first_imgView Gallery (2 Photos)Four members of the Wisconsin women’s hockey team shared the ice in the annual Under-22 U.S. Select/Air Canada Cup in late August.Playing for the United States, senior center Erika Lawler and sophomore forward Hilary Knight made their third straight appearances in the event. Junior forward Meghan Duggan made the trip for the second consecutive year. On the opposing bench, freshman defenseman Brittany Haverstock played for the Canadian squad.Adding to the intrigue of the matchup, the Badger veterans had yet to get acquainted with Haverstock.“We didn’t know her yet, but we were like, ‘Oh, that’s the girl going to Wisconsin,’” Duggan said. “So we were obviously looking at her.”Haverstock echoed the uncertainty of facing her future Wisconsin teammates.“It was definitely weird playing against them,” Haverstock said. “When you look at them on the ice you’re like, ‘I’m going to be playing with them next year.’ But it was really fun to get to play against them and see what kind of players they’re like.”Duggan added that the competition was friendly and productive between her U.S. team and Haverstock’s Canadian squad.“It’s always fun to play against teammates,” Duggan said. “I think you get a little extra chip on your shoulder, battle a little bit harder.”Although Haverstock’s Canadian team won the series two games to one, two of the contests went into extra periods, reflecting two evenly matched teams.Haverstock, who previously played for the Canadian Under-18 team, gave praise to the U.S. squad. She faced a level of play she feels prepared her for the NCAA season.“Going against their team, I think almost half of it was the [senior] national U.S. team,” Haverstock said. “It was obviously a big jump, but it was really good to have under my belt before going off to college.”Even though the competition was fierce, Lawler said playing for her country was ultimately its own reward.“Every time you get to play for the national team — whether it’s U-22 or the senior team — it’s always nerve-wracking, and it’s always exciting,” Lawler said. “Because you’re playing for something bigger, you’re playing for your country.”Duggan, too, noted the unique feeling of donning the red, white and blue.“International competition is always an amazing experience,” Duggan said. “Any time you play in a game like that, you’re always nervous because you’re playing with your country’s jersey on.”With the tournament taking place in the offseason, it gave the Badgers competing to get a bit more practice before the beginning of the season.“I love playing in the summer,” Haverstock said. “If I don’t play in the summer, I feel like I’m losing something. If I’m not getting better every day, I’m getting worse.”Duggan credited her strength coaches with making sure the summer sessions were beneficial.“I think taking the offseason off would be a bad idea,” Duggan said. “Obviously every athlete needs their rest, but we’re working with some of the best strength coaches. … I think they take good care of us.”The pressure of the international stage was not overwhelming, as all four had tasted competition at that level before. Duggan, Lawler and Knight all have played for the U.S. senior team at the World Championships for the past two years, bringing home the gold last year. Duggan was credited with an assist in the championship game that year. Senior goalie Jessie Vetter has also been a part of those teams. Haverstock won a silver medal with Canada’s Under-18 team last winter.Next month in Lake Placid, Lawler and Knight will return to the Four Nations Cup for the third year in a row. Duggan will join them for her second appearance, while Vetter will play for the first time.For Lawler, getting a little redemption will be on her mind when the U.S. faces Canada again.“I am definitely excited. Since we had the gold-medal earlier, Canada is going to be out to get us,” Lawler said. “It’s going to be really exciting, really physical and fast — just a fast, awesome game to be a part of. [I’m excited] for all the games in general, not just against Canada, but that’s the main goal right there.”last_img

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