NYR @ BOS: Jenny Scrivens and Brittany Ott Face Off in Boston

Jenny Scrivens and Brittany Ott in goal (two photos placed in opposition in black and white)
Jenny Scrivens in warmups before NYR @ BOS on 12/6; Brittany Ott midgame during CTW @ BOS on 11/29.

Saturday night’s game for the Boston Pride against the visiting Buffalo Beauts was a high-scoring, rollercoaster ride: 13 goals, four goalies, and a hat trick from Devon Skeats that still didn’t net the Beauts a win. Sunday’s match against the Riveters had a different tone altogether. Scoreless through the first two periods, this was the first NWHL game to go without a goal for this long. The Pride’s Jillian Dempsey was the first to put to get the puck in the net nearly 50 minutes into the game. While Saturday saw a stellar offensive effort from both the Pride and the Beauts, it was the Pride and the Riveters’ goaltending that shone on Sunday. Specifically, Jenny Scrivens and Brittany Ott.

When Jenny Scrivens joined the Riveters roster as the third goalie in their lineup behind Nana Fujimoto and Shenae Lundberg, more was made of her dual role in the NWHL organization (PR) and her marriage to Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens than her goaltending skills. With Fujimoto the clear forerunner when it came to ice time, it seemed unlikely that Scrivens would spend much time in net; she was the last NWHL goaltender to make her debut, with six minutes to go in the Riveters’ game against the Beauts on November 29th. Sunday’s game was Scrivens’ first start in net after Fujimoto and Lundberg were both sidelined by injury. Since the NWHL requires two goaltenders to dress for each game, Boston College veteran Corinne Boyles was called up to serve as Scrivens’ backup for the game. Scrivens’ debut was awaited eagerly by many. How would she do against the Pride, arguably the strongest offensive force in the league? This seems an intimidating prospect for any opposing goaltender’s starting debut, let alone one coming back into the game after five years off the ice.

Coincidentally, Harvard’s Bright-Landry Center is the last place where Scrivens started in goal, then playing for Cornell in the 2009 playoffs. “That was the last time I’ve actually played a game,” Scrivens confirmed post-game. You wouldn’t know it from her composure on the ice. Scrivens seemed confident and composed throughout the game, fending off 30 shots from the Pride, sometimes with dramatic saves. Most of the excitement of this game was watching Scrivens dazzle in net. Scrivens credited some off her command in net to her play last Sunday. “I think the six minutes I got last week really helped, because I wasn’t as nervous as I expect I would be, and I was able to settle right into my game and try my best to give our team a chance.” While the final score was 4-1 Boston, two of those were empty net goals from Hilary Knight (Scrivens was pulled twice by the Riveters in an effort to even the score). Scrivens added, “I see it as a one-goal game. I don’t see it as a four-goal game.”

Even Pride coach Bobby Jay praised her play. He had more to say, though, about the other goaltender on the ice on Sunday: the Pride’s Ott, who allowed only one of the Riveters’ 22 shots in the net. Ott has struggled in her past few games at home, including during the Pride’s three-loss streak, and Lauren Slebodnick started in goal against the Beauts the previous day before being replaced by Ott in the third period. While Scrivens’ stellar success was unanticipated and dramatic, Ott’s improvement was just as notable. “I’m so happy for her – both of them – all three of them have worked tremendously hard. We hit a little rough spot – I know her and Lauren haven’t played as good as I know they could and they know they can recently,” Bobby Jay said. “Even for established veterans with a lot of experience and success, everyone goes through it from time to time, so I give her a lot of credit mentally for fighting through it and putting in a great performance today.” Hopefully, Sunday’s game is a return to the stellar goaltending Ott has delivered in the past for the Boston Blades and the University of Maine.

Stalwart goaltending might not be as exciting to watch as the firestorm of the Pride’s game against Buffalo on Saturday night, but it’s a crucial component of both the Riveters’ and the Prides’ future success that has been a recent struggle for the Pride. I’m looking forward to seeing Ott continue to shine on the ice, as well as the new, personal struggle of whether to root for the Pride as a whole or just Jenny Scrivens.

