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NCAA Championship Hockey

Wisconsin's Annie Pankowski (19) takes a shot on goal against Minnesota goaltender Alex Gulstene during the second period of the Frozen Four championship game.

The International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Championship opens Thursday, and it'll have a strong University of Wisconsin flavor.

Four former Badgers players are on the United States roster, and three are with Canada.

Forwards Brianna Decker, Hilary Knight and Annie Pankowski and goaltender Alex Rigsby are with the American team for the tournament in Espoo, Finland.

Defenseman Blayre Turnbull and forwards Sarah Nurse and Emily Clark are with Canada. All three played in the 2018 Olympics, as did Decker, Knight and Rigsby for the U.S.

Pankowski and Clark were seniors on the Badgers team that won the NCAA championship last month. Pankowski led the country with 11 goals and 13 points in seven postseason games.

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Madison's Amanda Kessel also is on the U.S. roster.

The Americans open play Thursday against Finland, while Canada plays Switzerland. The rivals play in the second of four preliminary-round games on Saturday.

The medal games are scheduled for April 14.

The U.S. has played Canada for the gold medal in all 18 World Championships played, starting in 1990. The tournament is typically not played in Olympic years; the U.S. beat Canada for Olympic gold in 2018 after winning the World Championship the three previous years.

Bucky!

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