Corinne Schroeder just wanted to settle in with her new team. Making her first start with Quinnipiac as a graduate transfer and cruising to a 5-1 win against Maine Sept. 25 last year, a typical kick save helped the goaltender break the ice – and make history.
With her Bobcats on a delayed penalty, Schroeder’s rebound ended up in the Black Bears’ possession. But Maine misplayed the puck, sending it down the ice into its own empty net. More focused on the penalty kill ahead, Schroeder saw her name on the scoreboard and thought, “I guess that means I scored.”
That made the 22-year-old the first goaltender in NCAA women’s hockey history to score a goal. But moreover, Schroeder is believed to be the first goal-scoring goalie at any of the sport’s highest levels. Their Hockey Counts and Giants in the Crease, websites that track historic women’s hockey statistics, have yet to discover evidence of a goalie goal at the professional level, and there’s never been one on the international stage, either.
“It was a weird thing just to have to stay mentally focused,” Schroeder said. “It was a really, really good entrance to the season and this new group that I had just joined.”
Now she’s aiming for another comfortable transition, this time to the professional game. After finishing third in the NCAA with a .951 save percentage and sixth with a 1.44 goals-against average in her final year of eligibility, Schroeder enters the 2022 free-agent class as one of the top goaltending prospects.
Where she ends up, though, remains unknown. The Premier Hockey Federation and Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association have announced improvements to salaries and benefits, which should allow some players to make hockey a full-time job. Schroeder has reached out to both and awaits more information on what each league has to offer before she makes her decision. “There are so many options,” Schroeder said. “It’s a really exciting time for women’s hockey. I would love to be back home in Canada, if not Manitoba. But I think relocating somewhere new would be pretty exciting as well. Just a new experience, new place.”
Before transferring to Quinnipiac in 2021, the native of Elm Creek, Man., played for Boston University. In four years with the Terriers, Schroeder set program records with a 1.98 GAA and .929 SP over 91 games.
During her sophomore season, Schroeder backstopped Boston University to a coveted Beanpot championship. Schroeder made 31 saves in a 4-3 shootout victory over Northeastern in the semifinal, then posted another 30 stops in the Terriers’ 3-2 overtime triumph versus Harvard.
In each of her first three seasons at BU, Schroeder showed marked improvement, going from a 2.51 GAA in her freshman campaign to a 1.54 mark in her junior season. Her SP improved from .913 to .943 in that stretch. She credits increased responsibility leading to greater confidence and better numbers.
“I think having a mindset that you can always improve is a big thing,” Schroeder said. “As I got older and became the more senior goalie on a team, it was more weight on my shoulders, but I didn’t think of it as pressure. I just thought of it as, ‘This is my responsibility now.’ People are counting on me a little more than they were in my freshman year when I was new and didn’t know college hockey all that well.”
A senior season that limited Schroeder to eight starts due to the COVID-19 pandemic left her wanting more. “I just felt like it wasn’t fulfilling,” she said. “Another year was really a blessing.” But with NCAA players granted an extra year of eligibility, Schroeder found herself in a bind. The Terriers would have four netminders fighting for ice time for 2021-22. From an educational standpoint, she wanted to wrap up a graduate degree – an MBA – in one year.
“The fact that I could get another degree out of it, even better,” said Schroeder, who aims to eventually start her own physical-therapy practice after she’s finished with hockey. “I really wanted to just finish well and finish in a good state. I didn’t want to just leave and be done with it.”
The move to Quinnipiac proved fruitful across the board. Her 1.44 GAA and .951 SP were career bests, as were the six shutouts she posted. And then there was the little matter of that historic goal, too.
Schroeder also experienced the NCAA tournament for the first time, earning a shutout in a 4-0 victory over Syracuse in the first round. She recorded a program-record 73 saves in a 4-3 double-overtime loss in the quarterfinal to eventual champion Ohio State.
“I’ve been a part of some great teams, but this year was pretty amazing to finish it off,” she said. “I wish I had more time here, but I think we had an amazing season.”
Professional teams seeking crease help can expect to gain a solid, technical netminder who plays a hybrid style. Listing
Pekka Rinne and Sami Jo Small as goalies she appreciates, Schroeder says her 5-foot-11 frame influences a conservative style, but she can be “aggressive at the same time. I will go for pucks that are a little outside my reach. There are moments when I just really work to make some weird plays that probably are a little riskier.”
That includes a willingness to take shots on net. Though she hasn’t had an opportunity to fire a puck on the opposing net in a game, she takes her share of shots in practice.
“No one can say, ‘Oh, I don’t practice it.’ You shoot pucks down the ice all the time mid-practice, as coaches are explaining something. I can’t say I’ve spent a lot of time practicing, but I shoot down (the ice) the whole time. I don’t know if I’d be able to score a goal that way if I wanted, but I’m sure I could maybe do it one day.”