PWHPA All-Star preview — December Rivalry Series rosters — PHF standings shakeup
The IX: Hockey Friday with Eleni Demestihas, Dec. 9, 2022
Happy Friday! No Dream Gap Tour stop last week, but I’ll give you a rundown of the Rivalry Series rosters for December, the PWHPA All-Star event coming this weekend and last week’s PHF games.
The second set of Rivalry Series rosters dropped this week. Team USA and Team Canada will face off twice this month, on December 15 just outside of Las Vegas, and on December 19 in Los Angeles. A lot of expected names are back on these rosters after being absent from the earlier Rivalry Series games due to college hockey commitments. Hannah Bilka (Boston College), Jesse Compher (Wisconsin), Caroline Harvey (Wisconsin), Taylor Heise (Minnesota) and Grace Zumwinkle (Minnesota) are among the names you’ll recognize. Look for Heise and Harvey in particular to make an impact coming off of impressive Worlds performances and solid college seasons. Although Becca Gilmore is not on this roster, Kali Flanagan is, so the Boston Pride will still be represented. Making her debut is Penn State freshman Tessa Janecke, who has racked up 22 points in 22 games already this season. It would have been totally foolish not to call her up and see what she can do in a friendly tournament and I’m excited to see how her skill translates. You can see the full roster here.
Team Canada’s roster includes two new faces and many that you will recognize from earlier Rivalry Series games. Megan Carter (D, Northeastern University) and Danielle Serdachny (F, Colgate University) will make their senior national team debuts. Carter is a solid two-way defender who has been a consistent, moderate scorer with Northeastern and can provide as much defensively as she can offensively. Serdachny, the Colgate captain, leads her team in scoring with 33 points in 18 games this season and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see her make an immediate impact. Team Canada will need it, as they enter December trailing Team USA 3-0 in the series. You can see the full roster here.
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The PWHPA’s All-Star weekend takes place this weekend in Ottawa and will include several skill challenges as well as a round-robin tournament of six, ten-minute 3-on-3 games. Below are the list of skill events and competitors:
- Fastest Skater: Blayre Turnbull, Claire Thompson, Emily Clark, Sophia Shaver, Kendall-Coyne Schofield, Victoria Bach, and Renata Fast (that seems unfair, doesn’t it?)
- My prediction: Kendall-Coyne Schofield will win, but it will be closer than you’d think.
- Skills Challenge, which includes puckhandling and passing accuracy: Marie-Philip Poulin, Hannah Brandt, Jessie Eldridge, Sarah Potomak, Jamie Lee Rattray and Ella Shelton
- My prediction: This is tough because I’m not exactly sure how this will be scored, but I think Eldridge is a sleeper here. Yeah, she’s up against Poulin, but if you’ve watched her play, I can see how she might pull out a surprising win.
- Save Streak: Nicole Hensley, Ann-Renee Desbiens, Emerance Maschmeyer, and Maddie Rooney
- My prediction: Nicole Hensley has been on fire lately. I think this one goes to her.
- Accuracy Shooting: Hilary Knight, Hayley Scamurra, Abby Roque, Sarah Nurse, Brianne Jenner and Alex Carpenter
- My prediction: I’m torn between Roque and Jenner. Flip a coin, I guess?
The four captains for the 3-on-3 All-Star teams are Megan Keller, Hilary Knight, Sarah Nurse and Marie-Philip Poulin. The rosters will shake out as follows:
- Team Keller: Megan Keller, Rebecca Johnston, Jill Saulnier, Renata Fast, Melodie Daoust, Alex Carpenter, Micah Zandee-Hart, Aerin Frankel, Maddie Rooney, Rebecca Leslie and Sarah Potomak
- Team Poulin: Marie-Philip Poulin, Lee Stecklein, Sophia Shaver, Alexa Vasko, Savannah Harmon, Hayley Scamurra, Ella Shelton, Brianne Jenner, Hannah Brandt, Ann-Renee Desbiens and Kristen Campbell
- Team Nurse: Sarah Nurse, Jessie Eldridge, Kelly Pannek, Jamie Bourbonnais, Jincy Dunne, Kendall Coyne-Schofield, Erica Howe, Emerance Maschmeyer, Blayre Turnbull, Claire Thompson, and Victoria Bach
- Team Knight: Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Larocque, Abby Roque, Meaghan Mikkelson, Erin Ambrose, Emily Clark, Nicole Hensley, Genevieve Lacasse, Kristin O’Neill and Jamie Lee Rattray
U.S. fans can stream the weekend’s festivities on ESPN+, while Canadian fans can watch on TSN, RDS, TSN.ca, RDS.ca, and the TSN and RDS apps.
Last weekend in the PHF we saw Connecticut return to play, facing off against the Force in Quebec; and the Whitecaps took on the Riveters at home in Minnesota. Connecticut and Montreal split their series, while the Riveters dropped both games to the Whitecaps, making it a big weekend for Minnesota in the standings.
The first meeting between the Whale and the Force was a wild one that required a shootout to separate them. Montreal captain Ann-Sophie Bettez scored the only goal in the shootout to secure the win for Montreal. Kennedy Marchment and Taylor Girard each had two points (a goal and an assist) for the Whale. On Sunday, the Whale bounced back with a big regulation win in dramatic fashion. Emma Keenan opened the scoring for Connecticut with her first Whale goal, and veteran Alyssa Wohlfeiler tallied a goal of her own in the second period. Lefort and Howarth scored for Montreal, but Kennedy Marchment scored a heartbreaker late in the third period, assisted by Wohlfeiler and Mallory Soulioutis (her first point with Connecticut), to win the game.
On Saturday, after giving up four goals in the first two periods, the Riveters mounted an impressive comeback in the third and fell just short of tying the game. Patti Marshall scored twice for Minnesota, Minttu Tuominen scored two of those goals (and Anna Kilponen assisted both). This goal to open the scoring by Denisa Křížová is one of the best we’ve seen so far this season:
The Riveters did not fare as well on Sunday, when they gave up four goals and only managed to score one. Sunday was a big day for Minnesota captain Sydney Brodt, who had the game-winning goal and two assists. The story of Sunday, though, to me, is Amanda Leveille, who had a staggering .960 Save Percentage (SV%) after facing twenty-nine shots. It was a fantastic weekend for Minttu Tuominen, as the Riveters blueliner scored the only goal for her team on Sunday after scoring twice the day before.
The Pride still sit atop the league, followed by Toronto, but the middle of the table has been thoroughly shaken up. Minnesota has leapt into third place with eight points. Montreal is hot on their heels with seven, followed by the Riveters with six. Buffalo and Connecticut round out the bottom of the table with two points, but Buffalo has still only played two games (and Connecticut has still only played three), so it’s impossible to say that’s entirely fair. This weekend Buffalo faces a big test as they’ll take on Boston. Similarly, the Riveters will need a big performance to scrape some points out of a weekend date with Toronto. And we’ll get to see Connecticut in action once again, as they have their home opener against Minnesota.
The Riveters have also signed former Boston Pride standout Katie Burt as their third goaltender. Rachel McQuigge is injured, and it appears long-term (although I don’t think it’s season-ending). Maybe that will be the boost they need to take on the second-place Toronto Six.
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