The 2017-18 U.S. Women’s National Team has only been together for a few months, but Maddie Rooney, a goalie from Andover, has quickly established herself as the top U.S. netminder.
So far, in six games during the team’s “The 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, she 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.
The Stars and Stripes
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 last April. 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 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 teams fell to Duluth East in the section playoffs.
Following her brilliant prep career, Rooney had a number of college scholarship offers and chose the University of Minnesota Duluth.
“I just think it’s a really good atmosphere,” said Rooney. “Fans are great, we have really nice facilities, the 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.