Experienced freshman ready to help Badgers women's hockey - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Experienced freshman ready to help Badgers women's hockey

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Annie Pankowski has waited a long time to wear the red and white of the Badgers.

"Yeah, it's a running joke in my family that I've been waiting two years for this."

Pankowski committed to the Badgers two years but got sidetracked on her way to Madison. The 19-year-old was selected for the U.S. Olympic team. She made it through two rounds of roster trimming only to be one of the final cuts prior to the Sochi Games. The California native didn't get a medal, but she did get invaluable experience.

"Being able to take that all in and bring it here, like every day being where you need to be and how hard you need to come. It's easy to apply what I learned there to here."

The freshman forward is playing beyond her years. She averaged two points per game in the opening weekend. That is tied for the second best average in the nation. Veterans, such as Blayre Turnbull, have been impressed with how quickly Pankowski has adjusted to the college game.

"She brings experience, which is obviously a little weird considering she's a freshman. But her opportunity last year to train with the Olympic team for most of the season, it really developed her as a player."

After a year in hockey limbo, Pankowski is finally ready to kick off her college career.

"I'm so excited. I'm so excited to play and to be part of a team that is just all about winning. It's all about fun. It's a great experience. I am really excited to really be a contributing factor to this team."

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