Haley Skarupa and Amanda Kessel lit the lamp for the PWHPA ‘All-Stars’ on Friday, while Katie Burt made 34 saves on 38 shots. In the end, a strong effort came up short for the group, who dropped a 4-2 decision to South Shore Kings NCDC team inside AdventHealth Center Ice.
Tonight, the PWHPA returns to action to conclude a three-in-three set against the Philadelphia Hockey Club. Philadelphia is in their first season at the NCDC level. They joined the league this season after purchasing membership from the Boston Bandits.
It hasn’t been an easy start for coach Rylan Ferster. PHC started the season 2-11-1 prior to coming to ‘Hub City Tampa’, and then proceeded to lose 7-1 in their opener on Thursday to the Boston Advantage.
At 2-12-1, hope would normally be dead for a Dineen Cup Playoff spot. Not this season. In a South Division with a number of teams off to sluggish starts, Philadelphia entered Friday just four points back of the postseason. They ended they day two points out.
Jaxon Mase scored just 63 seconds into Friday’s game against the Northern Cyclones, kicking off a stretch of seven consecutive goals for PHC. Mase would finish the day with five points (4 g, 1 a), while linemates Daunte Fortner (4 assists) and Tyler McNeil (1 g, 3 a) also had multi-point efforts in the 8-2 victory.
Mase paces the Philadelphia offense with 16 points (10 g, 6 a), while Max Cocchi sits second with eleven points (3 g, 8 a). Fortner leads the team with ten assists, while defender Chip Hamlett has the offensive lead from the blue line with ten points (1 g, 9 a).
Philadelphia’s goaltending has been a sore spot early. Dallas, Texas native Alex Proctor secured his first victory yesterday, but is 1-7-1 on the season with a .894 save percentage. Backup Christian Manz is just 2-5-0 with an .888 save percentage on the season.
Once again, the PWHPA ‘All-Stars’ lit the lamp on the powerplay on Friday. This time, it was Amanda Kessel stepping into a shot to tie the game 2-2 at 6:08 of the third period. Kessel, who set up Dani Cameranesi on the powerplay on Thursday, has been outstanding on the advantage during this trip.
Kings NCDC coach Drew Omicioli was impressed with the special teams performance of the PWHPA on Friday morning.
“They’re an excellent team, they move pucks really well, excellent powerplay, great special teams,” Omicioli said. “Their penalty kill was really good too. It was a nice game.”
PWHPA ‘All-Star’ coach Bill Flanagan was also again impressed with the powerplay unit.
“Well, we have five great players on it, quite frankly we have ten of them. Both units,” Flanagan said postgame. “These are just terrific hockey players, good chemistry with them, they’re moving pucks and winning puck battles. We should have scored a couple more, I mean we, Amanda Kessel missed on a one-timer, just missed the top corner there, that would have been another one so its just quality players making real quality plays.”
Slight changes for the PWHPA in today’s game. Forward Chelsey Goldberg, who was scratched on Friday, will return to the lineup and dress as the 13th forward. Defenders Codie Cross and Lillian Braga will be scratched on the blueline tonight, while Olivia Zafuto returns to the lineup.
Defender Megan Keller has arrived in Tampa Bay and cleared COVID-19 protocols, making her eligible to play tonight. She replaces F Brianna Decker on the roster. Decker was originally slated to join the team late but will not be reporting.
Dani Cameranesi – Kelly Pannek – Amanda Kessel
Sophia Shaver – Hannah Brandt – Haley Skarupa
Hayley Scamurra – Abby Roque – Sydney Brodt
Nicole Schammel – Gigi Marvin – Delaney Belinskas
Megan Keller – Kali Flanagan
Lee Stecklein – Savannah Harmon
Jincy Dunne – Olivia Zafuto
Where To Watch:
Fans can watch today’s game live and for free on Hockey TV. Veteran play-by-play voice Alex Thomas, who has called numerous PWHPA and NCAA games over his career, will again have the call of the contest from AdventHealth Center Ice in Florida.
You can follow ‘The Women’s Hockey Tribune’ on Twitter for highlights and postgame interviews as well! Live scoring is available on the USPHL’s official website.