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2018 Four Nations Cup Preview: USA

The US looks for their fourth straight Four Nations Cup

Team USA during a game in Wesley Chapel, FL on Jan. 13, 2018.
Michelle Jay

Four Nations is the first time we’ll see Team USA on the ice after winning gold at the Olympics. A few notable changes have happened since then, but more on that later.

Schedule

Preliminary

  • Tuesday, Nov. 6 | USA vs Finland - 12 p.m. CST
  • Wednesday, Nov. 7 | USA vs Canada - 7 p.m. CST
  • Friday, Nov. 9 | USA vs Sweden - 3:30 p.m. CST

Medal Games

  • Saturday, Nov. 10 | Bronze and Gold Medal Games - 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. CST

Storylines

Administration change

On Sunday, Oct. 28th, USA Hockey announced Reagan Carey was stepping down from her post as director of women’s hockey. At the time, no coaching staff had been announced for USA for Four Nations. The next morning, USAH announced their coaching staff: Bob Corkum as the head coach with Joel Johnston and Brian Pothier as the assistant coaches.

Corkum was announced as the head coach for the ‘18-’19 season, meaning he’ll be with the team through April’s Worlds in Finland.

Of the three, Johnston has by far the most experience coaching women, as he is in his 14th season as the assistant coach at Minnesota. He was also the head coach of U18 team from 2014 to 2017, leading the team to four gold medals at Worlds.

Corkum, who was a coach at the evaluation camp alongside Johnson and Pothier, has never coached a women’s team before. He was an assistant coach under Johnston during this year’s U22 series. That was his first USAH coaching appointment in five years, dating back to a 2012 coaching spot with a men’s team. Corkum played for 12 years in the NHL and also was the assistant coach for the New York Islanders from 2014-17.

Roster

This roster is super interesting. Keep in mind, it’s the start of a quad. USA went with an extremely young team with 11 current NCAA players. Those players were not at the pre-tournament camp because they were still playing with their collegiate teams. Of those players, five are brand new to the senior team, so how they integrate and work into the systems in an extremely short tournament should be interesting to watch.

Sixteen players are returning from the Olympic squad with another two who were cut during the centralization period.

There are a few interesting omissions from this roster. Amanda Pelkey and Haley Skarupa aren’t back. Nicole Hensley did not make the roster, with Emma Polusny instead getting the third goalie spot. Meghan Duggan has not been at camps yet, though NBC Sports reported she is injured but has plans to rejoin the team. Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson are both expecting.

Roster

USA’s roster

Player Position Player Position
Player Position Player Position
Hannah Brandt Forward Cayla Barnes Defence
Sydney Brodt Forward Kacey Bellamy Defence
Dani Cameranesi Forward Megan Bozek Defence
Kendall Coyne Forward Kali Flanagan Defence
Brianna Decker Forward Mikaela Gardner Defence
Amanda Kessel Forward Megan Keller Defence
Hilary Knight Forward Sidney Morin Defence
Caitrin Lonergan Forward Emily Pfalzer Defence
Gigi Marvin Forward
Annie Pankowski Forward Emma Polusny Goaltender
Kelly Pannek Forward Alex Rigsby Goaltender
Melissa Samoskevich Forward Maddie Rooney Goaltender

Players to watch

Caitrin Lonergan

This is Lonergan’s first Four Nations Cup and first time with the senior team. She has plenty of experience with Team USA from numerous U18 Worlds and the last U22 series, though, and is one of four Boston College players on Team USA. The junior forward has tallied 11 points in nine NCAA games this season, seven of which have been assists, including this nasty toe drag to set up a goal.

Megan Bozek

Bozek was a late cut from the Olympic squad, and she joined the Markham Thunder after the holidays in early 2018. An offensive defender, she put up nine points in 10 regular season games, helping the team en route to victory in the Clarkson Cup. With a solid mix of defenders, Bozek should fit in well.

Prediction

With 11 of the 23 players not at camp, it will be interesting to see how the team comes together. Add in the late (and questionable) coaching staff decisions, and the youthful approach could mean silver for USA, especially looking at Canada’s veteran-laden team. We’ll get to see a glimpse of the future of USA Hockey, though, which is bound to be fun.