RMU grad selected to U.S. Women's Hockey Olympic team
It's been nearly four years, but hearing “Oh Canada” still makes Brianne McLaughlin cringe.
McLaughlin was a goaltender for the U.S. Women's Hockey team that lost to Canada, 2-0, in the gold medal game of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
“These last couple of years I've really realized the rivalry between the two countries,” McLaughlin said. “It's fun and it could be a lot more interesting and we can be friends off the ice, but when the puck drops, it's a battle.”
The 2011 Robert Morris graduate will get another crack at an elusive gold medal in Sochi, Russia, after it was announced Monday she was one of three goaltenders selected for the 2014 U.S. Olympic team.
“This was a lot different than the first because I was a lot more into it,” McLaughlin said. “The last time was my first time, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But this time around I had spent time with the team for the last three-and-a-half years, had gone through the process and I guess my first reaction was relief.”
To prepare for the Olympic team tryout, McLaughlin resigned during her first full year as a paid assistant coach for the Robert Morris women's hockey team to devote her time to training. Even after the Olympics, she has no plans to return to the Colonials program, but will instead devote her time to private, individualized hockey instruction.
Before that happens, though, she has a trip to Russia planned for early February and, hopefully, a rematch with Team Canada when she gets there.
“I think the staff here came in right after the last Olympics and really set the bar high for everybody,” McLaughlin said. “I think we're awesome to watch. There hasn't been a day at camp where one player or another doesn't amaze you with something they can do.”
McLaughlin was a part of the 2011 and 2013 teams that won gold at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Women's Championships as well as the 2012 team that won silver.
During her time at RMU, she stopped a NCAA-record 3,809 shots. She was a four-time All-CHA honoree and also earned national defensive player of the week awards on three occasions. She holds program records in saves (3,809), saves per game (31.74) and shutouts (eight).