The U.S. roster for the 2016 International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship has a Wisconsin flair as six Badgers, one current and five former, make up more than one-fourth of the 23-player roster that was announced Wednesday by USA Hockey.
UW sophomore Annie Pankowski will join former players Hilary Knight, Meghan Duggan, Brianna Decker, Jessie Vetter and Alex Rigsby in defending the gold medal won by Team USA last year.
Pankowski was a member of the 2015 gold-medal winning IIHF World Championship team and participated in the 2013 and 2014 Four Nations Cups. She has skated in two Under-22 Series vs. Canada (2014, 2015) and two U-18 Series vs. Canada (2010, 2011). Pankowski also won silver with Team USA at the U-18 IIHF World Championships in 2012.
The Laguna Hills, California native leads the Badgers this season with 20 goals and 32 assists for 52 points. She became the first UW player to score 50 points in a season since Decker in 2012-13.
The tournament runs March 28 to April 4 in Kamloops, British Columbia. Team USA will play Canada, Finland and Russia in preliminary action.