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Four Nations Update: USA wins gold behind Vetter shutout

After losing 3-1 to Canada in the prelims, Team USA used a shutout to claim the gold medal at the 2012 Four Nations Cup in Finland.

Former Wisconsin netminder Jessie Vetter made 26 saves as Canada outshot the U.S. 26-22.

Hilary Knight scored Team USA's second goal while on the power play halfway through the second period. Current Badger Brianna Decker finished the game with one shot on goal.

Bobbi-Jo Slusar recorded one shot on goal for Team Canada.

In all, seven Badgers returned from Finland with medals. Slusar and Meaghan Mikkelson earned silver with Team Canada, and Knight, Decker, Vetter, Meghan Duggan and Alex Rigsby earned gold with Team USA.

(Pekka Rautiainen photo)

Canada vs Sweden Stats  |  USA vs Finland Stats  |  Live Stats for Saturday's Gold Medal Game

It was a big day for the U.S. and Canadian offenses on Friday at the 2012 Four Nations Cup, as the two teams scored a combined 24 goals.

Former Badger Hilary Knight and current senior Brianna Decker both recorded four goals in Team USA's 15-1 win over Finland. Knight scored one goal on the power play, while Decker scored twice with the man advantage and once while shorthanded. Decker ended up being named Player of the Game for the U.S.

Jessie Vetter earned the start for Friday's contest, as all three U.S. goalies played one game each in the prelims. Vetter made nine saves, with the lone against goal coming off a Finnish power play.

Team Canada skated to a 9-0 victory over Sweden to end round-robin play. Defensemen Meaghan Mikkelson and Bobbi-Jo Slusar both finished the game with a +1 plus/minus rating, and Slusar recorded one shot on goal.

The U.S. and Canada will face off against each other for the gold medal on Saturday at 9 a.m. This will mark the 15th time the two sides have played each other for the gold medal at the Four Nations Cup.


Four Nations Update: Canada defeats USA, 3-1

(Suomen Jaakiekkoliitto photo)

The U.S. and Canada faced off against each other on Wednesday in the second day of the 2012 Four Nations Cup in Finland.

The game was part of the preliminary round, in which all four teams face each other and the two with the best records play for the gold medal on Saturday.

Five-of-the -seven Badgers skated in the game, as U.S. goaltenders Jessie Vetter and Alex Rigsby did not play.

However, it was a former Badger that got onto the score sheet first. Hilary Knight tallied the first goal of the game in the second period. Knight netted her first goal of the tournament after crashing the net and putting in a rebound from Kendall Coyne.

Though, that would be the last American goal of the day as Canada scored three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 victory.

For Team USA, both Brianna Decker and Meghan Duggan tallied one shot on goal. For Team Canada, Mikkelson recorded two shots on goal, while Bobbi-Jo Slusar finished with a +1 plus/minus rating.

All four teams will have Thursday off from competition before resuming on Friday. Canada takes on Sweden at 8 a.m. (CT) and the U.S. plays against Finland at 11 a.m. (CT). If the U.S. and Canada both win on Friday, they will meet for the gold medal on Friday at 9 a.m. (CT).

Four Nations Update: Rigsby records shutout for Team USA



It was a big day for Alex Rigsby in the first day of competition at the 2012 Four Nations Cup in Finland.

The junior goaltender made her debut in net for the U.S. Senior Women's National Team, starting against Sweden.

Rigsby made her first game count, recording her first shutout with the team. It also marks the fourth shutout in a row for Rigsby, who entered the tournament with three-consecutive shutouts with the Badgers.

Team USA skated to a 4-0 win over Sweden, outshooting the Swedes 47-9. Senior Brianna Decker netted the fourth goal of the game, marking the first Badger to score a goal at the 2012 Four Nations Cup.

Meghan Duggan recorded two shots in the game and Hilary Knight recorded five.

In the second game of the day, Canada beat Finland by a score of 6-0, outshooting the Fins 38-17.

Meaghan Mikkelson and Bobbi-Jo Slusar both skated for Team Canada, with Mikkelson recording two shots on goal.

The U.S. and Canada will face off against each other tomorrow in the preliminary round at 8 a.m. (CT). The tournament will take a day off before resuming with the final round of prelims on Friday followed by medal games on Saturday.


