During the winter, I am the goalie coach for the nationally-ranked Gustavus Adolphus College women’s hockey team. We have four goalies on our roster this year including one who earned All-American honors last season.
Recently, we faced-off UW-River Falls, another top 10 ranked team, in a non-conference series in what’s developed into a highly competitive rivalry. They beat us twice last season, before we upset the them in the national tournament to advance to the NCAA Frozen Four.
In the first game of the series in December, River Falls outplayed us, and outshot us 33-16, but our All-American netminder played well and we escaped with a 4-3 victory.
Before the rematch, I suggested to our head coach (my older brother) that we mix it up when it came to our goalie situation. I thought we should look at game two as an excellent development opportunity for all the goalies on our team.
So I outlined a plan to rest our All-American and play our other three goalies one period a piece. He agreed with the idea. At their home rink in the second game of the series, our junior started the game and played the first period, our first-year goalie made her collegiate debut in the second, and our lone sophomore came in to play in the third.
It turned out to be one of our best games so far this year. Even though we were outshot 27-23, our trio of goalies played well and led us to a thrilling 2-1 win.
All three goalies were very excited about being able to play and help us beat the Falcons. It also gave them valuable game experience as we head into the second half of the season looking to build on our 8-1-1 record.
The 2017-18 U.S. Women’s National Team has only been together for a few months, but Maddie Rooney, a goalie from Andover, Minnesota, has quickly established herself as the top U.S. netminder.
So far, in six games during the team’s “Time is Now Tour” and Four Nations Cup, Rooney is unbeaten at 4-0, with a goals against average of 1.75.
Rooney is one of six Minnesotans on the team, and at age 20, is the youngest player on the roster. They’re preparing for 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea in February.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Rooney said. “It’s going to be an awesome experience, really humbled by the opportunity.”
And she is also looking forward to coming home Sunday, Dec. 3, as the U.S. team faces off against Canada in an exhibition game at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Rooney participated in several USA Hockey Development Camps during her high school and collegiate career.
She made the U.S. National Team that won the Gold Medal in the 2017 Women’s World Championship in Michigan. In her first start in goal for Team USA, Rooney earned a 14-save shutout in a 7-0 win over Russia.
“I was so nervous going to into the game,” she recalled. “But after you get first the shot you’re fine. It was really cool to play with them, it was a great experience.”
A few days later, Rooney and the Americans celebrated the World Championship with a thrilling 3-2 overtime win against Canada.
“I wasn’t suited up for the game,” Rooney recalled, “but when Hillary Knight scored, I sprinted out on the ice and fell about five times. I’ll never forget it.”
And something else she won’t soon forget is when she found out in May that she was one of three goalies named to the U.S. team that’s preparing for the Olympic Games. “I was told and was really overjoyed,” she said. “I called my parents right after, it was great.”
Rooney began playing hockey when she was five years old. She started out as a forward but eventually switched to goalie during her second year of squirts.
“I was into it but not that into it,” she admitted, “but then I went to goalie and just loved it.”
As she moved into peewees, her parents bought her a set of leg pads. “I had these gold pads since I played for Andover,” Rooney said. “I thought they were the coolest things ever and I remember when I first got those, I kept them by my bed all night.”
Rooney played peewees and bantams for Andover before joining the girls high school team. As a junior, she led the Huskies to their first appearance in the Class “AA” State High School Tournament. They lost to Eden Prairie in the quarterfinals, but rallied to beat Burnsville and Mound View to earn the consolation title. Rooney was named to the All-Tournament Team.
While girls hockey was enjoyable for her, Rooney switched to the boys team as a senior. “I liked the challenge, I liked the quick pace,” she said. “I basically played with the same guys team that I did growing up, so it was just a lot of fun.”
The Andover boys team fell to Duluth East in the section playoffs.
Following her brilliant prep career, Rooney had a number of college hockey scholarship offers and chose the University of Minnesota Duluth.
“I just think it’s a really good atmosphere,” said Rooney. “Fans are great, got a really nice facilities, staff is great and the people I have met there are awesome.”
Rooney has played two years for the Bulldogs and will have two years of eligibility remaining after the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
NOTE: Maddie attended the Carroll Goalie School in her early days as a goalie.
I had the opportunity to be part of two USA Hockey goalie clinics this past weekend, one in Duluth and one in Brooklyn Park. The clinics were designed to teach youth hockey coaches of all skill levels how to effectively work with and develop goalies.
The clinics included a series of classroom presentations as well as an on-ice sessions where the coaches ran a goalie practice with drills they developed at the clinics. They also had a chance to try various goalie-specific skating movements.
