Cloud State this coming weekend, we have been studying film to improve on the areas where we fell short last weekend.
This upcoming series is a huge stepping stone for the team and will show our character as we hope to bounce back and earn a few points after last weekend's loss on the road. The team has done a great job of recovering, taking care of their bodies, and doing what is necessary to prepare for the upcoming games after last weekend's six high-tempo periods of hockey. The games this weekend will be a grind, much like the last, and we hope to show improvement as we hit the ice Friday night in search of a win. We hope to see all you fans out at LaBahn arena 7 p.m. Friday night as we take on the St. Cloud Huskies and continue on our journey this season.
Thanks for reading, On Wisconsin!
This past weekend was a learning experience for the Badger squad. It would have been nice to walk away with a few points, but the team battled it out and we did a lot of good things during the series against Minnesota that will continue to help us grow and compete as a unit. Both games against the Golden Gophers were close and came down to the final horn, and we had a number of chances where we just came up a little short.
It is always a long bus ride home after a loss, but the group is using the weekend of losses as an opportunity to learn and to continue to get better. We will put the losses behind us, enjoy a much needed day off today to rest and recover, and then go back to work Monday in preparation for St. Cloud State.
We are looking forward to the upcoming series at home. It will be nice to return home to Madison and play in front of our home crowd. I have a feeling that we will play with an extra spark after the losses to the Gophers.
The mentality of our group is great. Players are positive, recognize what we did well this past weekend, and are eager to hit the ice Monday to improve where we had breakdowns in order to make our team stronger as our journey together continues. We have a great group of girls, a ton of positivity, and I am excited to get back to work with the ladies on Monday.
Thank you to all fans who tuned in, and those who came out to support us. We hit the ice again this upcoming weekend to take on St. Cloud State at LaBahn Arena. We hope to build off this past weekend and make some good strides forward, in search of our final goal. Until next time, thanks for reading!