Two Badgers head off to Finland with Team USA



Team USA Four Nations Home  |  Team Canada Four Nations Home

MADISON, Wis. --
In the middle of the semester, and after sweeping Minnesota State this past weekend, Wisconsin women's hockey team members Brianna Decker and Alex Rigsby packed their bags for Finland.

No, it's not a European getaway for some rest and relaxation.

The two standouts on the women's hockey team took off to play with the U.S. Senior Women's National Team for the 2012 Four Nations Cup, an annual round-robin tournament that features the U.S., Canada, Finland and Sweden.

"It's really cool to be able to think that I'll be leaving for Finland," Rigsby commented after shutting out Minnesota State last Saturday night. "It was kind of stressful leading up to the weekend, having to make up exams and quizzes. I had to be on top of that, because I didn't want to come back and be completely behind."

"I think you just need to have a good balance with school and your sport, and that's what can be one of the most difficult parts," Decker added.

Another challenge the players face is playing for two different teams.

In less than 48 hours after skating at LaBahn Arena, Decker and Rigsby were on the ice with Team USA half a world away. Not only is the level of play different, but the team implements different systems and strategies than those they've been accustomed to all season at Wisconsin.

As a goalie, Rigsby has pointed out one specific difference between the two teams.

"I think the biggest thing with (Team USA) is playing the puck; their system is a little bit different than what we have here (at UW) and I've been trying to work on that this year."

The experience in Finland also stands to be vastly different for the two.
    
The 2012 Four Nations Cup will be the fourth time Decker has suited up in the tournament. For Rigsby, the tournament will be the first time she has skated with the U.S. Senior Women's National Team.

Many wouldn't have doubted Rigsby's skills in years past, but with fewer spots available for goaltenders on any hockey team, she has had to patiently wait for her opportunity to play with the senior team.

Now that chance has come.

"It's pretty exciting to finally get my foot in the door and finally be a part of the national team," Rigsby said.

Growing up playing with Rigsby in youth hockey in the greater-Milwaukee area, Decker has seen the hard work Rigsby has put in to get this opportunity.

"I'm excited to play with her on the national team," Decker remarked. "I think it's well deserved. She's been working her butt off to get to where she's at and she's earned her chance to play with the senior team."

The two both played with the U.S. U-23 team this summer in a three-game series against Canada, where Decker captained the U.S. to a sweep over its northern neighbor. Also the captain of the Badgers this season, Decker will be coming back to the national team with a different perspective.

"I'll take the leadership I've learned both from here at UW and with the U-23 team," Decker said. "There are other leaders and veterans that can step up and they'll lead differently. I can still learn from them and pick up on things, but at the same time I'm going to continue to play hard and play my role."

Rigsby enters the tournament presumably as Team USA's third-string goalie. A status not to be taken lightly as All-American goaltenders Jessie Vetter and Molly Schaus will also be competing for time in net.

"I'm not going to get too worked up if I don't get the start against Canada," Rigsby jested, as she understands and embraces her position with the team.

"I'm taking this as a learning experience and I'm excited to just be a part of the team and being able to put on the jersey for the first time at the senior national team level. I've done it in the past, but never with them, and it's always a great feeling knowing you're representing your country."

Even though it's the fourth tournament for Decker, that excitement of representing her country has never gotten old.

"Getting together with the girls and being able to hang out with them is great. They're the most talented girls in the country and being able to play with them is an honor," Decker commented.

But there is one thing Decker is looking forward more than anything else in Finland.

"Hopefully playing in the championship game and winning a gold medal."

In addition to Decker and Rigsby, five former Badgers will participate in the Four Nation's Cup. Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight and Vetter, will skate for the U.S. squad, while Meaghan Mikkelson and Bobbi-Jo Slusar will skate with Team Canada.

Team USA starts the 2012 Four Nations Cup on Tuesday with a game against Sweden at 8 a.m. (CT). Canada starts on Tuesday as well, playing against Finland at 11 a.m. (CT).


Badgers receive gift from U.S. service members



The Wisconsin women's hockey teams received a special gift this summer from the men and women serving in our armed forces.

American flags flown with the 1-171st Medevac Helicopter Company currently serving in Operation Enduring Freedom XII in Afghanistan were given to the team in appreciation for the Badgers' support of the service members in the U.S. military.

Earlier in the spring, Wisconsin women's hockey jerseys were delivered to F-Company of the 1-171st General Support Aviation Battalion while on deployment in Afghanistan.

