South Division teams didn’t fare that well as a whole against their North Division counterparts at the Merrimack Showcase, but will head this weekend for some divisional play at RPI and Union College.
NAHA Roster Boasts Several D-1 Commits
The North American Hockey Academy (NAHA) will be a tough opponent in the South Division. Coach Bill Driscoll has a deep and talented team and hopes to make another run to the league championship it has won six times in the JWHL’s eight years. No less than 10 Divison I commits will be a plus.
Wisconsin-commit Delaney Drake leads NAHA White in scoring in the early going, and is a part of an impressive offensive group that also includes Paige Lewis (Cornell), captain Carlee Turner (UNH), Bailey Bennett (Vermont), Megan Hayes (RPI), Maegan Beres (Boston College) and Hayley Lunny (Providence).
On the blue line, Caroline Ross (Boston College), Skylar Podvey (Ohio State) and Sam Benoit will be stalwarts in front of goaltenders Jenna Pieva and Emme Ostrander.
Many New Faces On Bench For Washington Pride
Although its early-season record may not show it, the Washington Pride believes it is on the right track to a successful season. The Pride has 10 new players this winter, including Sierra Semmel, a post-grad from Maine, and Anna Kublina from Latvia.
Junior Veronika Pettey has picked up where she left off last season, when she was the Pride’s top scorer, leading the offense in the early going, and senior Maggie McLaughlin, the leading scorer so far this winter with 22 pts (including non-league tilts). Madison Farrand will be a key forward, while freshmen Julia Blitz and Mollie Dalbey are already seeing significant minutes.
Joining Kublina on the blue line are post-grad Zoey Pellewitz and Breea Kobernick. Yale commit Gianna Meloni will be the backbone in goal for the Pride and coach Kush Sidhu.
Newcomer CIHA Should Find JWHL Good Fit
A newcomer to the league, the Canadian International Hockey Academy is ready for the challenges the JWHL brings. The team has a solid mix of returning and new players to the program who are working well together.
Chrissy Colizza is the team’s point leader thus far, while Kayla Trujillo has scored three goals on the young season. Forward Nicole Dunbar has committed to UNH, while Keisha Dicaire is a player to watch up front as well.
Defensemen Sydney Linnick and Alex Sawyer are highly-regarded, while Taylor Elias will be the key in goal for CIH, which is in Ontario.
Keep An Eye On Young Boston Shamrocks
The Boston Shamrocks dropped four of their opening five league games against North Division opponents but were competitive in each tilt, which gives the club some confidence heading into this weekend’s Showcase with South Division clubs.
Newcomer Amanda Conway has led the club in league play with four goals, while Clarkson recruit Michaela Boyle and Providence recruit Kathleen McHugh have been involved in the scoring as well. Veteran Jessie Jacques, committed to Maine, has been a solid contributor.
Harvard University commit Aly Peper keys the blue line for coach Josh Hechter. New junior defenseman Jenna Abeyta from Colorado has chipped in with three league points on the young season. Senior goalie Kia Castonguay is also a Clarkson University recruit.
Colorado Selects A Work In Progress
With only two returning players, this season will be a work in progress for the Colorado Selects, who will be young.
Coach Karen Rickard will rely heavily on the veteran leadership of captain Nicole Watson, who rejoins Colorado after taking last year off, and assistant captains Lexi Martinez and Morgan McIver. Senior defenseman Madison Maloney leads the team in scoring in the early going.
“The best part about this team is that they are a bunch of fighters,” Rickard said. “With players on the team from South Dakota, California, Georgia and Arizona, they’ve all had to really fight to get where they are. They work hard in practice every day and want so badly to get to the next level.”