Team USA has taken care of business through the first three games of the preliminary round and is looking to continue its winning ways against Sweden tomorrow in a semifinal match-up.
The practice sessions and off-ice training are evident in the on-ice results thus far this week, but what is often not seen at these events is the off-ice camaraderie and team building that is an essential ingredient to a team achieving success.
“The off-ice chemistry and character of a team is paramount to it’s success and we’re fortunate that this group has really come together and is playing hard for one another,” said Joel Johnson, head coach for the U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team. “Everyone is in this together and individual accomplishments are team accomplishments. That will be one of our strengths as we move forward.”
There have been more formal opportunities for team bonding like life-size tic-tac-toe, team dinners and trips to the mall, but the it’s not uncommon for the team to break out into song on the bus to practice or enter into an impromptu snowball fight. Competing hard, showing good sportsmanship and doing things the right way are important but having fun is a key ingredient to the overall experience.
Defenseman Gracie Ostertag added, “Whether it’s sharing an encouraging word or making sure we are holding each other accountable to sharing a few laughs, this group of players has a special bond that helps the group be the best it can be.”
|DATE||OPPONENT||RESULT||U.S. PLAYER OF THE GAME|
|Fri., Jan. 8||Czech Republic||W, 6-0||Grace Zumwinkle|
|Sat., Jan. 9||Russia||W, 6-0||Alex Woken|
|Mon., Jan. 11||Canada||W, 4-1||Rebecca Gilmore|
|Thurs., Jan. 14||Sweden (Semifinal)||W, 4-0||Natalie Heising|
|Fri., Jan. 15||Canada (Gold Medal Game)||W, 3-2 OT||Natalie Snodgrass|