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Watch now: Badgers women's hockey players had an excruciating wait before learning their U.S. Olympic residency fate
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UW WOMEN'S HOCKEY

Watch now: Badgers women's hockey players had an excruciating wait before learning their U.S. Olympic residency fate

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University of Wisconsin women's hockey players Lacey Eden, Britta Curl and Natalie Buchbinder share how they found out they were going to spend the upcoming season in residency with USA Hockey to try to make the Olympic team.

How do you pass the time while awaiting the decision that could change your life?

Roommates Natalie Buchbinder and Britta Curl called out for food and binge watched some TV.

Lacey Eden couldn't even get that far. "I just sat there waiting for the text," she said.

The University of Wisconsin women's hockey players endured an excruciating wait before being summoned for individual meetings to find out whether they were getting invited to the final competition for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

The verdict at the end of a training camp in Minnesota last month was worth the long stretch of nerves for Buchbinder, Curl, Eden and incoming Badgers player Caroline Harvey. Being picked for the residency roster wasn't a guarantee that they'll end up in the Beijing Games in February, but they'll have a chance to prove they belong.

"This has been a dream of mine forever," Eden said. "And finally breaking that barrier, getting onto the team was just an unreal feeling, like all of my hard work has paid off so far."

Forwards Eden and Curl and defenders Buchbinder and Harvey will forgo the 2021-22 NCAA hockey season to be in residency with USA Hockey in Blaine, Minnesota, starting in October. Four former Badgers stars — goaltender Alex Cavallini and forwards Brianna Decker, Hilary Knight and Abby Roque — also are on the 27-player roster that will be pared down to 23 for the Olympics.

A 25-player squad also will be picked from the group to play in the World Championship, rescheduled to Aug. 21-30 in Calgary, Alberta, from April because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buchbinder, Curl and Eden were among the last to find out their fate at the end of the camp, leaving not only them but their families hanging on the decision.

Curl's parents in Bismarck, North Dakota, were awaiting a phone call as the night stretched on. In a Minnesota hotel, players were told to await a text on when to report to a room for their meeting with USA Hockey officials.

Buchbinder and Curl ate Popeyes and watched "Breaking Bad" in their room.

"Luckily we got to go through it together and be nervous together," Curl said. "It was not fun."

Said Buchbinder: "The process took longer than we expected so that was stressful. But in the end we got the news that we wanted so we were able to celebrate together in the room."

Eden got her brother and parents on a video call to check in. Curl called her parents to let them know how she'd be spending most of the upcoming season.

"They were waiting in bed for the call for a while," Curl said. "They were pretty nervous, too, so I had to give them a call and let them go to sleep."

The news wasn't as good for Badgers defender Nicole LaMantia and forwards Casey O'Brien and Makenna Webster. They were invited to the camp but didn't make the Olympic residency roster. Neither did former Badgers forward Annie Pankowski, who was cut from the U.S. team before it won gold in 2018.

LaMantia, O'Brien and Webster are expected to be back with the Badgers as they chase a third straight NCAA championship in the 2021-22 season. So are leading scorers Daryl Watts and Sophie Shirley, who weren't selected for the Canadian centralization roster.

Curl said she'll leave the Badgers for a season with faith in the players that are on the team.

"We still have a great group of leadership that just came off national championships," she said of fifth-year seniors Brette Pettet, Grace Bowlby and Caitlin Schneider. "They obviously know how things are done. ... Just seeing some of the freshmen skating this summer, I think it's going to be a really exciting year for them."

Look back on State Journal coverage of Badgers women's hockey games in the 2020-21 season

Read stories from University of Wisconsin women's hockey games in the 2020-21 season.

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Daryl Watts scored 3:16 into overtime to beat Northeastern in the Frozen Four championship game, giving the Badgers a sixth NCAA title.

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The Badgers' third line of Caitlin Schneider, Casey O'Brien and Makenna Webster produces three goals and Kennedy Blair makes 37 saves.

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The Badgers earned a shutout in the NCAA quarterfinals for the fifth straight season.

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Eden scored 42 seconds into overtime as the Badgers defeated Ohio State.

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Minnesota twice pulls within one goal in the third period, but UW holds on in the WCHA Final Faceoff semifinals.

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The Badgers won their fifth WCHA regular-season title in the last six years with a frantic finish at Minnesota Duluth.

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Gabbie Hughes scored twice for the seventh-ranked Bulldogs, who can pass the Badgers for the crown with another victory Saturday.

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It was the 11th multiple-goal game with the Badgers for Sophie Shirley but just the first for her younger sister.

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Kennedy Blair made 12 saves for her fourth shutout of the season, and four players scored goals in the University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team’s 4-0 victory against Bemidji State at LaBahn Arena.

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A day after No. 1 UW rallied for an overtime victory, No. 2 Minnesota earned a split of six points in the series by fighting back for a 2-2 tie and a shootout win.

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Daryl Watts' NCAA-leading 13th goal of the season and second of the game on a 3-on-1 rush finished off a comeback from a two-goal deficit in the third period.

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A day after winning 10-0, the Badgers didn't lead Saturday until the final two minutes.

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The Badgers have won 26 straight games against the Huskies.

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The Badgers broke out of a scoring funk with an unprecedented offensive showing against their archrivals.

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Five players scored and Kennedy Blair made 30 saves as the Badgers erased some of the bad taste from last week's split with Ohio State.

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Coach Mark Johnson said the Badgers "didn't do a very good job with the puck" in losing to the Buckeyes.

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Daryl Watts and Nicole LaMantia score in the final period, and UW gets 28 saves from Kennedy Blair.

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Badgers goalie Kennedy Blair made 11 of her 21 saves in the third period as she shut out an opponent for the second time in four games this season.

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Daryl Watts scored on the power play with 3:15 remaining as the top-ranked Badgers defeated Minnesota State.

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Junior Sophie Shirley becomes 18th player in program history to reach 50 career goals.

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Sloppiness in the defensive zone led to the Badgers falling behind, coach Mark Johnson said.

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