One of the flags sent to the team was flown on June, 6, 2012, which marked the 68th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion of World War II.

In appreciation to the men and women serving in all the branches of the armed forces for their continued service and sacrifice for our nation, the flag will be displayed in the new women's hockey offices at LaBahn Arena.

Greatest Games Bracket: No. 1 vs No. 4 (Final)

The storied history of Wisconsin women's hockey is filled with memorable games, but which one is the best of all time? This summer, we're going to determine the greatest Wisconsin women's hockey game and we're putting it to a vote. A total of 16 games will be paired off bracket-style and a new matchup will appear every-other day for fan voting on the UW Women's Hockey Facebook page.

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The final game of the greatest game bracket is here. You have voted and the two games that have battled their way to the final are the No. 1 seeded 2006 NCAA title game and the No. 4 seeded 2011 NCAA title game. One game represents the program's first national championship, while the other is the most recent. In 2006 the Badgers dethroned the defending champs and arch-rival Minnesota to be the first team outside the state of Minnesota to win a national title. In 2011 the Badgers defeated Boston University, winning four national titles in just a span of six years. Which game deserves to be crowned the greatest game in women's hockey history at Wisconsin?

Below are the recaps and box scores from the two games. To cast your vote, head over to the women's hockey Facebook page and select your choice in the corresponding fan poll. The votes will be tallied and a winner declared on Monday, Aug. 13.

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No. 1 - 2006 National Championship (March 26, 2006)

National Champions!


Box Score

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Wisconsin women's hockey program won its first NCAA championship with a 3-0 victory over two-time defending champion Minnesota in the title game at Mariucci Arena.

When time had run out, the Badgers poured onto the ice and celebrated together with the championship trophy. There were hugs and "high-fives" all around at the bench area and on the ice as the UW Band played away and a strong contingent of Badger fans voiced their approval.

The Badgers got a pair of goals from sophomore Jinelle Zaugg, another from senior Grace Hutchins and a stellar performance from 2006 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player and freshman netminder Jessie Vetter to knock off the rival-Golden Gophers for a fifth time this season. Each team fired 10 shots on goal in the first period before the Golden Gophers outshot the Badgers 21-9 the rest of the way, including a 14-4 edge in the third period. Vetter, however, was equal to the task.


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No. 4 - 2011 NCAA Championship (March 20, 2011)

National champion Badgers bring home fourth crown!


Box Score

ERIE, Pa. -- The No. 1 Wisconsin women's hockey team won its fourth national championship in six years on Sunday as the Badgers defeated Boston University, 4-1, at Tullio Arena in front of 3,956 fans.

Despite UW outshooting BU 10-4 in the first period, the teams remained locked in a scoreless tie after the opening 20 minutes. The Badgers finally put one past BU goaltender Kerrin Sperry at the 2:25 mark of the second period when Carolyne Prévost redirected a shot from the point to give Wisconsin a 1-0 lead.

Wisconsin then took a 2-0 lead with 4:26 remaining in the middle frame when junior Brooke Ammerman converted the eventual game-winner on the power play. With just 3:23 remaining, the Badgers extended their lead back to two. Junior Hilary Knight gained control of the puck and took it into the zone, firing a shot at Sperry. The rebound popped loose, and a streaking Mallory Deluce buried it.

The Terriers pulled Sperry immediately following Deluce's goal and again with 2:33 to go. BU fired five shots, including two stopped by Alex Rigsby, before Prévost secured the victory and national championship with an empty-net goal at 19:42.

Greatest Games Bracket: No. 1 vs No. 6 (Semifinals)

The storied history of Wisconsin women's hockey is filled with memorable games, but which one is the best of all time? This summer, we're going to determine the greatest Wisconsin women's hockey game and we're putting it to a vote. A total of 16 games will be paired off bracket-style and a new matchup will appear every-other day for fan voting on the UW Women's Hockey Facebook page.

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The 2011 NCAA title game secured its spot in the finals with an easy victory over the 2011 Fill The Bowl game in the first matchup of the semifinals. Now the 2006 NCAA title game and the 2011 WCHA Championship game go head-to-head for the remaining spot in Wednesday's final. Today's matchup features a common opponent, but both games are quite different. As the program's first national championship. the No. 1 seed might be one of the most historic games for UW women's hockey. While not as historic, the No. 6 seed was certainly a very entertaining game as the Badgers battled back from two deficits to claim an OT victory.

