The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, March 1, 2019

How Frozen Four impacts NWHL — Ella Matteucci interview — must-click women's hockey links

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The NCAA is in the final stretch ahead of the 2019 Frozen Four hosted by Quinnipiac University. It will be a wild opening weekend for the playoffs, and could have an impact on NWHL team rosters down the stretch.

To begin, Kelly Nash of the Metropolitan Riveters is an assistant bench boss for the Princeton Women’s Ice Hockey team. The Tigers host St. Lawrence for a best-of-three series this weekend. If the series goes the distance, she will be out for Sunday’s Riveters regular season finale against the Buffalo Beauts. The defending champions are hoping to secure at least one point to host the Isobel Cup Playoff play-in game in Newark.

Meanwhile, one of five new Whale signees, Jessica Koizumi, will be coaching for Vermont at top seed Northeastern. If the series only goes two games, Koizumi might be able to join Connecticut for their final regular season game Sunday afternoon.

However, the Vermont at Northeastern series is not the only one Ryan Equale and the Whale hope ends in a sweep. Should the ECAC three seed Clarkson make quick work of Quinnipiac, the Whale may inquire about adding the second overall pick Melissa Samoskevich. This would definitely mean Equale must drop a rostered player to make room for the forward named today to the USA Hockey Women’s World Championship roster. My guess is one, if not both, player-coaches (Cydney Roesler or Laura Brennan) would be the reasonable choice(s).

One team has already added a 2019 draft pick (or is expected to officially) this week. More on that in the links below.

This Week in Women’s Hockey

Reminder: The underlined words are the links. CLICK these! Clicks = Attention from editors, producers, and webmasters. If you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me!

As promised, here are the details about the Riveters making some changes, but is it too little, too late?

Check out a recap of the outdoor hockey clinic with the Connecticut Whale.

Later this month, I will participate in a Roundtable on Racism hosted by Queens University. Professor Courtney Szto shares more about the event for the Hockey in Society blog.

Great analysis from Casey Bryant in The Stock Report, including NWHL playoff scenarios (Spoiler: It’s coming down to the wire).

What if WoHo had a crazy trade deadline ahead of the playoffs? Eleni gives you a mock up of NWHL and CWHL trades that might feed the hypothetical frenzy. Where does your favorite player end up?

Montreal and Markham split their latest series and will meet again in the first round of the CWHL playoffs.

Team USA released their 2019 Women’s Worlds roster today. Congrats to some past Five at The IX feature athletes Michelle “Shelly” Picard & Kendall Coyne Schofield.

Rocky finances for the CWHL have led to inconsistent streaming this season, writes Michelle Jay.

Tweet of the Week

Have it your way, Szabados!

Five at The IX: Markham Thunder defender Ella Matteucci

It is hard for me to say one single interview with any given athlete has been my absolute favorite. My first conversation with my childhood favorite Sheryl Swoopes is at the top of the list. Joining in some pretty elite company is this one with Ella. We talked a lot of baseball, but managed to tie in some hockey and golf too!

Erica L. Ayala: Let’s start at the beginning. What sports did you play growing up and how did you end up playing both hockey and baseball? I’m especially interested to learn about playing baseball because, at least here in the States, girls are usually pushed to switch to softball.

Ella Matteucci: I was pretty lucky, my dad was a big sports guy and he always supported his kids and the kids he coach playing two different sports, offseason sports–obviously baseball and hockey don’t really run into each other. I actually started baseball when I was three and I started hockey, I tried to start at five. I wasn’t a very good … I didn’t like it at first. My parents were like, Ok, you’ll learn how to skate this year and then you’ll play when you’re six. So hockey started at six.

I grew up playing baseball with the boys and I played baseball all through. I still I play on a girls team here in Ontario now. All the while I was playing I was playing college hockey, but in the summers I was actually playing baseball with the guys back in B.C.

I played all the way up until I guess they called seniors with the guys … it’s funny because at one point me, my dad, and my brother were all on the same team, which was pretty cool. I played a little bit of softball but … I drove four hours to play on a competitive softball team. At one point I was driving all the way to Vancouver, which is eight hours. I just kind of made sense to stick it out with baseball.

Plus I don’t want to be biased, but I’m just a much bigger baseball fan and I enjoyed playing it much more for sure.

I was really fortunate that the guys that I grew up playing with it was basically the same crew every summer. They were really great about including me and I didn’t feel like the girl on a guys team. I definitely felt like I was one of the guys and for my development, baseball-wise and hockey-wise, I’m so glad that I stuck it out playing with the boys. My dad coached me a ton when I was growing up in BC. I was pretty lucky to have that experience with him as well.

ELA: You played with your dad and your brother while you’re growing up. What positions did you all play?

EM: So I skipped around probably the most. My brother Eric was mainly second base and outfield. I was a pitcher, catcher, and a little bit of outfield when they need. My dad was outfield and catcher. I remember this one game, Eric being at second, I was pitching, and my dad was catching, which is hilarious.

ELA: I got into hockey recently and you know it came from playing baseball played basketball. Everyone has these different ways of approaching if you’re a right shot or a left shot. You are right shot as well as you hit and throw right handed. Is that correct?

EM:  Yeah I’m right in all aspects of all aspects.

ELA: What are the mechanics that are involved in moving from throwing overhand in baseball to then doing the opposite in motion in hockey? I’m very curious.

EM: OK. So I’m thinking about. Now I’m standing up. So if I’m a right handed shot. OK here’s a good example.

So it kind of can related to swinging even if it swing a baseball bat or swinging a golf club because I think they’re very similar one just going downwards, the other one straight across. So what happens is when we’re driving into a pitch? We’re throwing our arms, your arms go first. Right. And then what’s happening is the trunk of the body is twisting. All right. So a like a slap shot from the right side you’re doing basically the same thing.

Anyways that’s how I do it. If you see my golf swing, you’ll be like, “Oh God she’s a baseball player,” because I do the twist. You’re not supposed to. Yeah but it’s all transfer of your weight.

ELA: I’m fascinated by the physics of baseball. I could talk about that forever, but let’s come back up to Markham. What are some of the things that the team is focusing on for this final push?

EM:  I think something we might have got away from in the Toronto series–minus not having our Team Canada players and Megan Bozak–we just kind of got away from the little things. I think that’s something [the franchise] was always done well and I think that was a big play of them winning last year, just getting the little things done. Then, you know what, offense is going to come. And those little things just being like get the puck over the defensive blueline, make sure they D-zone is strong, getting shots from everywhere.

I think the last couple practices, that’s what we’ve been highlighting. And just sticking to our game plan. We’re one of those teams that’s not going to roll over and we’re one of those teams that’s going to work arse off every time they go out there … we’re definitely a force to be reckoned with. We had a hard fought win a couple of weeks ago in Montreal. So I think that we’re looking to get this weekend. You know it’s going to be a battle they have a lot of skill.

They have good goaltending but you know what? Our goaltending is just as good and we have skill too. As long as we stick to our defensive, do the small things right game, we’ll be totally fine and I think that’s what we’re just looking to bear down on with this last push. We need one point to solidify a playoff spot and we were hoping to do it last weekend, didn’t get the job done, so it’s time to do it now.

Markham did secure the third seed after splitting a series with Montreal, who they will meet in the first round of the CWHL Playoffs for the third consecutive season.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Lindsay Gibbs, @Linzsports ThinkProgress
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal High Post Hoops
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Erica L. Ayala