Yesterday Team USA announced its roster for the first two Rivalry Series games against Canada on December 14th and 17th in Connecticut and New Brunswick. The December 14th game, at the XL Center in Hartford, will be aired on NBCSN at 7pm.
The Rivalry series is split between 2019 and 2020, with three February games scheduled for locations in British Columbia and California. The roster released yesterday only applies to the December games, taking place while NCAA players are out of school for break.
Forwards: Sydney Brodt (UMD), Kelly Browne* (BC), Dani Cameranesi, Alex Carpenter, Jesse Compher (BU), Kendall Coyne Schofield, Britta Curl* (Wisconsin), Clair DeGeorge* (Bemidji State), Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Annie Pankowski, Kelly Pannek, Abby Roque* (Wisconsin)
Defenders: Cayla Barnes (BC), Kacey Bellamy, Megan Bozek, Natalie Buchbinder* (Wisconsin), Megan Keller, Emily Matheson, Lee Stecklein
Goalies: Alex Cavallini, Aerin Frankel* (Northeastern), Maddie Rooney (UMD)
There are ten college players on this roster, which is quite a lot of young talent. After a disappointing showing in Pittsburgh this November, Team USA is clearly looking to get faster and younger before Worlds in the spring. Six of the ten college players are making their first appearance on a senior national team roster: Kelly Browne out of Boston College, Britta Curl, Natalie Buchbinder and Abby Roque out of Wisconsin, Clair DeGeorge out of Bemidji State, and Aerin Frankel out of Northeastern.
Abby Roque, in her last year at Wisconsin, might help add a scoring touch that Team USA was lacking in November. She has surpassed the 40-point mark in all of her college seasons besides her freshman year. In 20 games this year she has amassed 41 points--nearly matching her total from least season where she had 43 points in 41 games. Roque is currently second in points in the NCAA behind only teammates Daryl Watts.
Clair DeGeorge may not seem to measure up to Roque, Browne (24 points in 19 games), or Compher (61 points in 37 games last season), but she’s no stranger to the US program and brings a different kind of talent to the ice. At 5’11”, she provides a large, physical presence that Team USA has lacked somewhat in the forward group since Pyeongchang, with Duggan and Marvin missing for various reasons. Bemidji State was 13-21-2 last season with only 75 goals-for, and DeGeorge, with 22 points, factored into almost 30% of those goals as a sophomore. She put up truly impressive numbers at Shattuck St. Mary’s and has played with the U22 team for the past two years.
Goaltender Aerin Frankel out of Northeastern is second in the NCAA with a .958 SV% over 14 games. In her three years at Northeastern she has yet to finish with a save percentage under .930, and she has ten career shutouts over 65 career NCAA games. Last season she was the Hockey East Championship MVP, Hockey East Goaltender of the year, and a first-team WHEA All-Star. She has won two straight Women’s Hockey East Championship titles and joined the U22 team this year.
Shuffling the Deck
Several notable Team USA veterans are not on the roster for these games.
Brianna Decker, who had five points in seven games at the 2019 World Championship, was invited to camp but did not make the cut for this round. She was recently injured and has not played with the PWHPA yet, though no information has been released regarding the nature of her injury.
Both Lamoureux twins, who were among the heroes of the 2018 Olympic team, are also absent from this roster. Missing, too, is Hayley Scamurra, who has been performing well in PWHPA events but was injured at the exhibition event in Pittsburgh last month.
There are three more Rivalry Series games in February, and the roster for those games might be quite different from the roster for these December games. It’s possible that we might see all of these players return, but also possible that Team USA’s quest to become younger and faster, matching the pace of Team Canada, will continue to lead to infusions of young talent.
All statistics taken from EliteProspects.