Ready for Anything: Beauts’ Steadman helping make history once more with NWHL

It happens pretty quickly. One moment, you see Buffalo Beauts forward Meghan Duggan making a cross-ice pass from the left side; the next moment, linemate Kelley Steadman has found a brief gap in the crook of Boston Pride goaltender Brittany Ott’s arm. Suddenly, she has her hands in the air, and the crowd at HarborCenter has leapt to its feet in jubilation. They’ve been waiting all game — two periods and half of a third — for this moment, and finally it’s come.

A goal. The first in the Beauts’ very brief history, coming at the 13:02 mark of the third period of Game One.

Duggan says something to Steadman as they both skate to the bench, but she says she can’t remember what it was.

“Probably something that had profanity,” she joked as she leaned against the wall of the tunnel leading from the Beauts’ locker room around to the corner of HarborCenter’s First Niagara Rink. “I don’t really remember those moments. You’re just so excited, it kind of goes in one ear and out the other.”

When it comes to being a part of history, Steadman has had a lot to be excited about.

The Buffalo Beauts practice forward has been helping make history since her days at Mercyhurst University, where she became the first Laker to represent the United States at the Women’s World Championship in 2011. After graduating, she took her talent to the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, where with an incredible rookie class featuring Hilary Knight, Genevieve Lacasse and Anne Schleper (among others), she helped the Boston Blades capture their first-ever Clarkson Cup.

Now, as a member of one of the National Women’s Hockey League’s Founding Four teams, she’s got her name in the books as the Beauts’ first goal scorer. And to think she joined as a practice player.

“It’s a little overwhelming to think about all at once, but I’ve been fortunate enough to be on some great teams with great players,” she said. “It’s good that every once in a while I can contribute when I need to and when our team needs it.”

Contribute she has; in fact, Steadman leads the team with four goals and an assist in three games against the two undefeated teams thus far (Connecticut and Boston). In just under a month, she’s proven herself to be a constant threat on the ice, skating hard to the net, finding the rebounds and creating opportunities on a team still trying to find its offense.

“Steadman is a force out there on the ice,” co-head coach Ric Seiling said after the Beauts’ game against the Pride Oct. 25, a two-goal affair for the forward. “She’s a big part of this team.”

Steadman did have some experience with pro hockey coming into the NWHL, both stateside and internationally. After missing the final cuts for centralization of the National Team leading up to the Olympics, she set her sights on the then-new Russian Women’s Championship League, winning the 2013-14 European Women’s Champions Cup with HC Tornado Moscow Region.

“It was awesome,” she said of the experience. “It definitely took a while to get used to no one speaking my language besides a couple of people, but it was a great experience.”

It also took a while to get used to the style of play, which she says focuses more on “being smooth, doing your own thing” and less on the controlled systems employed in North American hockey.

“The level was pretty good,” she said. “It was cool to see a different style of hockey than what I’m used to playing.”

From Moscow, she made her way to Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, where she became a volunteer assistant coach with the Colonials, and then (along with longtime friend and USA teammate Brianne McLaughlin) joined the Beauts. This means a six-hour round trip commute for games and practices.

During the weekend of the Beauts’ game against the Connecticut Whale on Oct. 18, RMU had two games in Albany. Steadman got dropped off in Buffalo to play Connecticut on the way home. She says head coach Paul Colantino has been “really great” with regard to helping her continue to play overall.

“It’s a lot, but it’s not overwhelming,” she said of the work-life balance. “I’m one of those people who likes to stay busy. I don’t need a lot of downtime, and I love the game so it’s worth it.”

Her considerable workload is the reason Steadman didn’t sign on as a rostered player, meaning her pay doesn’t count toward the cap and she’s not obligated to play every game, but as she’s been granted the opportunity to play in the wake of visa issues for five of her teammates (something that seems to be getting resolved this week), she’s said going to take it and enjoy every minute.

“Honestly, I don’t know where I want this to take me,” she said. “I’m just enjoying getting to play with some of these players I’ve played with the last couple of years. For the team and league, I just hope to help continue to grow the league and get some of these little girls here in the stands watching us.

“Any time I get the call, I’ll be ready.”

Final Four Signings For The Connecticut Whale

Free agent frenzy entered stage two this week, as the eleven under-wraps NWHL contracts were released to the media, and though Hilary Knight going to the Pride was probably the biggest, the Connecticut Whale signed four outstanding players of their own, including Knight’s national team teammate, Kelli Stack.

