Team USA announces 2019 Winter Camp roster, schedule

NCAA standouts are getting a shot before Worlds

Today, Team USA announced the roster and schedule for their 2019 Winter Training Camp, to help the team prep for the 2019 Rivalry Series against Canada. The camp will run from Dec. 9 to Dec. 13 at the XL Energy Center in Hartford, Conn.

In total, 46 players were invited to the camp. That group will be whittled down to a roster of 23 for the first two Rivalry Series games, on  Dec. 14 in Hartford and Dec. 17 in Moncton, New Brunswick. The other three are in February 2020.

Twenty-two of the players in camp were a part of last year’s gold-medal winning World Championship team, and many were a part of the exhibition games against Canada in Pittsburgh this month, but there are some new and returning young players with a lot to prove and a great opportunity to do so.

Veteran Presence

Every player who took part in the exhibitions against Canada in Pittsburgh this month will return for Team USA’s winter camp. Only two of those players - Cayla Barnes and Maddie Rooney - are current NCAA players. There are plenty of Olympic champions on this roster, too. Most of the 2019 Olympic team is on the roster except for Meghan Duggan (who is pregnant!), Amanda Pelkey, Haley Skarpua, and Gigi Marvin.

Brianna Decker, who has yet to play with the PWHPA and missed the Pittsburgh series due to injury, will make her return to the team. Nicole Hensley and Sidney Morin will return to the team as well.

Looking for More

Team USA was swept by Canada in Pittsburgh earlier this month and will be looking to remedy what many saw as a lackluster performance from a roster that fans and coaches have come to expect a lot from. The team lost 4-1 and 5-3, with their goals coming from Knight, Coyne-Schofield, Pannek and Cameranesi. They outshot Canada in the second game but couldn’t finish the comeback, and both goaltenders — Maddie Rooney of Olympic shootout fame and former BC standout Katie Burt — had SV% in the .800s over the weekend.

There are several players from the Pittsburgh camp roster who we might expect to see making a bigger impact in camp and during the Rivalry Series. One such player is Hayley Scamurra, who has been dominating play at the PWHPA Dream Gap Tour showcases that she’s played in. Sophia Shaver’s play with the PWHPA has apparently impressed enough to get her a spot on these past two rosters, and she’ll be wanting to make a mark on a team that’s looking for a spark. Getting Brianna Decker back from injury will be huge, given that she had 26 points in 23 CWHL games last season and 5 points (2G, 3A) at the 2019 World Championship.

Young Blood

Team USA has called up 19 NCAA players for this camp. That’s almost enough for a full roster, and based on the team’s performance in Pittsburgh, it’s not hard to imagine why that might be. Coach Bob Corkum will likely be looking for a handful of NCAA players to flesh out the Rivalry Series roster and infuse the team with some energy. The players on the Winter Camp roster are all very good, but there are a few in particular who stand a pretty good chance of making the roster for the Rivalry Series games.

Boston College freshman Hannah Bilka is a name we’ve already heard a lot this season and a player who could potentially make a real impact on the team, despite being only eighteen. She’s been tearing it up with Boston College, scoring 20 points in her first 13 college games, and had 3 points in 5 games with the U18 team at the WJC in 2018.

Abby Roque, a senior at Wisconsin, leads the NCAA in game-winning goals and has 28 points in 14 games this season. She’s ranked at third overall in the NCAA in points per game at 2.00, and is the highest-ranked American player by this metric. She’s also tied for first in the NCAA with a +20 rating, although that may say more about the strength of this Wisconsin team than anything else.

Northeastern goaltender Aerin Frankel leads the NCAA in GAA (.083) and SV% (.964). The next-closest goaltender in GAA is putting up a 1.27 in the same number of games, which just goes to show how absolutely dominant Frankel has been so far in her junior season. The gap between her SV% and the second-place SV% is sizable, too, as second-place Corinne Schroeder at BU is “only” putting up a .944 SV% in one less game. Given the way that Rooney and Burt struggled behind a flat Team USA in Pittsburgh, it might be that Frankel will get a chance to shine alongside Alex Cavallini, whose strong play has persisted into the PWHPA’s Dream Gap Tour showcases.

Full Roster

Goaltenders: Katie Burt, Alex Cavallini (née Rigsby), Aerin Franknel, Nicole Henlsey, Abbey Levy, Maddie Rooney

Defenders: Cayla Barnes, Kacey Bellamy, Megan Bozek, Emily Brown, Natalie Buchbinder, Jincy Dunne, Kali Flanagan, Skylar Fountaine, Savannah Harmon, Hadley Hartmetz, Megan Keller, Monique Lamoureux-Morando, Emily Matheson (née Pfalzer), Sidney Morin, Lee Stecklein, Madeline Wethington, Skylar Fontaine

Forwards: Hannah Bilka, Hannah Brandt, Sydney Brodt, Dani Cameranesi, Alex Carpenter, Jesse Compher, Kendall Coyne-Schofield, Britta Curl, Sammy Davis, Brianna Decker, Clair DeGeorge, Taylor Heise, Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, Annie Pankowski, Kelly Pannek, Dominique Petrie, Abby Roque, Melissa Samoskevich, Hayley Scamurra, Natalie Snodgrass, Sophia Shaver, Grace Zumwinkle