Stellarton native vying for NCAA title with Wisconsin Badgers
STELLARTON – Blayre Turnbull can’t wait for another shot at an NCAA championship, as she prepares for her second Frozen Four this weekend in Hamden, Conn.
© David Stluka
Stellarton’s Blayre Turnbull is shown during Wisconsin’s NCAA quarterfinal game against Harvard on Saturday, March 15. Turnbull had a goal and an assist to help the Badgers beat Harvard 2-1 to advance to this weekend’s Frozen Four in Hamden, Conn.
Winning the women’s hockey championship was the goal from opening day for Turnbull and the University of Wisconsin Badgers, but that doesn’t take away from the excitement now that it’s finally here.
“Everyone was very excited when we beat Harvard (2-1) to advance to this weekend,” she said. “It’s what we’ve worked for all year. Making the Frozen Four is a great accomplishment for our team, but now we’re going there to win and are looking forward to having another shot at Minnesota (defeated Wisconsin in national final in 2012).”
Friday night the Badgers will get that chance as they take on Minnesota at 4 p.m. CT. Turnbull said that there will be some nerves from everyone, including herself, but said those come with playing a big game.
“The main thing for us is just to look at it as another opportunity to win a hockey game,” said the junior forward. “We didn’t go last year, so there’s the freshman and sophomores that have never played in the Frozen Four, but like I said we just need to think of it as another opportunity to win another game and that it’s nothing to be too nervous about.
“I’ve been before and played in important games before, but I’ll still be slightly nervous. You just can’t think too far ahead or get caught up in everything around you.”
This season she has been a force to be reckoned with offensively for the Badgers posting 17 goals and 38 points in 35 games so far this season. In her third year with the team she wanted to lead both on and off the ice. Turnbull feels that she has done a good job of leading by example, something she said she strives to do every shift and every game.
“It’s important to me to lead by example, so every time I step on the ice I try to leave an impression and show the younger players that I’m putting as much into the game as I can,” she said.
Her coach, Mark Johnson, tends to agree that she has played a significant role in the team’s success this season.
“She's had a breakout season,” said Johnson during a press conference Monday. “She's worked hard. She came in, played her freshman year and put in a lot of time and energy into where she played at Shattuck up to the Division I level. This year she's reaping those benefits of doing it for a number of years.”
With her graduation slated for 2015 she’s unsure what that will mean for her hockey career. She would love to continue playing, but she isn’t sure where. Turnbull said she’s happy with where her game is right now and there is still time to figure out her future after Wisconsin, but right now the focus is on Friday’s game.
“Personally I’m where I wanted to be,” she said. “I thought I produced well all year and played hard. Hopefully going into this weekend I can continue to do that. Everyone on our team has been giving it there all, so now that we have a chance to play in the Frozen Four that is our focus and nothing past that. We just want to leave everything on the ice.”
With files from Wisconsin Athletics.