In honor of Girls Sports Month, USA TODAY High School Sports has unveiled the ALL-USA Girls Hockey Teams for the 2018-19 season based on past performance, level of competition and strength of schedule.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Shawn Rousseau, Kent School
Name: Casey O’Brien
School: Shattuck St. Mary’s (Faribault, Minn.)
Casey O’Brien can do it all on skates, and all of her hockey acumen has been on display at the USA Hockey Girls Tier-I 19U National Championship.
As Shattuck-St. Mary’s rolled into the tournament quarterfinals April 7, all O’Brien had done in three preliminary-round games was deliver two hat tricks and seven total goals as the Sabers (48-3-3) skated to a runner-up finish for the national title.
O’Brien is more than just a goal-scorer, a talent she has displayed for Team USA for the past four years. That all-around game is the reason O’Brien is the 2018-19 ALL-USA Girls Hockey Player of the Year.
“Casey is a complete player,” said Gordie Stafford, head coach of Shattuck-St. Mary’s. “She is offensively wired but she plays both ends of the ice because of her elite hockey sense.”
O’Brien posted 48 goals and 39 assists in 47 games—she missed seven games in January while leading the United States to a silver medal at the Under-18 World Championships in Japan.
In her first year skating for the Sabers in 2017-18, the Milton, Mass., native, who attended (Dedham, Mass.) Noble & Greenough School as a freshman, tallied 28 goals and 40 assists. But O’Brien was even better this year, skating on a line with fellow ALL-USA First Team selection Makenna Webster.
“[Casey] has a competitive spirit and fire that I have seen in very few players,” Stafford said. “She is a student of the game and she works hard at her craft. She has shown drive, commitment and tangible improvement because of this growth mindset.”
O’Brien was also at her best at the national championships. She opened the tournament with a hat trick in a 10-0 win over the Anaheim Lady Ducks and followed that the next day with a second hat trick, along with two assists, in a 12-2 victory over the Mid Fairfield Stars. In the final preliminary game against (Rochester, N.Y.) Bishop Kearney—a team that includes ALL-USA selections Lauren Bernard and Kiara Zanon—O’Brien contributed a goal and assist in a 7-2 win.
ONE YEAR AGO: Who made the ALL-USA Team last season?