Despite falling short of its goal of a gold medal, Team USA forged bonds both on and off the ice at the 2022 IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship. The team created memories and friendships that will last a lifetime and made their country proud with their performance on the ice.
As the team heads its separate directions, some off to college, some back home for the summer, here are a few final tidbits from this team.
HIGHWAY TO THE DANGER ZONE
After watching the first Top Gun movie on the bus ride from Blaine to Madison, the team decided they needed to find a way to see the second movie that just came out. The day following the final preliminary-round game against Canada, players and staff took a group outing to see Top Gun: Maverick. The film received rave reviews from the team. They loved it so much that ‘Danger Zone’ by Kenny Loggins led off the gold medal-game pre-game playlist.
While in pre-camp in Blaine, head coach Katie Lachapelle had each player and staff member pull a Lego brick out of a bag. They then had to write their name and what they are bringing to the team. Once that was done, the team built a house-like statue from the bricks, as a rallying point for the team.
MADISON, Wis. – The U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team earned silver at the 2022 IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship after a 3-2 loss to Canada in the gold-medal game here tonight at LaBahn Arena.
“We had a little bit of a slow start and we knew it was going to be a tough game,” head coach Katie Lachapelle said. “We weren’t really consistent at the start but we certainly picked it up but just couldn’t get that last one in.”
For the full recap, CLICK HERE.
MADISON, Wis. – Grace Dwyer (Wynnewood, Pa.) scored the game-winning goal with 6:31 to play as the U.S. came from behind in the final period to defeat Sweden, 3-2, and advance to the Gold Medal Game at the 2022 Under-18 Women’s World Championship here tonight at LaBahn Arena.
“We knew we were going to face adversity at some point,” head coach Katie Lachapelle (Lewiston, Maine) said. “Sweden played fantastic. It wasn’t by surprise, because I think our team knows how good they are. I thought our progression was great and I don’t think it’s a bad thing that we had to face a little adversity tonight.”
For the full recap, CLICK HERE.
MADISON, Wis. – Team USA dispatched Canada, 7-0, to finish the IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship preliminary round undefeated and secure the top spot in Group A here tonight at LaBahn Arena in front of 2,180 fans.
“I thought we just played really well all over the ice,” head coach Katie Lachapelle (Lewiston, Maine) said. “It’s all over the ice. We talked about how we’re moving without the puck, being good defensively and smothering that player with the puck. We’ve got some fast kids and they play hard. They are really starting to gel. I think we keep getting better every game.”
With the win, the U.S. heads into the playoff rounds as the top seed, going a perfect 3-0 in preliminary-round play and earning a bye to the semifinal round set for Sunday (June 12) at either 3:30 p.m. ET or 7:30 p.m. ET.
Goaltender Annelies Bergmann (Detroit, Mich.) recorded 25 saves in the shutout. The victory marks the first time the U.S. has blanked Team Canada in the history of the tournament.
For the full recap, CLICK HERE.
MADISON, Wis. – Behind four points (2G, 2A) from Tessa Janecke (Orangeville, Ill.), two goals from Laila Edwards (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) and an 11-save shutout from Ava McNaughton (Seven Fields, Pa.), the U.S. topped Finland 5-0 in the second preliminary-round game of the IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship here tonight at LaBahn Arena.
“I thought we came out pretty hard at the start of the game,” head coach Katie Lachapelle (Lewiston, Maine) said. “It was the same as last night. The team also really answered to get going in the third period too. I love the energy that we’re playing with. We’re pretty happy with how we finished that game.”
For the second straight game, Edwards opened the scoring for Team USA. While on the power play, Edwards cleaned up a rebound from the doorstep 6:48 into the game off a point shot from Sydney Morrow (South Lyon, Mich.).
For the full recap, CLICK HERE.
MADISON, Wis. – The U.S. skated past Sweden, 6-1, in the opening game of the 2022 IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship. Cassie Hall (South Lyon, Mich.) led Team USA with three points (2G, 1A) in the winning effort.
“I thought we came out pretty hard at the start of the game,” head coach Katie Lachapelle (Lewiston, Maine) said. “That was our focus, just focusing on ourselves and making sure we can get our feet moving and play together as a team.”
For full recap and coverage, CLICK HERE.
The team boarded the bus and took the four-hour ride from Blaine, Minnesota to Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday. The ride was filled with movies, Top Gun and Minions, as voted upon by the team, snacks and karaoke, before pulling into the team’s home for the next week.
All eight teams competing are staying in the same hotel, so seeing all the different countries and hearing all the different languages being spoken as you walk through the lobby, is getting everyone excited to actually hit the ice.
