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first_imgBlayre Turnbull (pictured), along with fellow freshman forward Karley Sylvester, has given a veteran Wisconsin squad a welcome sense of youth this season.[/media-credit]In a young season already filled with success, new names grace the scoreboard for the Wisconsin women’s hockey team.Freshman forwards Blayre Turnbull and Karley Sylvester are becoming new threats for the Badgers, a welcome addition to a mostly veteran team. Scoring key goals for the UW in game one of the series sweep of Ohio State this past Friday, the freshmen duo led the team to a 3-1 victory over the Buckeyes.Turnbull’s goal came eight minutes into the first period while UW was on a penalty kill. After pressuring the Buckeye forwards during the kill, Turnbull was able to force a turnover that she converted into the first goal of the game for the Badgers. The shorthanded goal was Turnbull’s fourth goal of the season, and with five assists, she leads the freshman class with an impressive nine points thus far, sixth among the team.“We were on the penalty kill, and they had their puck at the blue line and she went to make a pass, so I pressured her,” Turnbull said. “I got the puck and then got around the goalie.”Sylvester was also able to sneak one by Ohio State goalie Lisa Steffes. At 15:37 in the third period, Sylvester tapped in the puck off a shot by junior forward Brianna Decker that bounced off Steffes. Sylvester’ goal was her second of the season, giving her a total of four points.The two goals helped lead the Badgers to a victory, but it is their continued improvement that has teammates and coach Mark Johnson talking. Ohio State came out strong, putting pressure on the Badgers right away, but both Turnbull and Sylvester showed little hesitation.The added depth the duo is creating for Wisconsin only elevates UW as a threat for teams like Ohio State that have star players but do not have that consistency coming off the bench.“If we have more people scoring, we are hard to play,” senior forward and assistant captain Brooke Ammerman said. “We don’t care who scores as long as we win the game.”UW’s tough October schedule forced Turnbull and Sylvester to adjust to the intensity of college hockey quickly. Playing against teams like North Dakota and Minnesota early on allowed the freshmen to learn the ropes fast, which has translated into comfort and ease on the ice.Johnson is impressed with the performance of his new players and noted the improvements they have made so far. He sees their confidence boosting both on and off the ice as good signs for the future.“Their contribution on the score sheet was good, but more importantly, they are gaining confidence and are more comfortable in their roles,” Johnson said. “They are making improvements in a lot of different areas, and that is what you want to see at this point, … and they are going to continue to get better, too.”Turnbull and Sylvester were not blind to the changes they had to make in order to be successful in the WCHA. Having tough opponents showed the players what they needed to improve on early. Speed of players and the game itself were dramatic change for both freshmen.However, the interaction with their teammates on and off the ice has made the biggest difference in overcoming the disparity. Practicing with some of the nation’s best players, including senior forward Hillary Knight, Decker and Ammerman, is giving Turnbull and Sylvester a consistently fast pace and attention to details they need in order to be successful.The switching up of line combinations this past weekend gave Turnbull and Sylvester the opportunity to play alongside their top teammates. Each took advantage of that opportunity, showing they can play just as hard and are able to put points next to their name to show their effort.“If you had the chance to play with an elite player, … you would take it and compete with them,” Johnson said. “When they get an opportunity to play with them, that’s when they learn. … So it’s nice [Turnbull and Sylvester] are getting rewarded for their efforts.”Scoring goals does put a smile on the faces of the freshmen duo, but the real confidence comes from knowing they are improving. The drive to improve keeps the players determined as they are looking to be able to continue making big contributions and step up come the postseason.“I have become a lot stronger on the ice and faster, too; being able to practice with my teammates, everyone is so good that I have become better,” Turnbull said. “I just want to keep getting better and continue to be successful so I can really contribute to the team.”last_img read more

first_imgThe two Paris-based sides have long shared a fierce rivalry, stretching back to 1892 when they met in the first ever final of the Top 14.However in a shock statement the clubs have said that pooling their resources will benefit both the teams and French rugby.Racing are the reigning Top 14 champions while Stade Francais won the trophy in 2015 after an 8 year wait.last_img