Below are the recaps and box scores from the two games. To cast your vote, head over to the women's hockey Facebook page and select your choice in the corresponding fan poll. The votes will be tallied and a winner declared on Wednesday, Aug. 6, before voting for the final matchup goes live.

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No. 1 - 2006 National Championship (March 26, 2006)

National Champions!


Box Score

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Wisconsin women's hockey program won its first NCAA championship with a 3-0 victory over two-time defending champion Minnesota in the title game at Mariucci Arena.

When time had run out, the Badgers poured onto the ice and celebrated together with the championship trophy. There were hugs and "high-fives" all around at the bench area and on the ice as the UW Band played away and a strong contingent of Badger fans voiced their approval.

The Badgers got a pair of goals from sophomore Jinelle Zaugg, another from senior Grace Hutchins and a stellar performance from 2006 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player and freshman netminder Jessie Vetter to knock off the rival-Golden Gophers for a fifth time this season. Each team fired 10 shots on goal in the first period before the Golden Gophers outshot the Badgers 21-9 the rest of the way, including a 14-4 edge in the third period. Vetter, however, was equal to the task.


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No. 6 - 2011 WCHA Championship game OT win vs Minnesota (March 5, 2011)

Nash's OT tally gives Badgers WCHA Final Face-off crown


Box Score

MINNEAPOLIS - Senior Kelly Nash scored the game-winning goal in overtime after the top-ranked Badgers overcame 3-0 and 4-2 deficits to defeat No. 3 Minnesota, 5-4, and earn their fourth Western Collegiate Hockey Association tournament title.

Wisconsin trailed 4-2 heading into the third period and used goals by freshman Madison Packer and senior Meghan Duggan to tie it at 4-4 with 3:15 to play.

It took 14:11 of overtime action before the Badgers sealed the 2011 WCHA Final Face-off crown, but Nash solved Minnesota goaltender Noora Raty off a feed from senior Geena Prough to give UW its only lead of the game.

Greatest Games Bracket: No. 4 vs No. 15 (Semifinals)

The storied history of Wisconsin women's hockey is filled with memorable games, but which one is the best of all time? This summer, we're going to determine the greatest Wisconsin women's hockey game and we're putting it to a vote. A total of 16 games will be paired off bracket-style and a new matchup will appear every-other day for fan voting on the UW Women's Hockey Facebook page.

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Three games from the same season have advanced into the semifinals of the Greatest Games Bracket. This first matchup of the semifinals pits the 2011 NCAA Championship game against the 2011 Fill The Bowl game. In the quarterfinals, the 2011 Fill The Bowl game upset the four-overtime win against Harvard, while the 2011 NCAA title game easily moved passed the program's first NCAA tournament win. Both of these games feature big moments in Badger women's hockey history; one set the attendance record at the time against arch-rival Minnesota, and the other gave the Badgers their fourth national crown.

Below are the recaps and box scores from the two games. To cast your vote, head over to the women's hockey Facebook page and select your choice in the corresponding fan poll. The votes will be tallied and a winner declared on Monday, Aug. 6, before the other semifinal matchup is made live.

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No. 4 - 2011 NCAA Championship (March 20, 2011)

National champion Badgers bring home fourth crown!


Box Score

ERIE, Pa. -- The No. 1 Wisconsin women's hockey team won its fourth national championship in six years on Sunday as the Badgers defeated Boston University, 4-1, at Tullio Arena in front of 3,956 fans.

Despite UW outshooting BU 10-4 in the first period, the teams remained locked in a scoreless tie after the opening 20 minutes. The Badgers finally put one past BU goaltender Kerrin Sperry at the 2:25 mark of the second period when Carolyne Prévost redirected a shot from the point to give Wisconsin a 1-0 lead.

Wisconsin then took a 2-0 lead with 4:26 remaining in the middle frame when junior Brooke Ammerman converted the eventual game-winner on the power play. With just 3:23 remaining, the Badgers extended their lead back to two. Junior Hilary Knight gained control of the puck and took it into the zone, firing a shot at Sperry. The rebound popped loose, and a streaking Mallory Deluce buried it.

The Terriers pulled Sperry immediately following Deluce's goal and again with 2:33 to go. BU fired five shots, including two stopped by Alex Rigsby, before Prévost secured the victory and national championship with an empty-net goal at 19:42.


