Annie Pankowski photo

Annie Pankowski was the first player cut from the 2017-18 U.S. Women's National Team.

For the second time in as many Winter Olympic cycles, Annie Pankowski's hopes of being part of Team USA have fallen short.

Pankowski, a forward who was taking a season off from the University of Wisconsin women's hockey team to participate in U.S. Olympic team residency, was the first player cut on Saturday.

She was one of 23 players named in May to the season-long training camp for the national team; teams can field a 23-player roster for the Olympics.

But the U.S. has since added players to the national team roster, requiring a cutdown before the Olympic team is named on Jan. 1.

"These are very difficult decisions but a necessary part in the process of finalizing our Olympic team roster," U.S. team general manager Reagan Carey said in a statement. "Everyone in our program brings value to our team and Annie has certainly been a contributor to our national team success during her USA Hockey career. And given her young age, I trust she'll continue to positively impact our program in future seasons."

Pankowski, 23, also was a part of the residency program leading up to the 2014 Olympics but was one of two players cut as USA Hockey got down to the roster limit.

She was the national rookie of the year in 2014-15 and followed that season with two straight appearances on the list of 10 finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Award as the top player in Division I women's college hockey.

As a junior last season, Pankowski was tied for second nationally in goal-scoring with 25.

She has one season of collegiate eligibility remaining.

The U.S. still has four former Badgers players on its roster: goaltender Alex Rigsby and forwards Meghan Duggan, Brianna Decker and Hilary Knight. Madison native Amanda Kessel also is on the team.

Hockey Canada has five current or former UW players on its roster: goalie Ann-Renee Desbiens, defenseman Meaghan Mikkelson and forwards Blayre Turnbull, Emily Clark and Sarah Nurse. Clark has one season of collegiate eligibility left.

The women's hockey tournament at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, runs Feb. 10-22.


Todd D. Milewski covers Wisconsin Badgers men's hockey and the UW Athletic Department for the Wisconsin State Journal.