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U.S. Women’s Hockey Team Takes New Approach For The 2022 World Championship

by Nicole Haase

(L-R) Hannah Brandt and Hilary Knight react to scoring a goal in the second period during the women's gold-medal match against Team Canada at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 17, 2022 in Beijing.


A new coaching staff for the U.S. women’s hockey team has the group playing with a new mentality and a new style at the 2022 IIHF Women’s World Championship currently taking place in Frederikshavn and Herning, Denmark. The Americans hope these changes will also bring a change of fortune.
The past 365 days did not go as the U.S. would have liked. 
This time last year, the Americans fell short of the world championships title for the first time since 2012 when they dropped a 3-2 game in overtime to rival Canada. Prior to 2021, the U.S. had won eight of the previous nine world championship titles, including five straight dating back to 2013.
A few months after those world championships, the U.S. made a run back to the Olympic gold-medal game in Beijing in February. However, this time they fell 3-2 to Canada in regulation.
The Americans are looking to start a new streak, and goaltender Maddie Rooney says the changes have helped them have a short memory.
“It feels like a fresh start,” said Rooney, who starred in Team USA’s 2018 run to the Olympic gold medal. “A breath of fresh air after an unfortunate outcome in February. We’re turning the page from that and hitting the ground running with the new coaching staff. This tournament is definitely the next chapter and the next challenge we’re facing.”
The U.S. and Canada will meet on Tuesday at 2 pm ET in the final opening-round game for both teams in Group A.
Both teams are 3-0 going into the game following Team USA’s 9-0 win over Switzerland on Monday. In this tournament format, each team in Group A automatically advances to the quarterfinals.
The Americans will face a short turnaround for the grudge match, however, having just about 24 hours between playing Switzerland and Canada, while Canada will have two days rest between its 9-0 defeat of Japan on Sunday and puck drop on Tuesday.
Though the U.S. team features some familiar names — three-time Olympian Amanda Kessel is among the tournament’s leading scorers, with three goals and three assists through two games — the overall makeup of the U.S. team has changed in recent months.

Kendall Coyne Schofield walks onto the ice during the women's semifinal against Team Finland at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 14, 2022 in Beijing.


The U.S. is without longtime forward Brianna Decker, one of its top offensive players, since she broke her leg during the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. Number one goalie Alex Cavallini is on maternity leave. Under new head coach John Wroblewski, the offense has been less focused on veterans Hilary Knight and Kendall Coyne Schofield, too. 
Meanwhile, there are eight players on the roster who are still playing in college. Of those players, Taylor Heise of the University of Minnesota has stood out the most, as her two goals and six assists (eight points) have been the combined most in the tournament following Monday’s game.
Overall, the U.S. is playing a quicker, more aggressive game from start to finish. There is a focus on winning battles along the boards, shooting the puck and playing with high energy. Time on ice is being evenly distributed across the roster. 
After Saturday’s 6-1 win over Finland, Wroblewski talked about player roles and finding production across the line sheet. 
“Having superstars is huge,” he said. “Without them you’d have a very difficult time advancing and winning games. But having superstars doesn’t help unless you have momentum players, as well. You've got to have people doing different jobs.
“My experience in international hockey is that you’re hopefully going to have a different hero every night. Every night there could be someone who surprises you with that extra performance. We’re going to utilize the bench in every way we can and hopefully we’ll continue to get those outstanding performances.”
The players seem to be responding. Both Rooney and alternate captain Lee Stecklein called it predictability of play for one another. It makes things easier to read in front of the net for the goalies and establishes trust in what each player is going to do on the ice, they said. 
Most importantly, the U.S. has shown improvement each step of the way, from pre-tournament camp to practices and games. Wroblewski spoke about a long-term approach. While he’s happy with the team’s first two victories, the objective is not simply to go out and win games. There is a long-term approach that involves progress, not just in this tournament, but beyond. His players understand that. 
“We’re finding ways to fine-tune our team play and really analyzing (ourselves) every opportunity we get, because we're not perfect. But we're going to keep growing every game,” Rooney said. “Our end goal is to be on the podium at the end of the final game. We're just chipping away, working towards that every day and every chance that we get.”

Nicole Haase is a freelancer for on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.