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No. 15 - 2011 Fill The Bowl vs Minnesota (Jan. 29, 2011)

Badgers drop Gophers, 3-1, before 10,668 fans


Box Score

MADISON, Wis. -- No. 1 Wisconsin set a new NCAA women's hockey attendance record when 10,668 fans watched the Badgers earn a 3-1 win over No. 4 Minnesota in the Fill the Bowl game Saturday night at the Kohl Center.

Saturday night's game saw sophomore Brianna Decker score her ninth game-winning goal of the season to lead Wisconsin past the Gophers and extend UW's unbeaten streak to 14 games. Decker's tally also broke the UW program record for most game-winning goals in a single season.

The Badgers used the momentum they gained from the record-breaking crowd to jump out to an early lead against Minnesota. Junior Hilary Knight put Wisconsin on the board just 47seconds into the game, beating Minnesota goaltender Noora Raty stick-side for the goal. Wisconsin took a 2-0 lead later in the period on Decker's eventual game-winner, her second short-handed goal of the year.

Minnesota scored its lone goal of the night at the 4:42 mark of the second period, also on the penalty kill. UW would regained the two-goal lead with 8:07 left to play in the second frame as junior Carolyne Prevost scored on Wisconsin's fourth power-play opportunity of the game.

Greatest Games Bracket: No. 1 vs No. 8 (Quarterfinals)

The storied history of Wisconsin women's hockey is filled with memorable games, but which one is the best of all time? This summer, we're going to determine the greatest Wisconsin women's hockey game and we're putting it to a vote. A total of 16 games will be paired off bracket-style and a new matchup will appear every-other day for fan voting on the UW Women's Hockey Facebook page.

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The final spot in the semifinals is up for grabs between the No. 1 seeded 2006 National Championship and the program's first NCAA tournament win, which holds the eighth seed. In the first round the 2006 NCAA title game defeated the 2012 Fill The Bowl game vs. Bemidji State, while the first NCAA tournament win against Mercyhurst moved past the program's first win against Minnesota. The winner of this matchup will go on to face the No. 4 seed in the semifinals.

Below are the recaps and box scores from the two games. To cast your vote, head over to the women's hockey Facebook page and select your choice in the corresponding fan poll. The votes will be tallied and a winner declared on Saturday, Aug. 4, before the semifinals begin.

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No. 1 - 2006 National Championship (March 26, 2006)

National Champions!


Box Score

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Wisconsin women's hockey program won its first NCAA championship with a 3-0 victory over two-time defending champion Minnesota in the title game at Mariucci Arena.

When time had run out, the Badgers poured onto the ice and celebrated together with the championship trophy. There were hugs and "high-fives" all around at the bench area and on the ice as the UW Band played away and a strong contingent of Badger fans voiced their approval.

The Badgers got a pair of goals from sophomore Jinelle Zaugg, another from senior Grace Hutchins and a stellar performance from 2006 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player and freshman netminder Jessie Vetter to knock off the rival-Golden Gophers for a fifth time this season. Each team fired 10 shots on goal in the first period before the Golden Gophers outshot the Badgers 21-9 the rest of the way, including a 14-4 edge in the third period. Vetter, however, was equal to the task.


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No. 8 - First NCAA tournament win (March 18, 2006)

Wisconsin Advances to Frozen Four After Double-OT Thriller


Box Score

MADISON, Wis. -- Tia Hanson tipped in the winning goal in double overtime to give the No. 2 Badgers a 2-1 advantage over No. 7 Mercyhurst in the women's ice hockey NCAA regional game. Playing 90:10 it was the longest game on record for UW. The Badgers advanced to the Frozen Four to face St. Lawrence in its first trip to the finals.

The Lakers jumped to a 1-0 lead 9:06 into the game, but Wisconsin responded with a goal less than five minutes later when junior Bobbi-Jo Slusar scored on a power-play slap shot from the blue line.

Wisconsin goalie Jessie Vetter and Mercyhurst goalie Laura Hosier were unfazed entering the second overtime period, both stopping every puck thrown at them. Halfway through the second overtime, Wisconsin finally broke the puck through Mercyhurst's defense. From above the right circle, Badger junior Kristin Witting sliced the puck in the direction of the net. A tip by Hanson snuck the puck around Hosier's right skate to end the night's hockey action.
ON WISCONSIN