Phil Osaer, USA Hockey ADM manger for goaltending
Emily West, USA Hockey ADM manager for female hockey
Paddy Elsmore, goalie coach for College of St. Scholastica women’s hockey team
Justin Johnson, former University of Minnesota men’s goalie coach
Brennan Poderzay, regional scout for USA Hockey’s National Development Program.
The clinics are latest in the series of initiatives focused on boosting the recruitment and development of goaltenders in Minnesota.
More than 60 coaches from Minnesota and Wisconsin attended the goalie coaching clinics.
I was recently invited to give a presentation on goalie development to more than 300 high school and youth hockey coaches who were at the 2017 State Of Hockey High Performance Coaching Summit. The two-day event was held in the Roy Wilkins Auditorium – River Centre in St. Paul.
Following my hour long presentation, participants headed to the Xcel Energy Center for an on-ice demonstration session. And it was cool to skate at the X for the first time.
On the ice, the coaches were divided into three groups and rotate between the stations. I ran the goalie development station. We discussed various aspects of goaltending including angles and goalie-specific skating techniques.
I had the opportunity to play goalie for the Minnesota State Mankato, men’s hockey, formerly know at Mankato State University.
And our teams did well. All four years we advanced to the NCAA Division II Final Four. We won the national title once, finished second once and third twice. Most our players cam from the Twin Cities area.
And so how cool is this? As part of the school’s sesquicentennial celebration, a photo of our national championship team is on the side panel of a city of Mankato bus. Who knew that 37 years after winning the national title, we were be honored on a city bus as part of the school’s 150th anniversary.
This was a fun goalie reunion. Years ago, a young boy by the name of Dominik came to my goalie school as a 6-year-old. Even though he was new to the position, you could tell he was into it and he had a grand old time. Turns out, it was the only opportunity I had to work with him during his youth hockey days.
Now fast forward to August 2017. Dominik and I are reunited on the ice in St. Cloud. He earned a spot at a goalie camp I was coaching at. It was great to see him after all these years!
Dominik is going to be a sophomore in high school this fall. It’s fun and rewarding to see goalies who I have worked with grow up, continue to develop their goaltending skills and love the game of hockey.
Just finished up working at the 2017 Minnesota Hockey Dave Peterson CCM High Performance Camp that was held, Aug. 3-6, at St. Cloud State University.
The four-day, invite-only goalie development program, now in its 13th year, is designed to improve the individual skills and techniques of goalies in the 15-to 18-year-old age group.
I think it’s extremely important that Minnesota Hockey provides high-level skill development opportunities for boys and girls in this age group.
These are highly motivated athletes who are determined to improve their skills and overall game so they can help their high school teams achieve success. Many of the participants have their sights set on playing college hockey and beyond.
Training was led by a combination of Minnesota’s top college and high school goalie coaches.
We were also joined this year by Phil Osaer, manager of goaltending, for USA Hockey’s American Development Model.
Three current Minnesota goalies from NCAA Division I and Division III hockey teams serves as on-ice demonstrators/counselors. This year’s counselors were David Zevnik, Lakeville, St. Cloud State University; Lauren Bench, Burnsville, Bemidji State University; Ashley Corcoran, Red Wing, Saint Mary’s University.
Goalies who made their district/section teams in the Minnesota Hockey CCM High Performance boys and girls programs were invited to participate in the camp. The goalies got 12 hours of on-ice training and about 12 hours of off-ice instruction. The off-ice topics included sports performance training, nutrition, hockey after high school, vision training and goalie yoga.
Former participants include:
Charlie Lindgren, Lakeville, who played at St. Cloud State and is in the Montreal Canadiens organization.
Zane McIntyre, Thief River Falls, who played at North Dakota and won the Mike Richter Award as college hockey’s top goalie before signing a pro contract with the Boston Bruins organization.
Alex Lyon, Baudette, played at Yale University before signing contract with the Philadelphia Flyers organization.
Jenna Boss, Roseville, won the 2014 NCAA Women’s National Hockey Championship with Clarkson University.
Emma May, Eagan, won the 2016 NCAA Women’s Hockey National Championship with the University of Minnesota.
Shyler Sletta, New Prague, 2012, 2013, 2015 NCAA National Championship teams with University of Minnesota.
The camp is named in honor of Dave Peterson, a former Minneapolis Southwest High School hockey coach, who was a passionate leader in goalie development. Peterson also served as head coach of the U.S. Men’s Olympic hockey teams in 1988 and 1992.
