Packer stepping up for Wisconsin

first_imgMadison Packer has two goals and four assists so far in the 2013 WCHA playoffs.[/media-credit]Fresh off a two-game sweep of St. Cloud State University in the first round of the WCHA playoffs and currently riding an eight-game winning streak, the Wisconsin women’s hockey team is playing their best hockey of the season.In the midst of Wisconsin’s tremendous performances has come the emergence of junior forward Madison Packer, who has come on strong for the Badgers in the second half of the season, especially during the team’s winning streak. During the Badgers’ current eight-game winning stretch, the Michigan native has scored five goals and notched nine assists.Packer, who has 18 goals and 19 assists on the season, proved her dominance was here to stay last weekend with a strong performance against the Huskies, scoring twice and earning four assists – a stat line that even outshined that of Patty Kazmaier award finalist Brianna Decker who finished with five points against St. Cloud State.“She plays in some key situations,” head coach Mark Johnson said. “Obviously playing a lot of the season with Brianna at the top line and being a part of our first power play, you will look for her to score some goals and create or set up some goals and be part of that and she has done that.”In a career littered with injuries and adversity, Packer has had a long road to the success she is enjoying now. Last season, Packer was lost among a roster jam-packed with talented forwards and hampered by multiple injuries throughout the season. The forward ended her 2011-2012 campaign with four goals and 14 assists – a mark 19 points short of her 2012-2013 numbers.“I’ve stepped it up and come a long way from last season,” Packer said. “You look at my stats from last season and then you look at this year, it’s hard to even compare the two, so I think that I’ve accepted a different role this year and stepped it up a little bit.”The production is a marked contrast from this past November, where Johnson decided to move Packer from the first line to the second after a slow start. Re-evaluating her game, she started to make some tweaks to her game including the way she held her stick.“I think I was gripping my stick a little tight and Decks actually had a conversation with me and just said, ‘It’s going to happen when it happens,’ so I kind of settled down a bit and things opened up,” Packer said.About halfway through the season, Packer fought her way back to the front line with Decker and Karley Sylvester. After being put on the first line for the second time this season, Packer has been able to generate chemistry with Decker and has played with an increased level of confidence that has gone hand-in-hand with her success.“She’s had a lot more confidence in the second half of the season and even a little bit before break,” Decker said. “We’re playing together, we’re doing well and we’re clicking. So, I think she’s getting a lot more opportunities to put the puck in the net.”“It’s fun to play with one another,” Packer said of Decker. “We need to talk more on the ice, but there are times when I don’t even pick my head up and I’ll make a pass and she’ll be there and vice versa.”Beyond Packer’s ability to score and facilitate in the second half of the season is her physicality of play that brings a sense of energy to the team. The junior seems to be in the thick of any choppiness on the ice.“We need that type of player on the team that can sacrifice themselves to stand up for other people or take the body in a lot of situations,” Decker said. “Every team needs one of those players and I’m glad to have her as one of them.”While the team may benefit from Packer’s hard-nosed style, it also has to deal with the consequences that come with it – Packer leads the team in penalties and penalty minutes with 29 and 58 respectively.“Sometimes I’m a little more aggressive, but I send a message,” Packer said. “I think that St. Cloud was a little chippy last weekend and if you look at the game and the way it went after I threw that girl to the ground after the whistle, they weren’t really going to the corners and messing with people. I’m a bigger player, so I’m not afraid to mix it put, maybe I should tone it down and hold my temper a little bit going into the playoffs, but it’s fun.”Penalties or no penalties, Packer has been a tremendous asset to a Wisconsin attack that is gaining steam and will be needed in the Badgers’ next matchup with North Dakota which will in essence act as a play in game for the NCAA tournament.Packer says her recent play has given her confidence, but credits her teammates for her late-season success.“Yeah, I have a lot of confidence, but also I have a lot of confidence in my teammates,” Packer said. “I had I think four assists on the weekend, so that’s someone else putting the puck in the net when I’m giving it to them.”last_img read more

