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2019 Women’s Hockey Top 25 Under 25 | No. 11-13 (tie): Cayla Barnes; Ronja Savolainen; Lovisa Selander and Maddie Rooney (tie)

Two goalies and two young defenders

The final spots in the teens are filled by four players who have all made a splash at a young age. Two goaltenders tie for 13th while two standout defenders round out this group.


No. 11 | Cayla Barnes

Michelle Jay

The Boston College sophomore makes her second appearance on the list, holding the same spot as last year.

Past Accomplishments

On the international scene, Barnes was U18 star winning three straight Worlds gold medals with the team. Five games into her college career, she withdrew to join Team USA at residency before making the team to go to her first Olympics at 19. In 20 games spread across four senior tournaments (2017 Four Nations, 2018 Four Nations, 2018 Olympics, and 2019 Worlds), she has 9 points. Her best tournament to date was 2019 Worlds where Barnes had six points (2g, 4a) in seven games.

In college, Barnes returned to Boston College for her redshirt freshman season. In a year when the Eagles were predicted to be great, maybe even win the National Championships, the whole team struggled. The defender finished with 23 points (4g, 19a), the second most productive defender behind Megan Keller.

Future Impact

Barnes was recently named to the U22 team for the summer series against Canada. Based on her performance at the most recent World Championship, I think Barnes will have a long life with Team USA. She slotted in well with veteran defender Kacey Bellamy at the Olympics, proving her versatility.

BC is losing a lot of players for the 2019-2020 season as five of their defenders graduated. They’re also losing two top forwards who transferred out of the program. Barnes will most likely be looked upon to step up her role and easily could do so. The rest of her college career will certainly be interesting.

Is This Ranking Too High or Too Low?

Given that this is where she was ranked last year, I think this is still the perfect spot for her. Maybe if she had a bit of better numbers last season, she could have jumped. But defenders are historically hard to judge on large lists such as this.

No. 12 | Ronja Savolainen

Meredith Foster

Finnish defender Ronja Savolainen makes her T25U25 debut at a very respectable 12th place.

Past Accomplishments

Scoring a historic goal is neat. Scoring it on home ice is even better, as Savolainen proved at Worlds last April. Her empty-netter in the semifinals sent the Naisleijonat to the gold medal game for the first time in Finland’s history. She was instrumental all tournament long, averaging over 23 minutes of ice time per game.

At only 21, Savolainen is already a bronze medal-winning Olympian and a veteran with Team Finland, having debuted with the senior team in the 2014-2015 season. At the club level she’s won three championships in two different leagues, one in the Naisten Liiga with the Espoo Blues and two in the SDHL with Luleå Hockey/MSSK.

Savolainen put together a career high in scoring last season with 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists), good for third-highest in the SDHL behind Jenni Hiirikoski and Sidney Morin.

Future Impact

Savolainen has the potential for a long and fruitful career. Her development continues in an outstanding club hockey environment and her increased ice time at Worlds shows she can handle the responsibility. She should be a defender to watch for years to come.

Is This Ranking Too High or Too Low?

It’s tempting to put her higher and there’s definitely a case to be made for it, but due to Savolainen’s youth this is a comfortable ranking. If she can maintain her impressive workload and stay out of the penalty box, she should climb the rankings next year.

No. 13 (tie) | Lovisa Selander

Meredith Foster

Jennifer Bock

Back in March, TIG called Selander “the best goalie you haven’t heard of.” Fortunately, her appearance on this list shows the tides are changing.

Past Accomplishments

A native of Sollentuna, Selander played with SDE in the SDHL prior to coming to RPI in 2015. The starter since her freshman year, she owns RPI’s goaltending records, leading the program in games played, games started, losses and ties. She was a Top 10 Finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award and holds the NCAA record in career saves with 4,167.

Future Impact

The future of Sweden’s net is a big story to follow as this quad cycle progresses. Veteran starter Sara Grahn will be 31 in September and while there’s plenty of hockey left in her, it’s unlikely she’ll be starting in 2022. If Selander continues her development and strong play, she can put together a compelling case to keep herself on Ylva Martinsen’s radar.

As to her pro career...*gestures vaguely off in the distance* Momentum is on her side after such an outstanding NCAA tenure, but Selander, a 2018 Boston Pride draft pick, opted to join the #ForTheGame boycott and at time of publication has not signed with a team on either side of the Atlantic.

Is This Ranking Too High or Too Low?

Too low. If Selander had spent her collegiate career at a school better known for hockey, she’d be ranked higher.

No. 13 (tie) | Maddie Rooney

Michelle Jay

University of Minnesota Duluth,

Rooney took a tumble on our list this year. She was ranked number 2 in 2018 following an incredible Olympic performance.

Past Accomplishments

After the PyeongChang, Rooney’s Wikipedia page was changed to read that she was the Secretary of Defense. Based on her performance in the gold medal game, it makes sense. She was barely even a toddler when the US last won the medal and then she went head-to-head with Canada’s top stars in a shootout to win the first gold medal for Team USA in 20 years. It was a game for the ages and Rooney stood on her head.

As sophomore at UMD, Rooney took on the starting role. She backstopped the team to a 25-7-5 record with a save percentage of .942 in 2016-17. After taking the year for Team USA’s residency, Rooney returned to the team for her redshirt junior season. She had a .919 save percentage while the team went 15-6-4. Overall, the Bulldogs went through a major change in players from the 2016-17 season to the 2018-19 season, which is partially why the team - and Rooney - didn’t look as great last season.

Future Impact

Rooney has one more season of college eligibility left. She clearly has a huge impact on the Bulldogs and will continue to this season as well. Team USA’s goaltending roster is a bit crowded. Rooney will be battling her 2019 World Championships partner Alex Rigsby, the third goalie at 2018 Olympics Nicole Hensley plus a new crop of goaltenders like Katie Burt, Aerin Frankel, Emma Polusny for spots on the senior team.

Is This Ranking Too High or Too Low?

Goaltenders are so hard to place on these lists, evidenced by the fact that two are tied for 13th and Burt was number 15. A goalie cluster in the middle of the list. She definitely fell because of UMD’s struggles this season as compared to her sophomore and Olympic performances. She’s probably about where she belongs right now. As for next season...