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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Decker recovers, creates success for Wisconsin

Freshman forward Brianna Decker is third on the women\’s hockey team in points after recovering from an arm injury.[/media-credit]

Skating as a freshman on a national championship team can feel intimidating, but for forward Brianna Decker, it’s like she was made to play for the Badgers. Despite suffering an arm injury in the second game of the season, Decker fought back and has already been named Rookie of the Week by the WCHA twice in her short Badger career.

As a freshman, Decker did not anticipate being a starter or anything particularly special from the onset. Even after injury, which limited her to only nine of the 18 games so far this season, Decker is just focusing on playing hard and doing what the coaches ask of her.

“Coming in as a freshman, I didn’t actually expect anything,” Decker said. “Playing right away, I didn’t expect that either, but I’m just trying to fill the role that the coaches are trying to give me. It extends to a lot of ice time — I’m trying to just keep humble and stay out there and play hard.”


Even though Decker has only played in half of the Badgers’ games this season, she currently has the third-most points on the team with six goals and five assists. While she says she mainly focuses on doing her best and trying to help the team succeed, her teammates credit her aggression and intensity.

“She’s the type of player that’s not afraid to get in front of the net and get shots and get dirty,” freshman defenseman Saige Pacholok said. “Just her aggression and her intensity on the ice really helps because getting those opportunities — we need everything we can to bury the puck.”

After starting only her second game in her collegiate career, Decker was sidelined due to an arm injury against North Dakota. Before the injury, she scored her first two goals of her college career, helping the Badgers get their first win of the season.

The injury was disappointing, especially because it was so early in the season, but Decker knew she had to focus on rehab and getting back on the ice to help her team.

“I focused on going to rehab and taking care of my arm as much as possible,” Decker said of her injury. “When I got hurt, I was kind of disappointed, but I knew I had to fight through it and get back as soon as possible because the team needed me.”

Of the nine games Decker missed, the Badgers went 5-3-1, but on the day of her return, she tallied a goal and an assist in an exciting 6-2 win over Wayne State. Since her return, the Badgers have only lost one game.

Sophomore Brooke Ammerman — one of UW’s most dominant scorers — did not know what Decker was capable of before her return but has seen the strong impact Decker’s had since getting back on the ice.

“She only played one-and-a-half games when she was first here, so we didn’t really know what she was all about,” Ammerman said. “When she came back, you could tell that she added another dimension to our team and … our offense.

“She’s a natural goal scorer, she’s a natural playmaker,” Ammerman continued. “She’s a great player, great skater, great stick handler — I think she’s made a huge impact since she’s been back.”

Decker adds another element to the team, being a strong offensive threat who also brings a positive attitude and energy to the team. Pacholok noted how important her energy is.

“She’s a good player,” Pacholok said. “She’s positive attitude-wise, and she’s a positive energy on the ice, too. She controls the puck well, she passes the puck well — she’s an all-around good player. She comes back hard. I think her presence on the ice does contribute to our team and our energy. She really helps us, really brings us up and brings the pace of our game up.”

Interim head coach Tracey DeKeyser also recognizes how dynamic of a player Decker is. While crediting her as a strong offensive threat, DeKeyser also feels the need to be careful and not place too much pressure on the freshman forward.

“Having missed a big chunk of the first semester, we have to make sure that our goals are in alignment with where she is right now and again, not place undue pressure on her as a freshman,” DeKeyser said. “She’s going to do great things for our team. She’s got a great work ethic, great mindset, great personality, very optimistic. Things will come — she’ll create opportunities for herself and her teammates.”

In playing only half of their games this season, Decker has shown she is a strong force on the ice. With already six goals on the season, she is certainly a player to keep an eye on.

But with missing so many games, DeKeyser feels like Decker’s potential still has yet to be determined, although she remains confident her freshman star will do great things.

“I guess [her potential] has yet to be determined,” DeKeyser said. “I think if she keeps progressing and developing in the direction that she has been, she’s got great things that lie ahead of her, whether it’s a Badger career or Olympic hopeful, we have yet to see.”

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