NCAA talent populates National Team rosters

A look at the NCAA talent fleshing out the recently-released national team rosters for Canada and the United States

The rosters of Team USA and Team Canada are frequented by many of the same faces year in and year out — powerhouses like Amanda Kessel and Hilary Knight, Sarah Nurse and Natalie Spooner — while others compete to earn their spot on a roster with limited space. Many of them are plucked from their NCAA programs and thrust onto the national stage to prove themselves. Below, we take a look at the NCAA athletes who survived the cut onto their respective country’s rosters ahead of the November friendly between the USA and Canada.

Rosters released for USA vs. Canada series

Hockey Canada

Hockey Canada is approaching this series with a younger roster, drawing a little over a quarter of its players from the NCAA. While all of the athletes have competed for Canada on the international stage at some level, a few, like forward Emma Maltais and defenders Ella Shelton and Claire Thompson, are making their official debuts alongside their more seasoned teammates. Nevertheless, all the players are fresh off of development camp rosters and ready to make a splash with Canada’s senior team.

F Sarah Fillier, Princeton University (ECAC)

Sophomore forward Sarah Fillier has dominated the ECAC thus far, earning herself a number of accolades (among them ECAC, Ivy League, and USCHO Rookie of the Year, and selection to the USCHO All-Rookie and second teams) and leading the NCAA with 57 points in 29 games. Fillier has frequented both Canada’s U-18 teams and the national development team, and is no stranger to the international spotlight. As a high scorer on any stage, it will certainly be a treat to watch Fillier compete alongside offensive dynamos like Marie-Philip Poulin and Loren Gabel.

F Emma Maltais, Ohio State University (WCHA)

Ohio State’s Emma Maltais is stepping into the limelight with her first senior team selection. Maltais led Ohio State in scoring her freshman and sophomore seasons and is already off to an explosive start her junior year, tallying four goals in a single contest vs. St. Cloud State. Like Fillier, Maltais has an impressive resume — 4x WCHA Rookie of the Month, 3x WCHA Rookie of the Week, WCHA Rookie of the Year, and selections to the 2018 and 2019 all-WCHA first teams — and is looking to make an impression on her coaches and management as she battles for a permanent roster spot.

F Kristin O’Neill, Cornell University (ECAC)

Senior Kristin O’Neill has an impressive stats sheet for a player on such an offensively dominant team, with 105 points over 95 career games for Cornell. While the numbers don’t lie, it’s also worthy to note that O’Neill has just as impressive of a qualitative resumé; she has two U-18 Women’s World Championship silver medals to her name, two All-Ivy first team selections and one All-Ivy second team selection, and a 2018 Patty Kazmaier Award nomination. O’Neill will undoubtedly bring her firepower to the Canadian senior team, and while she likely will not get the ice time she’s accustomed to, she’s still on course to dominate.

D Ella Shelton, Clarkson University (ECAC)

While Clarkson defender Ella Shelton has significantly less international experience than many of her teammates, that doesn’t mean her show at the friendly will be any less impressive. Lauded as one of the best two-way defenders in the nation, Shelton has registered 76 points over 124 games for Clarkson, and has two NCAA national championships tucked away in her trophy case. Having suited up for Team Canada only once outside of the BFL Fall Festivals, Shelton is looking to make a case for herself as a staple on the Canadian blueline.

D Claire Thompson, Princeton University (ECAC)

Gearing up for her fourth season in 2019-2020 is defender Claire Thompson, a Team Canada rookie with a lot to prove. Thompson has skated in 98 career games for the Tigers, and put up a strong 64 points, making her somewhat of an offensive menace. In her junior season alone she blocked 51 shots and served 14 penalties, so her addition to the team is likely to pack some punch. Thompson earned All-Ivy first and second team honors, and was named to the All-ECAC first team her junior season.

D Micah Zandee-Hart, Cornell University (ECAC)

Micah Zandee-Hart is a name Canadian fans might be more familiar with; she joined Team Canada for two U-18 Women’s World Championships, earning gold and silver medals. At the senior level she skated at the 2019 Women’s World Championships in Espoo, where she and the rest of her country took home bronze. As a returning captain for Cornell, Zandee-Hart has been a force to be reckoned with on the blueline. She’s totaled 40 penalties over 94 games for the Big Red, and will bring grit and strength to the Canadian defense corps.

USA Hockey

USA Hockey has built up a remarkably solid and constant roster over the past couple of years, and fans are unlikely to see much change between now and the start of the 2020 World Championship. Though the United States’ NCAA athletes are young, their resumés are impressive, and all of them boast several years of experience with the program.

F Sydney Brodt, University of Minnesota Duluth (WCHA)

Minnesota Duluth’s Sydney Brodt is a powerhouse both as a member of the American offense and as a forward with the Bulldogs. She’s suited up in the red, white, and blue sixteen times over a variety of contests, including the U-18 Women’s World Championship, the Four Nations Cup, and the Women’s World Championship, tallying points in every single series. She will serve as the Bulldogs’ captain for her third straight season, becoming the first in program history to do so. Anyone who has seen her play can agree that the talent Brodt brings to the Bulldogs’ offense translates directly to her productive performances at the international level.

D Cayla Barnes, Boston College (HEA)

Though she may be small, she be mighty — at 5’1” and entering her second season with the Boston College Eagles, Cayla Barnes is a firecracker. She brings plenty of experience with USA Hockey to the table, having competed in three U-18 Women’s World Championships, one Olympic Games as a member of the gold medal-winning team in PyeongChang, and one Women’s World Championship. Unafraid of making waves, Barnes has served 24 penalties in just 41 games with the Eagles. Not only does she bring skill and firepower to the American blueline, but also a brand of determination unrivaled by her competitors.

G Maddie Rooney, University of Minnesota Duluth (WCHA)

Fans of American women’s hockey may know Maddie Rooney as the “Secretary of Defense” after her performance in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics in the gold medal shootout, and now she’s back on the women’s senior team, vying for a spot on the Worlds roster alongside Alex Cavallini and Katie Burt. During her tenure at the University of Minnesota Duluth, Rooney has served as the team’s primary netminder since her rookie campaign, and has posted an impressive SV% and GAA during each of her three seasons thus far. Though she’s not quite a seasoned international veteran, Rooney is sure to backstop her way into a permanent roster spot with her performance in the friendly.

Both Barnes and Rooney made TIG’s Top 25 Under 25, coming in at #11 and #13, respectively.