Women’s hockey: Pair of Badger forwards travel overseas to compete for Team Canada

first_imgWisconsin women’s hockey players Sarah Nurse and Emily Clark saw an opportunity to play in a global hockey tournament — and took it.Clark and Nurse flew out Oct. 29 to Sundsvall, Sweden to play for Team Canada in the Four Nations Cup: a tournament featuring the best women’s hockey players from the U.S., Canada, Sweden and Finland.While there, they were joined by former Badgers center Blarye Turnbull. They also found themselves facing Team USA during the finals, which was filled with former Badgers, including center Brianna Decker, wingers Hillary Knight and Meghan Duggan and goalies Jessie Vetter and Alex Rigsby.Team Canada started off by defeating Finland 2-0 and Sweden 3-1. After preliminary play, they went on to face Team USA in the final, where they lost 3-2.Playing in a tournament like this is something Clark always dreamed of.“It’s been my dream since I was a little girl to compete on a team like [Team Canada]” Clark said.Nurse and Clark spent two weeks playing with, and against, some of the best women’s hockey players in the world. One of the benefits to competing in the Four Nations Cup for Nurse and Clark was the fresh set of eyes that got to see them play. A set of coaches observed them playing with an unbiased eye.“[Team Canada]’s coaches sees things that our coaches don’t see,” Clark said.One of their biggest supporters for this tournament was none other than Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson, who personally encouraged these girls to compete in this tournament.“[Johnson told us to] take it all in,” Nurse said. “There are girls up there with a lot more experience.”Tournaments like this are also good for young players like Clark and Nurse, who are getting a chance to get their names out there before team selections for the 2018 Winter Olympics begin.But with the opportunity came a cost — missing time with their team. Clark and Nurse missed the Badgers two-match sweep against Minnesota State. They also missed out on the week off the Badgers used to heal bruises and rest muscles.Johnson said during a press conference on Nov. 9 that when Nurse and Clark did make it back into the U.S., they would only get one day of practice with their team before heading out Nov. 12 to compete against Duluth that weekend.But Clark wasn’t worried about her team’s performance during their absence. She was confident the Badgers would continue to keep playing their best.“[The team is] super supportive and they took care of business,” Clark said. “[They] allowed [Nurse and I] to have some fun overseas.”Not only did the Badgers get two wins, but they also managed to completely shut out Minnesota State from scoring, leading to final scores of 6-0 and 7-0 on their respective nights.This isn’t the team’s first exposure to one of their own competing in such a tournament. Last year, sophomore Annie Pankowski competed with Team USA, coming in second to Team Canada in the finals.Pankowski said the chance to play alongside the women of Team USA or Team Canada is the chance to play against women they have come to admire.“All of the girls that are on the team have set records that we’re trying to reach for,” Pankowski said.After all is said and done, Nurse and Clark walked away from the Four Nations Cup with the experience of a lifetime. It is sure to be one they will remember.“It was a super cool experience,” Nurse said.last_img