[Originally written July 2017, when the Premier Hockey Federation, PHF, was called the National Women’s Hockey League, NWHL]
After two successful years for the NWHL as a whole, I thought I would take a look at how each of the founding four teams have performed. First up in this two year review, the Connecticut Whale.
Having started off their franchise with an impressive 8 game winning streak, including a victory over the Boston Pride, a feat they have yet to repeat. However, the Whale couldn’t keep this production up and after two years are sitting on a 19-20-1 record. That’s not to say they haven’t had their successes, in the inaugural season of the NWHL they went 13-5-0 to claim the #2 seed. Across the two years they’ve had 9 All-Star’s, with Kelli Stack wining that honour two years in a row.
Things didn’t go so well in the second season, as they mirrored their 8 game winning streak in the opening season with an 8 game losing streak in the second year. They finished with a record of 5-12-1 and crumbled in the semi-finals against Boston, losing 8-2.
Season three, at the moment, isn’t looking all too bright for the Whale either as Kelli Stack has left the NWHL for the new Chinese CWHL expansion team. She has led the Whale in points across the two years, totalling 41 points, 10 more than second place Kelly Babstock. Others are going to have to step up to the mark, and they might find what they need in Hayley Skarupa who has an impressive pace of 1.38 PPG in her first season.
Being one of the two teams who have yet to make the finals of the playoffs, could season three be their year? They are what I would describe at the ‘almost maybe’ team, they have all the pieces, they just need to tighten up a things (their goal keeping situation and their special teams to name a few).