After a good night’s rest, the team woke up ready for their first day of practice at LaBahn Arena, the competition venue for Team USA, but before they could do that, there was one important, and fun, task that had to be completed…PICTURE DAY!!!
It was everyone’s favorite day at the rink, it was picture day. The team and staff all took their official event headshots and team photo prior to starting practice. Everyone put on their gameday jerseys and smiles. We’ll let you guess which player took the most amount of takes to get their headshot…
Stay tuned for the official team photo.
The team enjoyed an off day after a hard-earned victory in a pre-tournament scrimmage against Canada. The squad spent the day enjoying the sunny Blaine weather, before the staff organized a special celebration for the graduating seniors on the team.
After a quick morning recovery session, the team took to the soccer fields outside the Super Rink to play a quick game whiffle ball. Team Navy Seals lined up against Team Dolla Bills in an exciting match, and though the final score was kept under wraps, some fun, and sunburn, was had by all.
As a way to celebrate the graduating high school seniors on the team, some of whom are missing their actual high school graduations to play in this tournament, the coaching staff put together a graduation ceremony to celebrate. Ava Svejkovsky, Emma Peschel, Laila Edwards, Sydney Morrow, Danielle Burgen, Elyssa Biederman, Grace Dwyer, Kirsten Simms, Claire Enright, Tessa Janecke and Madison Kaiser all donned caps and jerseys as they accepted their diplomas from the master of ceremonies aka operations manager Jessica Scott, dean aka general manager Katie Million, deputy provost aka general manager Kristen Wright and professor of snipes and cellys, Head Coach Katie Lachapelle.
Today was a special day for the 2022 U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team as they took the ice for the first time for a pre-tournament scrimmage against Canada. For most of the team, it was the first time wearing the U.S. sweater and the excitement and emotions that goes along with that experience was palpable.
The team even had a few local Minnesota Olympians cheering them on from the stands. Lee Stecklein, Maddie Rooney, Nicole Hensley, Kelly Pannek and Abby Roque watched the team and then joined in the locker room for a post-game chat and words of encouragement. A great way to cap off the first game day and lead into the group’s recovery Friday.
The U.S. defeated Canada 3-1 on Thursday afternoon in the team’s only pre-tournament scrimmage in Blaine, Minnesota. Team USA recorded a score in each period in the victory. The two teams played a full game, in which the U.S. outscored Canada, before adding a practice five-minute 3-on-3 period and five-player shootout.
“There was a lot of good energy on the ice today,” head coach Katie Lachapelle said. “We really had our feet moving. We had some highs and lows of the game, but we always came back to even keel in our play. I think it was great to get some competitive play under our belt against somebody else.”
The teams opened the contest with a back-and-forth pace to the game, trading early offensive opportunities. Emma Peschel (Edina, Minn.) broke the scoreless tie midway through the first, hitting the back of the net off a feed at the point from Elyssa Biederman (Franklin, Mich.). Canada responded with a strong offensive push of its own, but goaltender Annelies Bergmann (Detroit, Mich.) blockered away multiple point-blank shots to keep the U.S. up 1-0.
A late first-period penalty carried the momentum for Team USA into the second, as they posted three quality shots on goal in the first minute of the middle period, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Instead, Team USA’s defense took center stage, killing off multiple Canadian power plays and neutralizing the opposing attack.
Kelly Gorbatenko (Barrington, Ill.) doubled the U.S. lead with a little over a minute left in the second. Sydney Morrow (Darien, Conn.) took a drop pass from Laila Edwards (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) weaving through the defense down the center, before finding a wide-open Gorbatenko who buried the score.
Late in the third, Canada cut the deficit to 2-1 after a high shot from right inside the blue line snuck past Ava McNaughton (Seven Fields, Pa.). With 1:07 left in the game, Ava Lindsay (Minnetonka, Minn.) recorded the empty-net goal for the 3-1 decision.
NOTES: Canada outshot the U.S. 32-28… Team USA was 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and Team Canada was 4-for-4… The teams played a scoreless overtime period before doing a five-player shootout. Team USA won the shootout by a score of 4-1.
Wednesday was a special day off the ice for the U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team, as the team voted on and announced its captain and alternate captains. Danielle Burgen (Lindstrom, Minn.) will wear the ‘C’ as captain, while Kirsten Simms (Plymouth, Mich.) and Laila Edwards (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) will serve as alternate captains. Both Burgen and Simms were members of the 2020 gold medal-winning Under-18 Women’s Nationals Team and are the only two players on the roster who have competed at U18 WWC more than once.
