Barnes golden again while investing in fellow Californian Petrie
Not only did Cayla Barnes lead the U.S. Women’s National Under-18 team to its third consecutive Under-18 World Championship in January, but in the process, she helped pave the way for another young woman from California.
Barnes, a 1999 birth year from Corona, achieved a rare goal, winning her third gold medal at the U18s, this time while serving as the team’s captain. In addition, she was named the tournament’s outstanding defenseman for the second year in a row and she was again selected Team USA’s top defenseman.
And no wonder – Barnes tied for the team lead with six points and tied for second with three goals despite taking just 15 shots on goal in five games.
But Barnes brought so much more to the team, said Dominique Petrie, a 2001 birth year from Los Angeles who plays for the Jr. Ducks’ 15U AAA boys team.
Petrie, a newcomer to Team USA and its youngest player, said Barnes’ assists weren’t limited to the ice.
“It was comfortable going up to her, partially because she’s also from California, but mostly because of how she treats everyone,” Petrie said. “I asked her about controlling nerves, pregame preparation. She helped me with all of that stuff.”
Barnes, who will begin her college career at NCAA Division I Boston College in the fall, also set a positive tone for the team after its one speed bump in the tournament.
“After we lost (a preliminary game) to Canada in overtime, she reminded us, ‘Fine, we’ll get them next time.’ She didn’t want us to get down,” Petrie said. “She led by example the entire time – she never took a shift off.
“I looked up to her. She’s very poised and her skill level is so high it’s hard to believe some of the moves she made. They were just amazing. I want the confidence to do that.”
Team USA avenged its only loss with a 3-1 triumph in the gold-medal game over its northern neighbor and biggest rival.
“Every gold medal means a lot, each is special,” Barnes said. “This one was different because I had a bigger leadership role on and off the ice. There is much more to communicate to coaches and players, but this group made it easy.”
Barnes, who is playing at New Hampton Prep School and for the East Coast Wizards this season, saw a bit of herself in Petrie.
“Dominique played amazingly well and adjusted to the pace quickly, which is the biggest transition,” Barnes said. “I was at this tournament when I was 15, so I know it was for her.
“She’ll be there next year and have a bigger role each year.”
The all-around experience – in addition to winning a gold medal – is something Petrie said she’ll never forget.
“Going to a different country and playing is something I don’t get to experience much, but at the same time, you have to remain focused and have that business-trip mentality,” she said. “I was really excited (to play every game). Being able to put on that jersey re-lights the fire inside.
“Obviously, winning gold is the best part, but aside from that, the friendships I made those two weeks were the best.”
Barnes, who played both boys and girls hockey in California for the Jr. Ducks, Lady Ducks, LA Jr. Kings, California Stars and LA Selects, takes a great deal of pride in continuing – and passing on – California’s increasingly strong tradition in girls hockey.
“It is amazing to see the growth in girls from our state,” she said. “Two Californians on the national team. It’s great that is happening in both boys and girls hockey now.
“It’s a tribute to all the hard work that players and coaches are doing. And it’s awesome to see Dominique continue that legacy.”
— Chris Bayee