With 2018 rolling in, we looked at some of the resolutions each NWHL team could use in the new year.
Pride's Resolution: Hit the Lab
Chemistry is a tricky thing to identify and cultivate in hockey. In a game that is often defined by numbers and events that can be tracked and counted, chemistry is often overlooked. But we all know chemistry when we see it. We also know when it's just not there.
The Boston Pride lost Haley Skarupa to her Olympic dream and a few weeks later signed defender Kaleigh Fratkin to replace her roster spot. With Fratkin in the mix, the Pride have a brand new element. Now it's up to head coach Thomas Poeck to find the best lines and defensive pairs he can before the playoffs arrive.
Alternatively, the Pride could just hold the fort until the 2018 Olympics wrap up. Boston has the most connections to the United States Women's National Team and still has three roster spots open. Alex Carpenter may not be coming back, but there's still a few superstars who could re-join the Pride just in time for the 2018 Isobel Cup Playoffs.
Beauts’ Resolution: Figure Out Those Pesky Third Periods
In the first seven games of the 2017-18 season the Beauts have had a lot of trouble with third periods. Thus far this season Buffalo has been out-shot 89 to 53 and outscored 14 to 4 in third periods. It's no wonder that there have been some concerns about the team's conditioning.
The good news for the Beauts is that there’s more than enough talent and leadership on and off the ice to turn this around. Buffalo has nine more regular season games to turn this discouraging trend around. If you believe in intangibles, there should also be a lot of swagger and confidence in the Beauts locker room now that Kim and Terry Pegula are the team’s new owners. Remember, it’s a new year and the Beauts are still the defending Isobel Cup Champions.
Whale's Resolution: Turn it Around on Special Teams
With the first half of the NWHL regular season in the books the Whale have the misfortune of being the unluckiest team in the league. Connecticut’s PDO (all strengths) is just 94 thanks in large part to the team’s brutal 5.4 shooting percentage. And that number is dragged down by the Whale’s alarmingly ineffective power play. Almost all of Connecticut’s offense has come from solid even strength play.
Perhaps the best thing that the Whale can do is loosen up on the power play. If that doesn’t work, peppering the net with shots is never a bad idea. Lately Connecticut has also struggled while shorthanded. The more that the Whale can do to make things easier on rookie Sydney Rossman the better off they will be. That means keeping shots to the outside and helping Rossman clean up rebounds.
Riveters’ Resolution: Reverse the winning streak curse
The Metropolitan Riveters are two games away from tying the Whale’s winning streak (9-0-0) from the first season and another nine games from Boston’s 15-win season.
In each of the first two NWHL seasons, the team with the longest regular season winning streak failed to raise the Isobel Cup. So, the Riveters should resolve to either lose before reaching a ninth consecutive win (not looking likely), or change the trend. As of now, the latter seems the safer bet.