Team USA has three players making their debut with the U.S. Women’s National Team at the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship, including defenseman Kali Flanagan (Burlington, Mass.), forward Kelly Pannek (Plymouth, Minn.) and goaltender Maddie Rooney (Andover, Minn.). We recently caught up with all three players to get their reflections on the first handful of days in a Team USA sweater.
“Representing Team USA means a lot to me,” said Rooney, who picked up a shutout victory against Russia in her first career start last Saturday afternoon. “I grew up dreaming to play on this team. I grew up watching this team. Now that I’m here, I’m just honored to play with the top players in this country.”
The three players, all of which played college hockey in 2016-17, also commented on the increased speed of the game in comparison to the collegiate level.
“That first game of the tournament was probably the fastest game so far for us,” explained Pannek, who led the nation with 62 points and 43 assists this past season at the University of Minnesota. “At this level there’s really no time to figure it out. You just have to jump in with both feet and run with it.”
Flanagan, who received Hockey East Honorable Mention accolades this year, gave credit to the older players on the team for being positive and encouraging throughout.
“They just want you to get into the game and be as comfortable as possible,” said Flanagan. “It’s all about just getting out there and making an impact.”
For complete coverage of Team USA at the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship, click here.
|Date||Opponent||Round||Time (ET)/Result||U.S. Player of Game|
|Fri., March 31||Canada||Preliminary||W, 2-0||Nicole Hensley|
|Sat., April 1||Russia||Preliminary||W, 7-0||Kendall Coyne|
|Mon., April 3||Finland||Preliminary||W, 5-3||Hannah Brandt|
|Thurs., April 6||Germany||Semifinal||W, 11-0||Kendall Coyne|
|Fri., April 7||Canada||Gold-Medal Game||W, 3-2 OT||Kacey Bellamy|