Kelli Stack (Boston College)

Two time Olympian Stack is probably the biggest name on this list. She broke countless records during her time at BC, scoring 209 points in only 140 games played, and finishing as a top three finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award. In her senior year alone she had 59 points, including a career high 34 goals, and she was the first player ever to become a three-time Hockey East Player of the Year. In her time with the USWNT, she has two Olympic silver medals from 2010 and 2014, and three World Championship golds, as well as skating in five Four Nations Cups, leading the tournament in scoring in 2011 and 2013. She was also named Player of the Game in the gold medal game against the Canadians in the 2011 World Championships. In a team already stacked with players like Molly Engstrom, Jessica Koizumi and Yekaterina Smolentseva, Stack is going to fit right in.

Lindsay Berman (Northeastern)

Yet another Blades alumni, Berman was signed after unforeseen visa problems with free agent Tara Tomimoto. While at Northeastern, she registered 62 points in 135 games played for the Huskies, and in her sophomore year led all Hockey East defencewomen in power play points with 12. Unlike most players, Berman switched between forward and defence for most of her hockey career, and can easily give the Whale some roster flexibility. She played for the Blades between 2010 and 2014, winning the Clarkson Cup with them in 2013, and she also coached during that time at U-Mass and Brown University.

Alyssa Wohlfeiler (Northeastern)

A teammate of Berman’s from 2007-2010, Wohlfeiler registered 71 points in 132 games for the Huskies, led the team in game winning goals her junior year, and was second on the team in rookie scoring in her freshman year. In 2006-07, the California native captained the California Select U-19 team, where she scored 38 points in 34 games.

Jordan Brickner (Wisconsin)

Brickner actually split her NCAA time between Colgate and Wisconsin, collecting a total of 43 points in 140 games with the two teams. In her senior year with the Badgers, she had the third highest shooting percentage, and during her whole Wisconsin career, she accumulated 0 PIMs. Before college, Brickner played for the Connecticut Stars, where she helped them win a New England District title, and a third place finish at the USA Hockey National Championships.

Jenny Scrivens’ Husband Congratulates Her On Signing

Jenny Scrivens’ husband, who plays for a local men’s hockey league, took to Twitter today to congratulate her for signing with the NWHL’s New York Riveters. “Couldn’t be prouder”, he tweeted, “happy to see Jenny going to a team destined for greatness”. Jenny’s husband has played hockey for some number of years, and based on reports, is a very energetic and amusing goaltender.

When asked about how Jenny’s husband might fit into the culture of the NWHL, Jenny’s new teammates responded, “Who?”

NWHL 2015/2016 Schedule Announced!!

Sneaking in to post this before Elena yells at me to go back to being on vacation! You can grab the .ics file too!
2015-2016 NWHL Schedule
Oct. 11 – NYR @ CTW – 1:30 pm
Oct. 11 – BOS @ BUF – 3:30 pm
Oct. 18 – CTW @ BUF – 3:30 pm
Oct. 18 – BOS @ NYR – 7:00 pm
Oct. 25 – BOS @ BUF – 3:30 pm
Oct. 25 – CTW @ NYR – 7:00 pm
Nov. 15 – CTW @ BUF – 3:30 pm
Nov. 15 – BOS @ NYR – 7:00 pm
Nov. 22 – NYR @ BOS – 3:00 pm
Nov. 22 – CTW @ BUF – 3:30 pm
Nov. 29 – CTW @ BOS – 3:00 pm
Nov. 29 – BUF @ NYR – 7:00 pm
Dec. 5 – BUF @ BOS – 7:30 pm
Dec. 6 – NYR @ BOS – 3:00 pm
Dec. 6 – BUF @ CTW – 4:30 pm
Dec. 13 – CTW @ NYR – 6:30 pm
Dec. 20 – BUF @ BOS – 3:00 pm
Dec. 27 – NYR @ BUF – 3:30 pm
Dec. 27 – BOS @ CTW – 4:30 pm
Jan 2 – NYR @ CTW – 2:00 pm
Jan 3 – BUF @ BOS – 3:00 pm
Jan 3 – CTW @ NYR – 7:00 pm
Jan 10 – NYR @ BOS – 3:00 pm
Jan 10 – BUF @ CTW – 6:00 pm
Jan. 17 – CTW @ BOS – 3:00 pm
Jan 17 – BUF @ NYR – 7:00 pm
Jan 31 – NYR @ BUF – 3:30 pm
Jan 31 – BOS @ CTW – 6:00 pm
Feb. 7 – BOS @ NYR – 7:00 pm
Feb. 7 – BUF @ CTW – TBD
Feb. 14 – BUF @ NYR – 2:00 pm
Feb. 14 – CTW @ BOS – 3:00 pm
Feb. 21 – BOS @ CTW – 1:00 pm
Feb 21 – NYR @ BUF – 3:30 pm
Feb. 28 – BOS @ BUF – 3:30 pm
Feb. 28 – NYR @ CTW – 6:00 pm

