Wisconsin's rigorous academic reputation can come at a cost. The penalty this week was incoming women's hockey center T.T. Cianfarano, who confirmed to Bucky's 5th Quarter on Tuesday she is officially not going to be a Badger.
Cianfarano said via Twitter direct message she is now looking into options at Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth, Northeastern and Quinnipiac.
The Oswego, N.Y., native was widely considered one of the top incoming freshmen in the nation for the class of 2014. Cianfarano was a two-time member of the U.S. U18 team, and was named the top forward at the 2014 U18 World Championships after scoring six goals and adding two assists in five games as Team USA captured its second consecutive silver medal.
Wisconsin expected Cianfarano to play a big role next season, as evidenced by head coach Mark Johnson's description of the 5'6 center after she signed her National Letter of Intent in November.
"She has great skill, is a gifted scorer with great speed," Johnson said. "When you watch her play, her skill-set and her gift of getting the puck into the net separates her from a lot of people."
Despite the loss of Cianfarano, the Badgers still bring in one of the top recruiting classes in the country again this season. Emily Clark (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) is a two-time U18 World Championship gold medal-winner for Canada. Also expected to play expanded roles as freshmen are two-time U.S. U18 members Baylee Wellhausen (Williams Bay, Wis.) and Maddie Rolfes (West Des Moines, Iowa), both from Shattuck-St. Mary's prep school.
It also can't be overlooked that the No. 1 recruit in the nation from last season, Annie Pankowski (Laguna Hills, Calif.), will finally make her long-awaited debut for the Badgers. Pankowski was set to play last year at UW before spending the season centralized with the U.S. Olympic team.
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