March 15, 2014
It was a pretty big Saturday for a woman goalie who was once drafted by a junior hockey team.
No, not just Canadian Olympic heroine Shannon Szabados, who made her debut for the minor-league Columbus Cottonmouths — try Alex Rigsby, the senior goalie for the NCAA power Wisconsin Badgers. During Wisconsin's 2-1 win over Harvard that sent it to next week's Frozen Four, Rigsby made a stick save that needs a fusion of shopworn sports superlatives suc has stellabulous, a combo of stellar and fabulous.
Harvard forward Samantha Reber had pulled Rigsby out of her crease and threaded a centring pass by three Badgers for a one-timer at a totally unguarded goal. Yet Rigsby stretched headlong and batted the puck down for a unbelievable game-saving stop.
There might be a little poetic justice in Rigsby, who tried out for the USHL's Chicago Steel after being drafted there in 2009, ending Harvard's season. The 22-year-old was on Team USA's roster when it won the world championship in April 2013. American head coach Katey Stone, who is Harvard's full-time coach, elected to take more netminders who are more seasoned than Rigsby to the Sochi Olympics.
Rigsby's predecessor in the Badgers' net, Jessie Vetter, played her college hockey for Wisconsin. That's quite a pipeline from Madison, Wisc., to the U.S. women's national team's net.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (video: University of Wisconsin).