A Guide to the CWHL & NWHL Drafts: When, Where, and How to Follow

This summer, we have not one, but two drafts for women’s hockey; the 2015 CWHL draft, and the first ever entry draft for the NWHL. The two events are very similar, but there are a few key differences.

2015 NWHL Entry Draft LogoThe inaugural NWHL entry draft will be held on June 20th, with the pre-draft lottery to determine order happening in Buffalo on June 8th. The first overall pick went to the New York Riveters, then the Connecticut Whale, the Boston Pride, and the Buffalo Beauts. (In subsequent drafts, the order will be determined by win-loss record of the organizations.) You can check out a video of the lottery on the NWHL website.

 It’s open to college players from four-year colleges who have just completed their junior year. A player who is drafted but does not sign with the organization that selected her, may enter into free-agency after completing her senior year. A player who is eligible to be selected and is not drafted becomes a free agent after completing her senior year. Currently, the NWHL is releasing a list of the top twenty prospects here.

The NWHL will announce each draft pick live on social media starting at 12 p.m. EST. Those interested in live updates should follow @NWHL_ on Twitter, as well as each of the four teams: @TheBostonPride, @BuffaloBeauts, @CTWhale_NWHL, @NYRiveters. We’re told that information will also be available on Facebook, Instagram, and NWHL.co, which will host a Draft Live page on June 20.

CWHL 2015 Draft Logo

The CWHL draft will be held on August 23rd. The team that finished last in the standings (this year, the Brampton Thunder) will pick first. Last year, they posted the prospect pool to their website, and there was a live draft ticker that tracked who’d been taken by which teams, making it relatively easy to follow along. Some teams also live-tweeted their picks; a good bet is to follow @CWHL_insider, the league’s official Twitter account.

This draft is open to players who are over the age of twenty, who have not previously signed a contract with any CWHL club or professional league, who are not listed as reserves on any team roster, who are not committed to any NCAA or CIS program, and who have not previously been drafted by any CWHL team. The players can choose up to three teams that are in a city they live or can live close to (Toronto and Brampton count as one choice, because they’re both in the GTA). This somewhat limits the CWHL teams during the draft, as they can’t draft someone who is unable to relocate to that city, for whatever reason.

The two drafts are very similar, however where the NWHL can draft basically anyone, the CWHL is limited by the players’ geographical preference. For example, Marie Philip Poulin has entered the draft, but if she only provides Montreal as a geographic preference, she can only be drafted by the Montreal Stars, because she is only able to live or work in Montreal. The NWHL draft has a very similar approach to the NHL in terms of free agency; if a player doesn’t sign with a team, they’re eligible to become a free agent (similar to what’s currently happening with Mike Reilly, originally a Columbus draft pick, he is now meeting with eight teams after graduating to decide where to sign.)







WATCH THIS HOCKEY WANTS YOU (to write for us and stuff)

We’re looking for more writers! We particularly want writers to cover the new NWHL teams, but we’re always open to more writers to cover the CWHL teams or international play. We’re looking for both reoccurring types of posts (such regular updates on teams and how they’re doing, etc.) and also one-off types of posts. (In-depth special on a particular player or upcoming tournament? Analysis of the Beaut’s systems? Funny jokes about current women’s hockey events?) If you think you’d like to write some stuff and you like us, send us an email!

We’d also love to get more photos of games! If you’re planning on going regularly to CWHL or NWHL games, and you’ve got a decent camera and a yen to work on your action shots, please drop us a line!

