The United States begins its quest for a second consecutive Olympic gold medal in women’s hockey Thursday, facing Finland in a preliminary round game in Beijing, with a roster including defenseman Cayla Barnes, who was raised in Eastvale.
Barnes is among 11 players on the 23-player U.S. roster who played for the team in the 2018 Olympics.
Barnes, then 19, was the youngest U.S. hockey player in the 2018 Pyeongchang Games and the shortest at 5 feet, 1 inch tall.
The U.S. did not allow a goal when Barnes was on the ice in its five games in the 2018 Olympics, which concluded with a 3-2 shootout victory over Canada for its first gold medal in women’s hockey since the inaugural 1998 competition.
Barnes played for the Los Angeles Junior Kings and Lady Ducks before attending New Hampton School, a boarding school in New Hampton, New Hampshire. She helped lead the Huskies to the first New England Preparatory School Athletic Council Division I championship in 2017.
Barnes was also a member of the U.S. team that won the gold medal at the 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship and selected to the tournament all-star team, and the silver medal at the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship.
Barnes is among four players on the U.S. team with remaining college eligibility. Barnes has two seasons of college eligibility remaining and has said she intends to resume play for Boston College next season.
The U.S. roster also includes 16 players who play in the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association and two for the Shenzhen, China-based KRS Vanke Rays of the Women’s Hockey League.
Finland’s roster includes two players who play for U.S. colleges, Vermont defenseman Sini Karjalainen and St. Cloud State forward Jenniina Nylund.
Defenseman Nelli Latinen has signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Minnesota, where she will be a teammate of U.S. forwards Abbey Murphy and Grace Zumwinkle.
Finnish forward Susanna Tapani is a teammate of U.S. defenseman Megan Bozek and forward Alex Carpenter with the KRS Vanke Rays.
Finland’s 23-player roster also includes 12 players who play for teams in Finland and eight in Sweden.
Finland won bronze medals at the 2018 Olympics and 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship. The U.S. twice beat Finland 3-0 at the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship and 3-1 in the 2018 Olympics.
The U.S. is 6-0-0-0 in the opening game of Olympic play.
The U.S., Finland and the three other Group A teams will all advance to the quarterfinals along with the top three teams in the five-team Group B.
The game is set to begin at 5:10 a.m. Pacific Standard Time and will be televised by USA Network.