Breaking down USA’s 2021-22 residency roster

Frankel is snubbed in favor of a more experienced Rooney

Believe it or not, it's nearly Residency Season ahead of the 2022 Olympics.

USA Hockey recently released their Residency Roster of 27 players who will convene in Blaine, Minn., to prepare for the Games in Beijing. The roster was built from a 40-player camp that took place earlier this summer. Because of the postponement of the 2021 World Championships, players from this group will make up the updated roster for the tournament in late August as well.

It’s an interesting roster for a lot of different reasons so let’s take a look at why.

Goaltenders: Alex Cavillini, Maddie Rooney, Nicole Hensley
Defenders: Cayla Barnes, Megan Bozek, Natalie Buchbinder, Jincy Dunne, Kali Flanagan, Savannah Harmon, Caroline Harvey, Megan Keller, Lee Stecklein
Forwards: Hannah Brandt, Dani Cameranesi, Alex Carpenter, Jesse Compher, Kendall Coyne Schofield, Britta Curl, Brianna Decker, Lacey Eden, Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Abbey Murphy, Kelly Pannek, Abby Roque, Hayley Scamurra, Grace Zumwinkle

The Goalie Swap

By far the most surprising name missing from the residency roster is 2021 Patty Kazmaier Award winner Aerin Frankel. What makes it even more confusing is that Frankel was on the initial 2021 Worlds roster and now will not be. Frankel backstopped a Northeastern team that only lost two games all season — their very first and their very last which happened to be the National Championship game.

Swapping in for the third goaltender spot is Maddie Rooney, who was not on the 2021 Worlds roster. Rooney played decent in her three PWHPA games this season giving up six goals but was definitely outshone in those games by Nicole Hensley who only gave up three goals in three games.

Rooney obviously has more experience in international play than Frankel, and even Hensley who hasn’t been named to the IIHF roster since the 2018 Olympics, which could have given her the edge here.

To be frank(el) though, it’s altogether an extremely baffling roster choice.

The Youth

Three players born in 2002 are on this roster with a fourth born in 2000. Babies, especially considering the oldest player on the roster is Hilary Knight who was born in 1989.

The youngest player here is defender Caroline Harvey who literally hasn’t even played college hockey yet — and not because of the pandemic — she’s just that young. Harvey, who has committed to Wisconsin, was named to the 2021 Worlds roster as well. She’s no stranger to the USA Hockey program as she’s played on the U18 team in 2019 and 2020 winning silver and gold, respectively. She had no points but was a team-high +4 in 2020.

Forward Lacey Eden has just 15 NCAA games under her belt, joining Wisconsin for the spring semester after transferring from Princeton before ever playing a game due to the pandemic. Eden was a point-per-game player for the Badgers with eight goals, including the game-winning goal in the WCHA Championship game.

The Veterans

Knight is the sole player remaining from the 2010 Olympics roster. She’ll be looking to become just the fourth American woman to make four rosters (Julie Chu, Jenny Potter, and Angela Ruggiero are the only three so far), according to USA Hockey. After the recent retirements of Kacey Bellamy, Meghan Duggan, Monique Lamoureux-Morando, and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, Knight’s experience will only be a boon to the team.

Alex Carpenter and Megan Bozek are looking to make their second Olympic roster after playing in Sochi in 2014 but being left off for Pyeongchang in 2018. Both went overseas to play for KRS in China/Russia where they’ve shined as stars.

A New Worlds Roster

USA Hockey had already released their roster when the May version of the World Championships was still on the schedule. But now we’ll see a new version, which the press release said should be announced later in July.

Three players from the initial roster won’t be there: Frankel (see above), defender Kacey Bellamy who retired shortly after the postponement and forward Sydney Brodt.

On the blue line, that leaves the door open for 2018 Olympian Kali Flanagan and Jincy Dunne. Both played for a New Hampshire PWHPA team that struggled against the Minnesota hub.

On the forward side of things, Eden and Abbey Murphy will look to join the squad in Calgary.

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