By almost all accounts, Kate Schipper's recent two-week stint playing with Team USA in the Women's Hockey World Under-18 Championships in Finland was a rousing success.
The Breck senior and future University of Minnesota forward was the tournament's leading scorer with five goals and 13 points. She was named the its most valuable player and was the only Team USA player selected to the all-tournament team.
But for all of the good things she accomplished, Schipper returned disappointed and frustrated as Team USA lost 2-1 in overtime to Canada in the championship game. It was her second year playing in the tournament as Team USA member and the second time the team lost to its arch-rivals in the finals.
"They scream in your face when they win,'' a dejected Schipper said. "We knew what it was like to feel that last year. When we lost again, it was like 'You've got to be kidding.'"
Staff writer Jim Paulsen spoke with Schipper, who was exhausted after returning from Finland.
Q You must be worn out.
A Yeah, I'm a little bit tired.
Q How long was the trip?
A It was a nine-hour flight to JFK [Airport] and then three hours home.
Q It was a tough ending to the tournament, but how do you feel about your performance?
A I feel pretty good about it. I think I accomplished what I wanted. A lot of that was because of my linemates, Amy [Menke of Shakopee] and Megan [Wolfe of Eagan]. We worked really well together. A lot of what I achieved was because of them.
Q Sounds like you don't have any affection for the Canadian team.
A Not really. They've always acted like they're better than us and that we're not good enough. They don't get along with anyone. The Russians came to the championship game and were cheering for us. I understand that part of their screaming and cheering is because they won it, but it still bugs us.
Q Can you compare winning a high school state championship, which you did last year, to playing with Team USA?
A Winning a high school state championship was a lot of fun and you can compare them, but it's not quite as big. It means a lot more when you're listening to the National Anthem at the end of a game wearing a USA jersey.
Q Was it difficult to leave Breck in the middle of the season?
A Not really. I'm the only senior on the team this year and there are just two juniors. We have five eighth-graders and five ninth-graders. It was a nice break to go and play with girls my own age and skill level. But I'm excited to get back.
Q As one of the few upperclassmen on the team, how has this high school season gone so far?
A More difficult than I thought it would be. We have so many new kids that don't [yet] really know what's going on. As a senior, it's been kind of hard to connect.
Q What has your role become?
A I'm more of a teacher. They're looking at me and watching me to learn new things. I think things are finally starting to come, though.
Q What was the best part of playing with Team USA?
A I think it was being together with 21 other players who got along really well. We never had an argument.