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Lady Ducks’ college pipeline continues to be alive and kicking

 

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If an Anaheim Lady Ducks player wants to continue her hockey career while getting a top-flight education, chances are great there will be opportunities to do that.

The Lady Ducks’ 20th season has been a lot like the previous 19 in that they’re continuing to move players on to the college ranks, be that NCAA Division I or III or ACHA.

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Already this season, the club, which is a USA Hockey Model Association, has had six players make college commitments, and a handful more are expected soon, said Kathy McGarrigle, the Lady Ducks’ director and head coach. Overall, more than 125 girls have moved on to college since the program’s inception.

neaseA trio of current players have committed to D-I schools: 19U AAA forwards Lokelani Antonio (Lindenwood) and Anna Gallagher (Brown) and 16U AA forward Sarah Hirst (Merrimack). Forward Ivy Boric (19U AAA) and goaltender Lila Nease (19U AAA, pictured) both committed to D-III Plattsburgh. And Madison Laue (19U AA) will play ACHA hockey at Robert Morris.

When Lady Ducks get to college, they tend to thrive in the classroom and on the ice.

Cases in point – Wisconsin senior Annie Pankowski and St. Lawrence senior Justine Reyes.

Pankowski recently was selected one of five finalists for the Hockey Humanitarian Award, which honors college hockey’s “finest citizen.” Pankowski, a three-time WCHA All-Academic Team pick, has volunteered more than 2,000 hours for OccuPaws, helping train future guide dogs for the visually impaired, and at the UW Comparative Orthopedic Research Laboratory.

When she isn’t doing that, she’s competed for Team USA on numerous occasions and has scored 190 points in her college career through early February. A Badgers co-captain, she also was the first overall pick in the National Women’s Hockey League Draft by the Metropolitan Riveters in December.

Reyes, who garnered ECAC Hockey All-Academic honors last season, recently surpassed 100 points in her Saints career.

— Chris Bayee

(March 5, 2019)