I had a wonderful opportunity to visit with Maddie Rooney the other day. She is a goalie from Andover, Minnesota who just finished her sophomore season at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
Maddie is taking this upcoming year off from school as she has been named to the 2017-18 U.S. Women’s National Team that is preparing for the 2018 Winter Olympics. She is one of three goalies on the U.S. team and the first Minnesota goalie to have a chance at playing in the Olympic Games.
I met her at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine where she was getting ready to play in a men’s league game.
I interviewed her for an upcoming article on Minnesota Hockey’s website. As we were visiting, Maddie mentioned that she attended my goalie school when she was a youngster.
She also brought along her gold medal that she won in the 2017 World Championships.
Players and staff for the 2017-18 U.S. Women’s National Team will relocate to the Tampa area in early September.
During the residency period in the Tampa suburb of Wesley Chapel, players will train at Florida Hospital Center Ice in preparation for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
As a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, Maddie played in one International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship (gold-2017)
As a member of the U.S. Women’s Under-18 Select Team, played in one Under-18 Series vs. Canada (2013)
Attended the 2014 Girls’ U18 Player Development Camp, 2013 Girls’ U18 Player Development Camp and 2012 Girls’ 15 Player Development Camp.
IIHF Women’s World Championship
Earned a shutout in her National Team debut in preliminary round against Russia
All-WCHA Third Team
Started 37 regular-season contests for the Bulldogs in 2016-17, backstopping the team to a 25-7-5 record in those games with a .942 save percentage and 1.65 goals-against average
Played 19 games for the Bulldogs in her freshman campaign, posting two shutouts en route to being named to the 2015-16 Western Collegiate Hockey Association All-Rookie Team.
Pre-business major at Minnesota Duluth
Led the Andover High School girls’ hockey team to its first-ever Class 2A state tournament appearance in 2014, where she also made the All-Tournament Team and received All-Conference and All-State Honorable mention accolades
UPDATE: I wrote this story a few days before NHL draft in June. Lakeville’s Jake Oettinger was taken in the first round (26th overall) by the Dallas Stars. He became the highest drafted Minnesota goalie.
By Steve Carroll
It didn’t take long for Jake Oettinger to get hooked on being a goalie. In fact, all it took was one game after he had a chance to strap on the pads with his Farmington, Minnesota squirt team.
“I tried it, loved it and stuck with it,” he said. And he eventually would become the go-to goalie for his peewee team that won more than 50 games.
“I liked being able to have huge impact in every game and the spotlight that comes with being a goalie,” he said.
In ninth grade, Oettinger moved to Lakeville North High School where he led the Panthers to a runner-up finish in the State Tournament in St. Paul.
“It was unbelievable,” he recalled. “Probably one of the most fun years of my life playing hockey, playing in state is such a cool experience.”
After his freshman year, he made the United States National Team Development Program in Michigan, where he spent to next two seasons. And he enjoyed plenty of success on those teams including leading his U.S. squad to a gold medal at the 2015 U18 World Championships.
“It was great,” he said. “It was difficult moving away from home, but it was definitely worth it. I’m really happy I went there.”And he also excelled in the classroom. He accelerated his academics so he graduated from high school in little over two years.
During his time in Michigan, he had developed into one of the nation’s most sought after high school goalies and had plenty of college scholarship offers to choose from.
He selected Boston University. “I went on a visit, loved the city and the coaches, the goalie coach, thought it would be a great fit and it was,” he said.
And he quickly earned the starting spot, playing college hockey as a freshman in what could have been his senior year in high school.
Oettinger played in 35 games for the Terriers, posting a 21-11-3 record, with 2.11 goals against average and a save percentage of .927. His outstanding play earned him a spot on the Hockey East All-Rookie Team and the All-Conference second team.
By far his favorite memory from the first season was beating North Dakota 4-3 in double overtime in the NCAA Regional Tournament, before a packed house in Fargo, North Dakota. Oettinger made 56 saves in that game.
Now fast forward to this summer, where the 6-4, 218 pound netminder is now an 18-year-old and a top pro prospect.
According to NHL Central Scouting, Oettinger is the number one rated North American goalie and projected to be picked late in the first round or early in the second round in this weekend’s draft.
If that happens, he would be the first Minnesota goalie taken that high in the NHL Draft.
“It’s going to be a once of a lifetime experience,” he said. “Really excited to have a ton of family and friends with me in Chicago. It’s going to be an awesome weekend.”
Oettinger has met with every NHL team but doesn’t know or care which club will select him.
“I’d love to play for any team,” he said.
But regardless of where he goes in the draft, Oettinger plans to return to Boston University this fall.
“I think I have a whole lot of unfinished business at BU, so I don’t really know yet when that time will come, (to turn pro). I know it’s going to have a lot to do with how hard I work and how good I play.”