Three-time Olympian Brianna Decker zoomed into the team meeting to deliver the exciting news to the team. Decker, who competed as a player in the tournament in 2008 and 2009, also took the opportunity to pass on a few words of wisdom as well. “Any time you can put on the USA jersey, whether it’s a camp, a tournament, or practice, it’s always an honor,” Decker said to the team. “It’s incredible that you have this opportunity and honor ahead of you.”
Laila Edwards: “It’s nothing short of an honor to be named to the leadership group on this team. To hear my name being called as the alternate captain is one of those ‘pinch-me moments.’ Leadership is very important when it comes to success and I think our whole team is full of leaders. I got butterflies in my stomach when they called my name because it almost didn’t feel real. It’s something that I’ve dreamed about and I’m incredibly appreciative and honored. I won’t forget that feeling every time I put on the jersey, every time I’m in the locker room and every time I take the ice.”
Kirsten Simms: “It’s a huge honor to be named an alternate captain of this team. This group has waited a long time to be able to play in this tournament and I’m excited to be able to lead this great group of people both on and off the ice. I’m excited to get the opportunity to play in this tournament again, especially since we’ve had to wait over two years since the last one. Getting the chance to wear a letter, and seeing some of the people that I played with two years ago who I looked up to then, and now being in the same position is something I don’t take for granted.”
Day two of pre-camp started much like the first, with a high-paced, spirited practice. The team is continuing to gel on the ice and continues to gain confidence in playing with each other. Practice wrapped with a shootout game and for the second consecutive day, the white team came out on top. Forward Kirsten Simms had the honor of being mic’d up during practice, so keep your eyes peeled for a funny video of the team’s on-ice shenanigans.
The team closes out most days with a team bonding activity. Yesterday, the group was split into five teams for a game and trivia night. Players participated in blindfolded portrait drawing, music trivia and handless cookie eating. There were lots of smiles and plenty of laughs to go around for both the team and staff.
23 – number of players representing Team USA at the 2022 IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship.
2 – returners from the gold medal-winning Under-18 Women’s World Championship team from 2020. Danielle Burgen and Kirsten Simms are set to take the ice for the U.S. for the second time.
7 – number of players who hail from the state of hockey, Minnesota. It’s the most-represented state on the roster.
3 – number of players committed to play for the University of Wisconsin as part of the class of 2022. Laila Edwards, Kirsten Simms and Claire Enright are all set to return to LaBahn arena in the fall to play collegiately at the University of Wisconsin.
14 – number of youth hockey programs represented on the roster. Six players won 2022 USA Hockey Girls National Championships, as three were with Little Caesars 19U, who won the 19U title and another three on Minnesota Grey Elite, who won the 16U title.
After a five-month delay, the 2022 U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team FINALLY convened in Minnesota for the start of pre-camp for the Under-18 Women’s World Championship, set to take place in Madison, Wisconsin from June 6-13. The tournament, which was originally postponed from January in Sweden due to COVID, is happening during a summer of rescheduled hockey tournaments. Tickets for the championship can be found HERE.
The team, which is the same team that was announced originally back in October, features 13 forwards, seven defenders and three goaltenders.
The group hit the ice filled with months of built up anticipation. Practice was filled with smiles, excitement and energy. After a few interviews with local media, the team fueled up with lunch and spent the afternoon doing dry-land shooting and team bonding.
“The first couple days of practice have been great, there’s lots of energy. We’re moving, we’re taking everything in and we’re learning,” head coach Katie Lachapelle said. “The team’s been really bonding and having that energy. I’m really excited about our group. I love the energy that they’re playing with and the speed with right now.”
1. Pre-camp is taking place at the National Sport Center Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota. This is the same rink the 2022 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team held their Olympic residency in the lead up to Beijing.
2. The U18 team will be practicing on the same ice and using the same facilities as the Olympic team did. There was a locker room renovation prior to the start of Olympic residency in September 2021. The facilities now emulate the storied history and success of the U.S. Women’s National Team program.
3. The team will be in Blaine for a week before making the four-hour drive to Madison on Saturday, June 4 for the start of the tournament.
4. Team USA is not the only team holding pre-camp in the Twin Cities area. Team Canada and Team Finland will also be preparing in Minneapolis. Team Canada will be practicing at the Super Rink as well.
5. Team USA will scrimmage against Team Canada on June 2. Puck drop is set for 3 p.m. CT at the National Sports Center Super Rink in Blaine. A stream will be available via Live Barn.