A year has made quite the difference in Maddie Rooney’s hockey career. The 2015 Andover High School graduate grew into her role as the starting goalie for the University of Minnesota Duluth women’s team. Her improvement has been rewarded in recent weeks.
Rooney set a Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Face-Off record for saves with 112 in two games from March 4-5 as the Bulldogs qualified for the NCAA Tournament. Two days later, the sophomore was named to the U.S. Hockey Women’s National Team.
Rooney will compete in the International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship in Plymouth, Michigan.
It’s her first time on the senior national team.
“I was really excited, but a little bit surprised,” Rooney said. “If you would have told me I was going to be on the national team back in September, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. I’m really excited for it and humbled by it. I’m excited to get things going with USA hockey.”
Rooney travels to Michigan on March 21. Games begin March 31 with the medal games April 7. The U.S. has played in every IIHF Women’s World Championship and has won 17 medals, seven gold and 10 silver.
Rooney is also going to an Olympic selection camp on April 29.
“It’s been every hockey kid’s dream to play here,” she said. “I want to take the experience all in and take every coach’s advice. I want to do whatever I can to contribute to the team.”
Rooney has made huge improvements in her game from her freshman to sophomore season at UMD. Competing with two seniors in the net, she played in 19 games as a freshman, going 5-12, and was named to the 2015-16 All-WCHA Rookie Team.
This season, Rooney held her spot between the pipes.
UMD went 25-7-5. Its season came to an end March 11 in the first round of the national tournament with a 1-0 loss to Minnesota, the two-time defending champions. Rooney entered the tournament ranked fifth in the NCAA with a .942 save percentage and the nation’s third most saves. She had the seventh best winning percentage of .764, as well as the seventh most shutouts with six.
“Playing in the WCHA for a year gave me great confidence going into this year,” Rooney said. “Getting into a rhythm and being able to play every game has also given me confidence.”
Rooney has used her past experiences to help prepare her for the present. She decided to play for the Andover boys varsity hockey team her senior year to get ready for the college level. In 25 games during the 2014-15 season, Rooney recorded 650 saves with a save percentage of .910.
“That was for sure the best decision I made,” Rooney said. “It was a great experience playing at that elite level. The shots are just faster and the speed is faster. It definitely prepared me for college.”
Rooney used her experience as a college freshman to raise her game to a new level as a sophomore. Now she has the chance to take what she did this season and bring it to the national team.