Packer doing the dirty work for women’s hockey

first_imgThis hit from Minnesota goalkeeper Mira Jalosuo on Wisconsin forward Brittany Ammerman, a close friend of Madison Packer’s, gave the freshman forward a chance to get in the face of her opponent.[/media-credit]Want some more exciting women’s hockey? Keep your eyes on freshman forward Madison Packer.Coming off an injury in the off season, Packer has only played in four games this season, but has already started to prove her worth.Head coach Mark Johnson talked about Packer’s rehabilitation so far and how she is still working to reach to her full potential.“There’s things she’s going through now trying to get back to be 100 percent,” Johnson said. “It was a tough injury that she had last year, and so realistically she shouldn’t be playing, five years ago she probably wouldn’t be, but technology and our training staff and our doctors have provided her with an opportunity. She deserves a lot of credit because she’s had to spend a lot of time rehabbing and that’s not a lot of fun. We brought her along slowly and that was my plan.”After months of rehabilitation Packer finally got to see a fair amount of ice time in Wisconsin’s first road series against Minnesota despite not being fully recovered. Her physical and tough presence on the ice was hard to ignore.Senior defender Geena Prough actually played with Packer for a year before college – both are from Metropolitan Detroit. Prough noted Packer’s size and strength.“She’s a pretty tall girl so she brings some size,” Prough said. “She’s definitely strong on her feet. She will go into those corners and put her body into those corners and when she’s around the net you better watch out because the puck is probably going in the net. She’s just very skilled with her hand work.”Packer didn’t deny her physical style, in fact it was one of the first things she mentioned about herself.“I’m more of a physical player,” Packer said. “I’m a little bigger so I throw my body around. I’m able to get myself in positions where I can battle for the puck and stuff like that.”In the first game against Minnesota she did not hesitate to show she’s a tough force on the ice.In the second period, freshman forward Brittany Ammerman basically got decked by the Gophers’ goalie. As the players started to push and shove back and forth, Packer got right in the thick of things instantly, sticking up for Ammerman.“I saw Brittany Ammerman, she got dropped by their goalie,” Prough said. “I think it was big of [Packer] to go in right away, I was right behind her. You have to have your teammates’ back and her initial reaction was to protect [Ammerman], so I thought that was very big of her.”While Packer had some quality alone time in the penalty box, it was hard to forget what had just happened. But the freshman certainly made a statement to her teammates.“It’s great to have her on your line for someone like me who gets hit a few times per game – like in Minnesota – she’ll stick up for me,” Ammerman said.In games Packer made it clear she isn’t someone to mess with, and one should probably be careful when it comes to her teammates. But through her four games she still has not been able to put the puck in the net.When she has played, Packer has found some more time on the same line as the Ammerman sisters. There are nine goals between Brooke and Brittany alone, so it’s only a matter of time before she has the same success.“In fairness to that I told her maybe 10 days ago don’t look at other people’s statistics,” Johnson said. “[She’s] in a different scenario than other people [she’s] played with. [Her] progress has been good, [she] just has to be patient. She gets around the ice. She’s not afraid to get dirty. All the other stuff will take care of itself. She’s a good player, she just had a set back with this injury. She’s just making her way back to the top of what she’s capable of and what her potential is. ”“I definitely think I have the ability to score goals,” Packer added. “I think that playing at a different level it’s just going to take time to get a feel for the game and get a feel for who I’m playing with. Hopefully after that things will start to flow a little better.”Packer is tough on the ice, but off the ice she’s a positive and funny girl.Ammerman, like Prough, played with Packer before they were both Badgers. Two years ago they were on a U18 team together and were already good friends before committing to Wisconsin.Both freshmen may be adjusting to life in college, but Ammerman knows any more adjustments will not be difficult for Packer, not with her personality.“She’s a good person to be around,” Ammerman said. “She’s funny. She’s a little out there sometimes. Some of the things she says you just laugh at. She keeps it light. She’s not too serious, doesn’t criticize herself too much, she’s easy to talk to. She’s just someone you catch what she says and it’s always funny.”In the locker room she may be funny and light, but on the ice her presence feels the opposite. She’s not afraid to get tough and do some dirty work to help out her teammates. She’s got a unique style that is difficult to match up against.“She has unbelievable hands,” Prough said. “She’s very smart on the ice and she’s a really physical, tough player. I like her style.”last_img read more