U.S. women put on a show at Olympic Center

LAKE PLACID – After two days of practice sessions, players vying for positions on the United States Women’s Olympic Ice Hockey team finally got to put on a show Wednesday evening when the Blue and White squads squared off in the first of four full-length scrimmages this week in Lake Placid.

At the Olympic Center’s 1980 Herb Brooks Arena, the Blue team prevailed in overtime, claiming a 2-1 victory over White when Jincy Dunne tipped a pass from Kendall Coyne into the net past goaltender Molly Schaus.

The top women hockey players in the United States are in Lake Placid this week for a selection camp to pick the team that will compete in Russia at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia. The camp’s roster started with 40 skaters, and on Monday, the 27 players still in contention to make the Olympic team will be announced.

The full group was split up into two teams of 20 for the scrimmages, and judging by Wednesday’s game, it seems like the talent was equally divided. After a scoreless first period, each team notched a goal in the second stanza, before the Blue team came through with the winner in the extra 10-minute period.

It’s the biggest week of Kelley Steadman’s hockey career to date, as the Northwood School graduate who competed at Mercyhurst College is one of the talented players looking to earn a trip to the Olympics. The Plattsburgh native, who has already won a World Championship gold medal with the U.S. National Team in April is skating for the White squad this week.

“It was a great game, but it’s a little disappointing we didn’t get the win,” Steadman said. “Every time we go out on the ice, it doesn’t matter if it’s a training camp game, we want to win. We are all friends, but when we are on the ice, there are no friends out there. We are all competitive, and we all want to win every time out.”

Listed on the roster as a forward at 5 feet, 11inches and 180 pounds, Steadman is a powerful skater who likes to keep up the pressure in the opposition’s end of the rink. She played a solid game Wednesday to kick off her competitive week.

“We all have roles to play, and mine is to use my size and speed to get pucks past the defense,” said Steadman, who called the Olympic Center ice home during her prep school years at Northwood. “I can’t think of a better place to compete for a spot on the Olympic team. It’s the best place, I think, to play hockey. I just have to keep doing what I do the best.”

The Blue and White teams go at it again today on the Olympic Center’s ice sheet in a matchup that starts at 4 p.m. The third and fourth scrimmages will be held Saturday and Sunday, also beginning at 4 p.m.