University of Maine junior women’s ice hockey left wing and leading scorer Brittany Dougherty didn’t make the United States National Team for the World Championships in Burlington, Vt., but she said her time spent trying out for the team March 25-April 3 in Lake Placid, N.Y., was well worth it.
“It was fun. I learned a lot,” said Dougherty, who received an invitation after impressing the coaches at a Team USA camp held Dec. 26-31 in Blaine, Minn.
She was the only player at the Lake Placid camp who hadn’t played for Team USA in an international competition. The list of players included 17 former Olympians and 19 players who had won gold medals for Team USA at previous World Championships.
“I think there were four of us vying for one spot. There were a lot of veterans there,” said Dougherty.
She said the first two days were eye-opening as the speed and skill was even more pronounced than it was during the winter camp.
“The first few days, I said to myself ‘Oh my God, [what’s going on].’ It takes a day or two to adjust. After that, I adjusted to the speed and stuff,” she said.
“I think I did well. I played as well as I could,” said Dougherty. “At times, I made a stupid play or a mistake but everyone in camp did. You just move past it.”
Dougherty said it is important for her to work on her speed and quickness and she stated that she hasn’t lost hope of making the U.S. Olympic team for the 2014 Winter Games in Russia.
“I know what I need to improve on,” she said.
In fact, playing her senior year at Maine will provide her with a nice lead-in for the Olympic trials.
“It’ll be a lot easier going straight from graduation and then training for the Olympics rather than graduating this year and trying to find ice and a place to train for over a year,” said Dougherty.
She said it was implied that all of the players who tried out will be invited to a Team USA camp in August and she intends to train in her native Michigan over the summer with Maine teammate Brittany Ott and Maine men’s team center Stu Higgins.
Several other friends who play for other college women’s team also will be around, she said.
“Next year’s going to be a huge year for me,” said a motivated Dougherty. “We’ll be a faster team [at Maine] and we know what to expect. We’re going to keep pushing.”
Team USA won its first two pool play games at the World Championships, 9-2 over Canada and 9-0 over Russia, and play Finland on Tuesday night.
Wing-eating benefit April 19
Dougherty and her Black Bear teammates will host an All You Can Eat Wings Night fundraiser 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 19, at the Acme Pizza and Wing Co., 296 Main St. in Old Town.
The cost is $10 and there will be a raffle, a wing-eating contest and door prizes.
All proceeds will benefit the University of Maine women’s ice hockey program.
“It’s always a fun event. A lot of friends and players from our other sports teams come out and support us,” said Dougherty.
Another honor for Abbott
University of Maine senior left wing Spencer Abbott, a Hobey Baker Hat Trick (final three) finalist and first team CCM First Team Eastern All-American, has added another award to his impressive list.
Abbott has been chosen to the US College Hockey Online first team.
He was the only Black Bear chosen to the first, second or third team.
He was joined on the first team by Biddeford’s Brian Dumoulin, the junior defenseman from Boston College; Minnesota-Duluth center Jack Connolly, the Hobey Baker Award winner; senior right wing Austin Smith of Colgate, the other Hobey Baker Award Hat Trick finalist; Union College sophomore goalie Troy Grosenick; and junior defenseman Justin Schultz from Wisconsin.
Abbott, who signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs and is playing for their American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, led the nation in scoring with 62 points (21 goals, 41 assists) and also led in points per game (1.59), assists and assists per game (1.05).
He was named the Hockey East Player of the Year and was the lone unanimous selection to the All-HE first team.