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2022 Women's World Championship Preview: Team USA

Can USA return to the top step of the women's World Championship podium and snag gold? Here's a look at how the roster shapes up.
Megan Keller, Kendall Coyne, Hilary Knight

If any team will unseat Canada from their reigning World Championship and Olympic glory, it’s the United States. 

The USA will enter hungry to reclaim their World Championship domination having won eight of the last ten titles. This season's roster returns much of the firepower from their silver medal team at the Beijing Olympics. In fact, 18 of the 23 players named to their roster participated in Beijing. 

Will it be enough to regain gold? Here is a look at how Team USA’s roster stacks up ahead of the 2022 World Championship in Denmark.

Team USA Returning A Strong Core

Hilary Knight returns for her twelfth World Championship, while Kendall Coyne Schofield is back for her ninth go-around, and they will again be cornerstones to the attack. Amanda Kessel trailed only Knight in American scoring at the Olympics and will again factor into the American offensive plans, as does Abby Roque who emerged in Beijing to demonstrate the physical tools needed to dominate in the corners, and maintain puck possession for the USA. Each of the USA’s top 10 scorers from Beijing return, which should definitely worry a team like Canada.

On the blueline, six members of the Beijing Olympic roster return including Savannah Harmon who scored a point-per-game from the blueline at the tournament. It’s a young, yet experienced blueline. The keys to the USA’s backend, however, are Megan Keller, Lee Stecklein, and Cayla Barnes. Stecklein in particular will be tasked with shutting down the opposition’s top lines.

There is no certainty in who will become the starter among the USA’s trio of goaltenders. Maddie Rooney and Nicole Hensley have both earned World Championship and Olympic starts in recent years, while NCAA netminder Aerin Frankel is also in the mix.

Decker Not Ready To Return, Cavallini Absent

Brianna Decker is the most notable absence from Team USA’s 2022 World Championship roster. The 31-year-old broke her leg in the opening game of the Beijing Olympics and is still recovering. Her experience, including as the 2016-2017 World Championship MVP, 2020-2021 Top 3 Player on Team honouree, and two-time NWHL MVP will be missed up front by the USA. 

Alex Cavallini ended up as the USA’s starter in the Beijing Olympics posting a 1.27 GAA and .923 save percentage in four games. The netminder is pregnant and will not attend. Aside from Decker and Cavallini, the American roster also misses Megan Bozek and Dani Cameranesi, who retired from this winter’s Olympic squad.

New Faces Stepping In

Team USA will welcome four young NCAA standouts to this World roster. Before joining the University of Minnesota, Taylor Heise racked up three gold medals with the USA’s U-18 team, and was named tournament MVP in her final go-round in 2017-2018. Last season, she won the Patty Kazmaier Award as the NCAA’s top player after scoring 29 goals and 66 points in only 39 games with Minnesota. 

Joining Heise up front is another national team rookie in Boston College’s Hannah Bilka who has speed to burn, and fellow NCAA standout Lacey Eden. Eden plays for the University of Wisconsin and suited up for USA at the last World Championship before being left off the Olympic roster. Rory Guilday will be one of two 19-year-old defenders in the lineup fresh off of her first season of NCAA competition with Cornell.

With much of the team's star power returning and a fresh infusion of talent, the USA could be the team to beat at the 2022 World Championship when it gets underway on Aug. 25.

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