Aug. 21, 2012
MADISON, Wis. - August is usually thought of as a big time of the year for the sport of hockey, but it has been a busy month for a select group of Wisconsin women's hockey players, as ten players were called up to skate with their respective national teams.
USA Hockey selected eight Badgers to participate at its women's national team camp in Blaine, Minn., including Alex Rigsby (Delafield, Wis.), Courtney Burke (Albany, N.Y.), Alev Kelter (Eagle River, Alaska) and Brianna Decker (Dousman, Wis.), along with former Badgers Jessie Vetter (Cottage Grove, Wis.), Molly Engstrom (Siren, Wis.), Brooke Ammerman (River Vale, N.J.) and Erika Lawler (Fitchburg, Mass.).
Hockey Canada held a separate camp for its women's under-22 team and invited two Badger defenders, Saige Pacholok (Edmonton, Alberta) and Katarina Zgraja (Waterloo, Ontario). Assistant coach Jackie Friesen was also asked to attend to help coach the camp.
After both camps ended in mid-August, the U.S. and Canadian U-22 teams faced-off in a three-game series (Aug. 16-19) at the WinSport Canada Athletic & Ice Complex in Calgary, Alberta. Of the players eligible for the series, Decker, Kelter and Rigsby, were the only UW players selected to participate in the slate of games.
Decker was named captain of the U.S. squad for the event, her first time donning the `C' for a U.S. national team.
Decker, Kelter and Rigsby helped the U.S. claim its first-ever sweep over Canada in the five-year history of the series. The U.S. outscored Canada 12-7 in the three-game event. Decker recorded one assist in the opening game, before scoring two goals and tallying one assist in the second period of the third game. Kelter assisted on the game-winning goal in game three as team USA rallied from an early deficit to win. Rigsby played all 60 minutes in both the first and third games, making a total of 46 saves on 50 shots in the two games.
With national team training done for the summer, the Badgers now turn their focus on preparing for the upcoming season. The start of the season is just a little more than a month away, as the women's hockey team opens the 2012-13 slate on Sept. 28 with a trip to Minnesota State.