Unexpected NCAA players in the draft, plus PWHL playoffs & awards

Some NCAA players who flew under the radar may find themselves in the PWHL draft

Happy Friday! I’m Leighann from The Ice Garden, here with your women’s hockey weekly updates and a look ahead to the PWHL Draft next month. Inspired by Alyssa’s list last week of U Sports players who could be drafted, I decided to come up with a few unexpected names from the NCAA that could find themselves on the PWHL Draft stage in Minnesota.

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Three NCAA players who could be drafted

While PWHL Minnesota and Boston are still battling it out for the first ever Walter Cup, it’s hard to believe the second PWHL Draft is quickly approaching in June. Just like last year, there is a ton of talent on the line that will be tough to fit into just six rosters with the current star-studded lineups.

That being said, I come bearing a few names from deep NCAA rosters that may fly under the radar but would be great additions to any team. While there is no specific criteria for my picks, I’m leaning away from the big names you’re already seeing on every draft list. We know Sarah Fillier, Cayla Barnes and Izzy Daniel will be there. But who else? And where do they fit?

Sadie Peart — F

I am always one to put a lot of stock into a good face-off win percentage. This forward out of Quinnipiac will give you just that. She’s quick on the draw and on the skates. Peart ended her fifth season fifth in scoring on Quinnipiac, with 31 points in 37 games.

Hailing from Grand Rapids, Minnesota, she was a top-ten finalist for the Minnesota Miss Hockey Award in high school. She tallied a whopping 253 points during her time at Grand Rapids High School, where she holds the record for most all-time assists.

Peart is +74 during her time at Quinnipiac and had an impressive amount of game-winning goals and multi-goal games during her time. This makes her both a valuable and clutch player who can add depth to any roster.

Camryn Wong — D

Coming off of her fifth season at UConn, this 24-year-old is an easy choice for a defensive sleeper pick in the PWHL draft. In 30 games, Wong was +8 during the 2023-24 campaign for the Huskies. She also led defenders in points. UConn went on to be Hockey East regular season champions for the first time in program history this season.

In addition to her five years at UConn, the 5’4 defender has played one season for the KRs Vanke Rays in 2021-22 and went on to represent China in the Olympics and World Championship that year. Wong has a ton of experience playing at various different levels. She is also familiar with players who are already in the PWHL.

This is a league that is still trying to find its footing when it comes to defensive depth. Wong could be a great asset off the bench.

Amanda Thiele — G

When it comes to goaltenders, it’s always been very apparent that the talent outweighs the places to play in women’s hockey. That couldn’t be more true in the PWHL right now. This dynamic will make it tough to crack a roster spot for anyone, but Amanda Thiele may be a goaltender who flies under the radar this draft.

If you’re thinking ‘wait, didn’t she just win a national championship? How would she fly under the radar?’ you would be correct. I’m ready, however, to defend myself. Again, in the world of women’s hockey, earning a goaltending spot is a cutthroat sport all in its own.

After a very successful 2022-23 season where Thiele posted a .914 save percentage through 26 games and set a new Buckeye record for most goaltending wins in a season, she handed over some of the reigns to Raygan Kirk. Kirk had a massively successful season in 2023-24, playing most of the games for Ohio State that year and posting a .945 save percentage.

But Thiele didn’t let anyone forget why she was a WCHA Goaltending Champion Award in 2022 when she went 13-2-0 with a .905 save percentage in her senior season this year. She did win some key games for the Buckeyes that earned them a spot in the NCAA Championship game and ultimately her second NCAA Championship with the team.

Prior to four seasons at Ohio State, Thiele was a 2020 WJC-18 champion, going 2-0-0 in the tournament and not allowing a single goal during her two starts. Thiele has experience under pressure and on big stages. While she may not be a starting net minder in the PWHL next season, she is certainly worth a look for some goalie depth that can be trusted against the star power in the league.

More Must-Click Womens’ Hockey Links:

PWHL Earns Sports Business Journal’s Sports Breakthrough of the Year Award

PWHL Finals Diary: Game 1

Northeastern Grads Excited For The PWHL Draft

How PWHL Boston’s ‘small but mighty’ goalie is fueling their surprising playoff run

Sophie Jaques’ Arrival Was Worth The Wait

Breaking the Ice Ceiling w/ Angelica Rodriguez


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Written by The Ice Garden