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2018 Women’s Hockey Top 25 Under 25 | No. 22 - 19: Erin Ambrose, Annie Pankowski, Anna Shokhina & Halli Krzyzaniak

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Cuts from centralization cause Canadians to cascade down list

No. 22 - ERIN AMBROSE; Les Canadiennes de Montreal

Erin Ambrose
Chris Tanouye/CWHL

Past accomplishments

After being cut from the Canadian centralization roster ahead of the 2018 Olympics, Ambrose made major waves when she was traded to the Les Canadiennes de Montreal from the Toronto Furies. Her second season went markedly better than her rookie season in Toronto as she had 14 points in 16 games with two goals.

Ambrose was a two-time Patty Kazmaier Award nominee during her four years at Clarkson. Her sophomore year — the year Clarkson won a National Championship — was by far her best year. She had 50 points in 37 games.

Future Impact

It will be interesting to see how Ambrose fares once the National Team players are back in the CWHL, especially since a few American National Team players will be joining the CWHL. A full season of CWHL play should show us where she’s at.

Is This Ranking Too High or Low

Last year, Ambrose was ranked 21, so she’s fallen one spot. This feels like the right spot for her.

No. 21 - ANNIE PANKOWSKI; University of Wisconsin

Wisconsin's Annie Pankowski shoots between Minnesota's Amanda Kessel and Sarah Potomak

Past Accomplishments

Pankowski has been so close to an Olympic spot for the last two cycles, only to be cut during centralization both times. However, the 23-year-old from Laguna Hills, Cali., has had a standout career as a Badger thus far. She’s led the team in scoring each season netting 21, 22, and 25 goals. She’s averaging more than a point per game in her career with 156 points in 115 games thus far.

On Team USA, Pankowski’s been a bit quieter. In the 10 games at Worlds she’s played in, she only has five points. During centralization she only had three points in six games.

Future Impact

Going into her senior year, Pankowski will be the oldest member of her team. Having her back will surely help a younger team out, even though they’ll have freshmen with CWHL and U18 team experience. The Badgers’ goal production was down last season as well, so look for that stat to bounce back up as Pankowski returns.

Is This Ranking Too High or Low

The 2015 WCHA Rookie of the Year only has more to prove, I think. It’s not surprising she’s not higher given her lack of Olympic team experience. If Pankowski plays professional hockey after she graduates, I think she has a chance of rising.

No. 19 (tie) - ANNA SHOKHINA; Tornado Dmitrov

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 12 Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Past Accomplishments

The past Olympics were Shokhina’s second Olympic appearance for Russia, or well, the Olympic Athletes from Russia as they were this year. Her best game was in the Quarterfinals against Switzerland when she netted two goals and an assist — including a 5-on-3 shorthanded goal. However, she had a penalty laden Olympics with 29 minutes in box. She was also suspended for two games at the conclusion of the bronze medal game when she attempt to kick a Finnish player. She’ll serve it at the 2019 Worlds in Finland.

Back home in Russia, Shokhina is a offensive machine for the RWHL’s Tornado Dmitrov. She regularly averages almost two points a game over a season with a career average of 2.34. NWHL fans have seen her as she’s been on both Russian squads when they play their preseason series.

Future Impact

At 21, Shokhina will have a long role on Russia’s national team, especially considering six players were recently banned for life for doping. She’ll need to reign in the penalty minutes though.

Is This Ranking Too High or Low

This ranking is probably about right. Her performance at senior international tournaments is good, but not nearly as good as some of her North American peers.

No. 19 (tie) - HALLI KRZYZANIAK; Calgary Inferno

Halli Krzyzaniak during the 2017 Worlds.
Michelle Jay

Past Accomplishments

Krzyzaniak’s record in international play is impressive: two U-18 Worlds gold medals and three senior Worlds silver. The offensively minded defender is almost consistently on the positive side of +/- including eight points in 10 games at U-18 Worlds. Her time at University of North Dakota is similarly impressive. Over her four years she had a .42 point per game average.

Her play was enough to gain her invite to Canada’s centralization camp. However, she was one of the final cuts to bring to the team to 23 ahead of the Olympics. She — and two of her UND teammates — went to Sweden to play for Djurgården in the SDHL. Her stats were solid for joining a new team in a new country late in their season. She played in five regular season games and four playoff games, garnering three assists.

Future Impact

The 23-year-old defender was one of the Inferno’s pre-draft signings. She’ll join a defensive group that includes at least US Olympian and veteran Kacey Bellamy and possibly Canadian Brigette Lacquette while playing under Shannon Miller. This will only help Krzyzaniak grow as a player and hopefully make the next Olympic roster.

Is This Ranking Too High or Low

Krzyzaniak fell far from last year’s 11 spot. Frankly, 19 is probably far too low. I’d suspect being cut from the Canadian Olympic roster had a lot to do with this, as well as being a defender. Her lack of exposure playing in the SDHL post-cut didn’t help either. I’d guess after a season in the CWHL, she’ll jump up next season.