Stats and standings into the new year — U18 Women’s World Championship approaches — Must-click women’s hockey links

The IX: Hockey Friday with Eleni Demestihas, Jan. 6, 2023

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Most of the world has been on pause for the holidays, so there’s not much to report this week. Luckily, the U18 Women’s World Championship begins on January 9, so we have that to look forward to! I’ll take a quick look at stats leaders across the PWHPA, PHF, NCAA DI and NCAA DIII leading into 2023. 

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The U18 Women’s World Championship begins on January 9 in Ostersund, Sweden. Group A’s games and the medal rounds will be broadcast on TSN and NHL Network for North American viewers. Check out the full schedule on the IIHF’s website.Mike Murphy wrote a great preview at The Ice Garden, which you can read here

With the men’s World Juniors just wrapping up (which is U20, not U18), Ian Kennedy took a stab at imagining what a Women’s World Juniors might look like, here. In my opinion, we’re long past the point where a comparable women’s competition should not only be played, but similarly covered and hyped up.

As a reminder, Team Harvey’s is on top of the PWHPA standings with 21 points (5-1-3-0) followed by Team adidas with 16 points (5-3-0-1). There’s a huge gap between those two and Team Scotiabank (nine points, 3-6-0-0) and Team Sonnet (eight points, 2-5-0-2). At the beginning of the Tour, the PWHPA stated they used a panel of experts to assemble rosters of the most skilled players in the game which would lead to close parity between teams, which hasn’t shaken out — but the games have been exciting regardless. 

After nine games, your scoring leader is…you guessed it, Marie-Philip Poulin! She’s amassed 14 points (eight goals, six assists) with Team Harvey’s and has just generally been unstoppable. Close behind her is Rebecca Johnston of Team Scotiabank, who has 11 points (six goals, five assists). There’s a six-way tie for third at 10 points:

  • Lee Stecklein (Team Harvey’s): two goals, eight assists
  • Jessie Eldridge (Team Harvey’s): three goals, seven assists
  • Abby Roque (Team Sonnet): six goals, four assists
  • Kendall Coyne-Schofield (Team adidas): six goals, four assists
  • Blayre Turnbull (Team Scotiabank): three goals, seven assists
  • Kristin O’Neill (Team adidas): three goals, seven assists

If you were to ask me “who’s the best goalie in the PWHPA right now?” and I can only choose one person, I’m going to say Ann-Renée Desbiens. That being said, goaltending isn’t as simple as amassing points, and I think you could make an argument for Nicole Hensley as well. Of the goalies who have played five or more games, Desbiens leads everyone with four wins (in six games) and the lowest GAA (2.17). That being said, Desbiens does play for Team Harvey’s, which has three of the top scorers in the league. Nicole Hensley, on the other hand, has been perhaps the only bright spot not named Abby Roque for Team Sonnet so far this Dream Gap Tour season.

When a goalie on a struggling team is still posting the highest SV% in the organization (excluding goalies who have only played one game), I think that speaks to her crazy workload and how well she’s been managing it. Hensley has only two wins in five games, but a .934 SV%. Desbiens has a .931 SV%, making them roughly comparable by this statistic, which makes you wonder how Hensley would perform if Team Sonnet were able to suppress some shots against.

Did you know that Brittany Howard is good at hockey? Well, she is. 

Howard currently leads the PHF in goals (12), points (16), game-winners (three), and is tied with Minttu Tuominen for first place in powerplay goals (three). She’s also second in the league in points per game with 1.6 points per game. To say she was a massive signing for Toronto would be understating her impact. 

Loren Gabel is hot on her heels in just about every category and leads the league in points per game (1.9). Sarah Bujold and Taylor Girard are tied for the league lead in shorthanded goals with two apiece. Montreal’s Jade Downie-Landry is tied for the league lead in assists with Toronto’s Kati Tabin and Minnesota’s Patti Marshall (seven). All in all, so far Howard looks like an easy pick for league MVP, but there’s always a chance Gabel overtakes her. 

Corinne Schroeder tops every goaltending category I looked at. You’ve heard people talk about how good she’s been, but there’s just no way to exaggerate it. Not only did she set a new league shutout record, a 2.28 GAA puts her ahead of the next closest goalie, Montreal’s Marie-Soleil Deschênes (2.35). She boasts an impressive .937 SV% after playing nine games. The next closest is Abbie Ives (.921 SV%). Her seven wins places her two ahead of Elaine Chuli. And if you were wondering about her workload, she’s faced the most shots in the league (284). Only Amanda Leveille (272) is anywhere close.

Ohio State’s Sophie Jacques leads DI NCAA women’s hockey with 16 goals in 22 games. Her teammate Gabby Rosenthal is tied for second with Northeastern’s Katy Knoll (15). Ohio State is also home to the leading scorer — Jennifer Gardiner has 35 points in 22 games played (11 goals, 24 assists). The University of Minnesota’s Taylor Heise is right behind her with 34 points, accomplished in only 19 games.

As impressive as the WCHA may be, the ECAC has some heavy hitters, too. Colgate’s Danielle Serdachny (who recently made her senior national team debut with Team Canada during the Rivalry Series and scored her first goal to win the game in overtime) is leading the country with 1.83 points per game. She’s also third in overall points with 33 in 18 games. Tied right behind her are Clarkson teammates Gabrielle David and Darcie Lappan with 32 points apiece.

The most recent USCHO poll gives us the following top ten:

  • Ohio State
  • Wisconsin
  • Yale
  • Quinnipiac
  • Minnesota
  • Colgate
  • Northeastern
  • Minnesota Duluth
  • Providence
  • Cornell

That being said, Wisconsin did just split a series with Quinnipiac, first shutting them out and then being shut out themselves. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wisconsin drop a bit in the standings next round through.

In the NCAA DIII world, Aurora University’s Darci Matson is head and shoulders above everyone else with 32 points in 11 games. You read that right. Matson is a 2.91 points-per-game player. Sheesh. She is, however, tied for the lead in goals with University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Sophie Rausch (17). Norwich University’s Ann-Frédérique Guay leads with 16 assists. 

Meanwhile, Gustavus Adolphus College is seeing a season out of goaltender Katie McCoy that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen: 10 wins in 12 games, a 0.56 GAA (yes, really) and a .964 SV%. Francesca Gerardi (Manhattanville College) has a 5-5 record but a 1.40 GAA and a .952 SV% — and McCoy is still blowing her out of the water. That’s ridiculous.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Eleni Demestihas