Opoku Agyemang to miss Congo clash after losing passport

first_imgGhana midfielder Opoku Agyemang cannot make it for this weekend’s qualifier against Congo after ”mysteriously” losing his passport.The Al Ahli player was scheduled to leave Qatar on Thursday morning to join his team mates in Nairobi, Kenya but was shocked to learn that he has misplaced his travelling document.Agyemang was barred from travelling early this week and was asked to play in a crucial game for his club on Wednesday’s before leaving but his dream has fizzled into thin air.“I have asked the Police and Immigration officials who prevented me from travelling on Tuesday but there’s still no response,” Agyemang told GHANAsoccernet.com“Initially I thought I left it in my money bag but I have searched everywhere and can’t find it. I have also contacted the taxi drivers; maybe I left it in one of the them on my way back home after I was frustrated at the airport.”He added: “I have spoken to Fred Pappoe (Ghana FA Vice president) and we are looking at other options.” Agyemang was expected to join Goran Stevanovic’s troops on Thursday morning.The team will leave Kenya on Saturday morning for Brazzaville.The 21-year-old has not played for Ghana since February last year after an eight-month spell on the sidelines due to a knee injury.Source: Ghanasoccernetlast_img read more

Arizona Diamondbacks rally twice to beat Dodgers, 10-6

first_imgThe Dodgers took advantage of some early wildness from Diamondbacks starter Allen Webster, drawing walks on eight straight pitches out of the strike zone. Pederson scored on a double-play grounder to give Los Angeles a 1-0 lead in the first.Ethier, a Phoenix native, led off the fourth with a home run that was followed by Grandal’s drive. Pederson went deep with two outs, his home run soaring to near the top of the first level in right field, and Webster didn’t make it out of the inning.Webster lasted 3 2-3 innings and gave up four runs on five hits, walking four and hitting a batter with a pitch. He struck out three.Goldschmidt’s hitting streak reached 10 games.Trainer’s roomDodgers: OF Carl Crawford, on the 60-day disabled list since April 28 with a right oblique strain, will start a rehab assignment at Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Tuesday, manager Don Mattingly said. Crawford will serve as the DH the first two days and perhaps play in the field on Thursday. He will need more game action before the Dodgers make a roster move to add him.Diamondbacks: RHP Archie Bradley will see Dr. James Andrews in Alabama on Wednesday for a second opinion on his right shoulder. Bradley is on the 15-day DL with shoulder pain and made one rehab start on June 24. … LHP Patrick Corbin is expected to join the starting rotation when the Diamondbacks are in Texas next week. Corbin will make a start in the minors this week in his return from 2014 elbow surgery.Up nextDodgers: RHP Carlos Frias (5-5, 4.31 ERA) is the scheduled starter Tuesday night against Arizona. Frias is 3-2 in six road games with 23 strikeouts and 11 walks. Right-handed hitters are batting only .154 against him in road games.Diamondbacks: RHP Rubby De La Rosa, a former Dodger, is 0-2 with a 12.60 ERA against the Dodgers this season, both starts in Los Angeles. De La Rosa (6-3) gets another crack at the Dodgers on Tuesday, this time at home, and has two wins in his last three starts overall. PHOENIX >> Welington Castillo doubled home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, capping a pair of comebacks by the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 10-6 win over the Dodgers on Monday night.Castillo doubled off reliever Pedro Baez (1-1) to drive in Jake Lamb with none out. The Diamondbacks, who trailed 4-0 and 6-4, added three more runs in the inning on a bunt single, a throwing error by Baez, and Paul Goldschmidt’s two-out, two-run single off J.P. Howell.Arizona tied it at 4 on a two-run homer by Yasmany Tomas in the sixth. The Dodgers regained the lead in the seventh on a two-run single by Jimmy Rollins, but Arizona fought back with David Peralta’s two-out, two-run triple in the bottom half.The home run by Tomas was upheld after an umpire-initiated replay review that lasted 3 minutes, 30 seconds. Enrique Burgos (1-2) worked a scoreless eighth for the win.Andre Ethier, Yasmani Grandal and Joc Pederson hit solo home runs for Los Angeles in the fourth. Ethier and Grandal went back-to-back, the third time this season the Dodgers have done so.Pederson connected for his 20th of the season, and the Dodgers have 100 home runs — tops in the National League.The NL West leaders had won seven straight against Arizona.Dodgers starter Mike Bolsinger shut out his former team on three hits over four innings with four strikeouts before he was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the fifth. Bolsinger, the Dodgers announced during the game, left with flu-like symptoms.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more