Unfortunately, this is a hobby website. We don’t have any forms of revenue, which means we can’t offer any kind of payment.

CWHL Weekend Recap for January 24th, 2015

Brampton Thunder shuts out Toronto Furies, 2-0

As you may recall, Brampton’s been on a bit of a slide this season so far. They’ve been racking up the PIMs, but not the wins, with only 11 points on a 15 game season prior to this weekend. They’ve been being out-scored pretty badly, with 30 goals scored by Brampton, but 61 goals scored against them.  While they’ve shown flashes of occasionally being the team I’ve thought they could be, filled with young talent, they’ve mostly been kind of terrible.

The straw that appears to have broken the camel’s back was getting beat 11-3 and then 8-0 by Boston last weekend. Shortly afterwards, a news release came out from the team, announcing that the head coach, Pat Cocklin, had been released. Part of the statement from GM Lori Dupuis was that the team felt that their chances for making the Clarkson Cup lay in a different direction. Assistant Coach Kristi Alcorn would be taking on the role in the interim, with GM Lori Dupuis taking on the assistant coach role.

And boy oh boy, it looked like the change paid off on Saturday. Continue reading CWHL Weekend Recap for January 24th, 2015

CWHL Weekend Game Review: October 24-26, 2014

CWHL Weekend Game Review: October 24-26th 2014

Calgary took Montreal two of three this weekend to remain at the top of the league standings, albeit with several more games than most other teams in the league. Toronto won their second shoot out this season, against a physical Brampton team who out-shot them.

Continue reading CWHL Weekend Game Review: October 24-26, 2014

Mid-Week Link Round Up: Räty, and the Kaz, and Sportsnet, oh my!

Jamie Lee Rattray
Jamie Lee Rattray, Junior at Clarkson
Hannah Brandt
Hannah Brandt, Sophomore at University of Minnesota
Jillian Saulnier
Jillian Saulnier, Junior at Cornell
  •  The three Patty Kazmaier finalists have been named! You can see the announcement over at USA Hockey. You can check out their stats, along with the other top ten finalists, over at Women’s Hockey Stats. Stats are, as always, not the only thing that goes into the Kazmaier award, but they’re pretty important.
  • In case you haven’t heard this, Noora Räty has entered an agreement for next season with Kiekko-Vantaa, a team in the second-tier Finnish men’s league Mestis. We don’t have a ton of info about this, and what we have has been pieced together with Google Translate, but here’s a very short article about it from the official Mestis site (in Finnish), and a slightly longer article from Yle, a Finnish new site (also in Finnish). We are now hastily trying to find good apps/websites to follow the Mestis league, and I’m cursing the day I took German instead of Finnish. I’m really hoping she gets some playing time. 🙂 Mestis is also the league where Hayley Wickenheiser played briefly.
  • With Sportsnet unveiling their “new” line-up of top talent for Hockey Night in Canada, there’s been some scuffles on Twitter and elsewhere about the diversity in their selection (or rather, lack there of). One of the best and most balanced articles we’ve seen on this is over at SBNation’s Silver Seven Sens. It hits on the big issue that what women there are in the analyst pipeline (and they are few) are poorly used, and often only trotted out for “the pretty” value, or when a regular cancels. In our view, it’s a lot of the classic issues of getting women into male-dominated fields, with the extra cheery on top of “but you didn’t play the game“, with the game always meaning, of course, NHL hockey. We’d love to see more recognition of this, and, as always, more women in our hockey coverage.
  • In other NCAA news, on Sunday the eight teams who will play for the NCAA Women’s Hockey Championship were announced! You can check out that announcement over at the NCAA website. Keep an eye out for more on this! The quarterfinals will be kicking off on March 15th, and the semifinals and championship games will be streamed live on the NCAA website.
  • The Minnesota Gophers visited the White House as part of an event recognizing 19 different collegiate champion teams. You can read more about it over at the Star Tribune and MN Daily, but one of the things I’ve seen mentioned in multiple places was how much emphasis Obama put on the importance of women’s sports, and the growth of women’s athletics. Nice to hear. You can also check out the Storified tweets from various Gopher twitter accounts, collected by the official Gopher’s Women’s Hockey twitter, over here.