Kelli Stack has 20 goals in 18 CWHL games this season. Yes, you read that right. The woman who USA Hockey chose not to include on its roster for the Four Nations Cup and the Time is Now Tour is lighting it up in China with Kunlun Red Star.
Red Star is 14-4-0 this season and is currently riding a 12-game winning streak. The team has been carried by its international imports and no player has shouldered more of the weight than Stack.
As staggering as Stack’s 20 goals are, that number hardly tells the whole story. Her numbers aren’t being padded by empty netters or inflated by a mercilessly effective power play. Stack has scored 16 of her 20 goals at even strength and has failed to score a goal in just five games this season. In other words: she’s pretty much unstoppable.
The scary thing for the rest of the CWHL is that Stack may just be getting started.
Alex Carpenter recently joined the ranks of Kunlun after being left off of the United States Olympic team. As a result, USA Hockey’s two biggest snubs are playing together in China along with five other American skaters including Shiann Darkangelo and Zoe Hickel. Head coach Digit Murphy now has even more previously established chemistry to take advantage of - and so far she’s done just that.
We’ve only seen three games of Stack and Carpenter playing together in China, but the early returns have been nothing short of sensational. Stack has assists on all four of Carpenter’s goals for Kunlun and Carpenter has picked up assists on two of Stack’s four goals since January 13. Red Star has outscored opposing teams 11-2 since Carpenter joined the mix.
It’s hard to project what Stack is capable of for the remainder of the 2017-18 season. Before Carpenter joined Kunlun Stack was already on pace to have the highest goal total in a CWHL season since 2011-12. Red Star still has 10 games left on their schedule, including three upcoming games against the Boston Blades.
Stack has a lot of work to do to catch Meghan Agosta’s single season CWHL record of 41 goals, but with Carpenter in the mix, anything is possible. Do you think USA Hockey will be watching?