Goaltending is as much a mental game as a physical one. In hockey, goalies can be riding high one minute, proud of the honed reflexes that allowed them to make a great save, then downtrodden the next, wondering how they let a puck slip by, to frustrated minutes later, when a teammate makes a mistake that they can’t fix.
Boston Pride goaltender Corinne Schroeder credits her work on that mental game for helping her make the move from a standout at Boston University, to a record-setter at Quinnipiac, to now a Premier Hockey Federation All-Star, along with eight of her teammates.
“The more you play at a certain level, the more you get used to [the mental strength] it takes,” said Schroeder. “It also comes with the more you understand the game and the pace.”
Despite it being her first season of pro hockey, Schroeder quickly grasped what it was like to play in the PHF, and it has been key to the Pride’s 12-2-1 record. Last Saturday against the Montreal Force, Schroeder earned her sixth shutout of the season in a 50-save performance. She leads the league with 12 wins, a 1.73 goals-against average, and .952 save percentage.
Now in their eighth season, the Pride have always boasted great goaltending, but Schroeder’s start as a rookie is some of the best the organization has ever seen. It has increased her teammates’ confidence and excitement in their own play.
“She gives this team so much energy when she makes huge saves,” said Jenna Rheault. “As a defenseman, I feel very confident that she will come up big if there is a defensive breakdown.”
Schroeder is proud of what she has done with the Pride but isn’t satisfied.
“I know there’s more that I can give and things I can do better with every game,” she said. “But a few of those shutouts have been pretty exciting. Just being able to hang on to the very end really felt good.”
The Elm Creek, Manitoba, native’s career has had several transition points over the past six years. After winning the silver medal at the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Under-18 Championship with Team Canada, she went to BU, where she started 25 games as a freshman and was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team. In Schroeder’s sophomore year, her 30 saves (including nine in overtime) helped the Terriers earn their first Beanpot title as a varsity program.
But the next two years were tough. Schroeder was BU’s go-to goaltender, but the team lost in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs both years. Her senior year, the team only played 12 games because of COVID restrictions, and she saw action in eight. Though she had set school records with a .929 career save percentage and a 1.98 GAA, she was eager to see what else was possible, so she used her COVID fifth year to get a graduate degree and play at Quinnipiac.
“I’m very thankful that I was given the opportunity to play another year, especially playing another year at a different program,” said Schroeder. “It just gave me a better perspective of college hockey, just seeing what else was out there.
“If you stay at the same program for four years, you get used to it. But changing gives you a fresh perspective and gives you that opportunity to be like a freshman again. You really have to work to earn your spot and that just gives you more motivation and drive.”
Despite having just one year at Quinnipiac, Schroeder made a lasting mark. Her .951 save percentage set the school’s season record. In her final game as a Bobcat, she made 73 saves in a NCAA quarterfinal loss last March to eventual national champion Ohio State.
Joining the Pride in free agency, Schroeder was ready to use her college career to become the best pro goaltender possible. Her steadiness and calm improved with that experience.
“I feel like I’ve always kind of had that consistency compared to some other goalies, but over the years it’s gotten better and better,” said Schroeder. “Looking back to freshman year, I don’t think I got a single shutout that year. It’s not exactly the only marker to judge things by, but there were a few games where I knew I should have had it, but just let in a weak goal or something like that. So it’s in those really tough moments when I know I need to buckle down. I’ve come a long way and I am able to shut the door a little better now.”
The consistency that has been there for years, and the mental game that keeps improving, are why Schroeder has the support of her teammates. Those qualities are also why the Pride continue to be the PHF’s dominant team.
“She’s been a huge component to this team’s success because of her high compete level, her focus, and her consistency,” said Rheault.
Schroeder is one of nine Pride players who will take the ice for the PHF All-Star Game Sunday at Toronto’s Mattamy Athletic Centre. The three-game round-robin event will be aired on ESPN2, and divides players into three teams: Team USA, Team Canada, and Team World.
Other Pride players joining Schroeder on the Canadian team are All-Star captain Kaleigh Fratkin, league leading scorer Loren Gabel, and Elizabeth Giguere. Five-time All-Star Jillian Dempsey leads the Pride’s Team USA delegation, which includes Kali Flanagan, Allie Thunstrom, and Olivia Zafuto. Team World includes the Pride’s Aneta Tejralová.
Kat Cornetta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.