As an elite-level athlete, U.S. Women’s National Team goaltender Alex Rigsby has been trained to control her emotions and make sure she’s prepared for anything that comes her way.
That has been the case for Rigsby, not just throughout her illustrious career, but most recently when she helped lead the U.S. to the 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship title in April.
“I’ve been part of the program since the 2013 World Championship and there have been so many highs and lows,” Rigsby said. “I’ve played every single position within the program and it’s important to stay focused on what you need to do. It’s about just knowing that you’re capable and you’re prepared for the opportunity when it arrives.”
The U.S. captured an historic fifth consecutive world championship last month following a thrilling shootout victory over host Finland, but it was not without drama. During the overtime period, Finland found the back of the net but the goal was called back for interference.
“There was a shot, it popped up, it was about to go into my glove and then all of a sudden, I was thrown out of position,” Rigsby said. “I knew right away that I was interfered with.”
When the shot reached the back of the net, the Finnish bench cleared and the team began to celebrate, but Rigsby was confident that after a review, they would play on.
“I was going up and down our bench telling everyone that we were going to continue to play and to get ready,” Rigsby said.
That confidence eventually resulted in a fifth consecutive gold medal and an eighth championship in the last nine tournaments. Rigsby won five games, establishing a new record for wins by a goaltender in a single tournament.
“It was a pretty surreal moment,” Rigsby said. “We set out on a mission to win the world championship, that was our goal, and for us to do it for the fifth time in a row and the fashion we did it was pretty incredible. It was a pretty wild game.”
It has been a wild ride for Rigsby to this point.
Rigsby was the last goaltender cut in the selection camp prior to the team’s residency period for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. She rebounded in a big way in a relief effort during the gold-medal game of the 2015 IIHF Women’s World Championship. Rigsby stopped 13 of 14 shots faced in the final 28:19, leading the U.S. to its first championship on the current five-tournament run.
“The first shot I faced was tipped in, and after letting in my first shot, I pretty much had the mentality that it couldn’t get any worse from here,” Rigsby said. “I had the mentality that we were going to win the game. I had so much confidence and trust in my teammates and I think that went a long way.”
Rigsby starred again the following year, recording a 32-save shutout to lead the U.S. to a 1-0 overtime victory against Canada on its home soil. Rigsby made seven of her 32 saves in overtime as the U.S. killed two four-on-three power plays in the extra session.
“I think the biggest thing is the coaching staff having confidence in me,” Rigsby said. “They just have that confidence in you that allows you to play your game and you’re not afraid of making any mistakes.”
Rigsby was the third goaltender and did not play during the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, but then started and won two games as the U.S. won the Four Nations Cup, and most recently went 4-1-0-0 while allowing less than a goal per game at the World Championship.
“I think it’s just always believing in yourself,” Rigsby said. “It’s never easy and there’s always going to be obstacles that pop up, but it’s a matter of being confident, focused and dedicated to what it is that you’re doing. At the same time, it’s about being a good teammate because I’ve played every single role on this team. It’s just embracing that role and making sure I’m prepared to do whatever it is that I need to do to be the best I can for my teammates.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
All U.S. games were televised live on NHL Network
Games were held at Metro Areena
|DATE||OPPONENT/ROUND||LOCATION||TIME (LOCAL/ET)||TELEVISION||U.S. Player of the Game|
|Thu., April 4||Finland
|Espoo, Finland||W, 6-2||NHL Network||Kendall Coyne Schofield|
|Sat., April 6||Canada
|Espoo, Finland||W, 3-2||NHL Network||Dani Cameranesi|
|Sun., April 7||Switzerland
|Espoo, Finland||W, 8-0||NHL Network||Megan Keller|
|Tue., April 9||Russia
|Espoo, Finland||W, 10-0||NHL Network||Lee Stecklein|
|Thu., April 11||Japan
|Espoo, Finland||W, 4-0||NHL Network||Maddie Rooney|
|Sat., April 13||Russia
|Espoo, Finland||W, 8-0||NHL Network||Hilary Knight|
|Sun., April 14||Finland
|Espoo, Finland||W, 2-1 (SO)||NHL Network||Annie Pankowski|