The PWHPA ‘All-Stars’ are off to a strong start, and could really make waves later this morning. After falling behind 2-0 against the Tampa Bay Juniors on Thursday afternoon, the PWHPA battled back and claimed a 5-3 victory to open their six-game slate. Today, they’ll move from the Premier League to the NCDC. The opponent? The South Shore Kings.
Scouting South Shore:
The Kings are a solid NCDC team that is looking to return to the Dineen Cup Playoffs after a two-year absence. The Kings won an emotional 3-2 game against the Boston Junior Bruins to open the season in September, but have been hot-and-cold since. Right now? They are hot.
The Kings, based out of Foxboro, Massachusetts, came to Tampa with a 7-9-1 record. They enter this morning’s tilt with a 9-9-1 record thanks to a 2-0-0 start in the Hub. The Kings won the first game played in this event on Wednesday morning, scoring a 6-4 victory over the PAL Junior Islanders. On Thursday, the Kings battled back to knock off the Northern Cyclones by a 3-2 score in the shootout.
Tokyo native Chikara Hanzawa is well worth your time. Hanzawa has totally transformed the Kings’ offense, scoring 13 points (8 g, 5 a) in 13 games. F Ryan Bottrill, who scored twice in yesterday’s win, is tied with Hanzawa for first on the team in scoring with 13 points (6 g, 7 a).
D Nolan Hayes, who possesses a blistering shot, leads the scoring on defense with 11 points (5 g, 6 a) in 17 games. Rookie F Alexander Babich (RPI), F Jack Luca (Connecticut College), F Greg Peterson (Wesleyan) and D Ben Ritter (Dartmouth) are among the Kings expected to play this morning who are committed to NCAA programs.
In goal, NCDC veteran Evan Szary is 9-8-1 with a 3.22 GAA and a .924 save percentage. He’s won both games in Tampa this week.
Tuesday’s practice work clearly paid off. The PWHPA ‘All-Stars’ spent part of the session working on special teams. They won the special teams battle on Thursday, killing the lone penalty they took and scoring on one of two advantages. Dani Cameranesi’s powerplay gave the PWHPA a 3-2 lead at the time, which they never did lose.
“Really good, you’re absolutely right,” head coach Bill Flanagan said postgame when asked about how good his special teams units were. “We ran powerplay for about 15 minutes the other day, but again, when you put five skilled, really top end, quality players on the ice, they’re gonna make plays. Same thing with the penalty kill. They outcompeted Tampa on the penalty kill, so yeah, all around it was good.”
Flanagan isn’t the only one who thought things went well on Thursday.
“I think it went really well,” F Hayley Scamurra told the USPHL postgame. “A little slow to start, but that’s to be expected when we haven’t played in a little bit. We really picked it up in the second period, and I think we took the game over from there.”
South Shore will be playing their third game in as many days. Their games on Wednesday and Thursday were both at 8:00 am, and featured largely the same lineup. Their lines for Friday’s game are to be determined. You can follow the USPHL (@USPHL), South Shore Kings (@SSK_Hockey) and ‘Women’s Hockey Tribune’ (@WIH_Tribune) on Twitter for more lineup info.
The PWHPA will dress 12 forwards, six defenders and three goalies. Forwards Chelsey Goldberg (healthy) and Brianna Decker (personal) will be out of the lineup as scratches. They will be joined by D Olivia Zafuto (healthy).
Here is how the PWHPA will look when they take the ice at 10:40 am.
Dani Cameranesi – Kelly Pannek – Amanda Kessel
Sophia Shaver – Hannah Brandt – Haley Skarupa
Nicole Schammel – Abby Roque – Sydney Brodt
Hayley Scamurra – Gigi Marvin – Delaney Belinskas
Lee Stecklein – Kali Flanagan
Savannah Harmon – Jincy Dunne
Codie Cross – Lillian Braga
Katie Burt, Nicole Hensley and Brittany Ott will all dress. There has been no announcement on who will start, or if playing time will be divided.
Where To Watch:
Fans can watch today’s game live 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.