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2018 CWHL Draft Preview: Top five NCAA players

Who should you look out for from the NCAA in this years CWHL draft?

Goalie Shea Tiley of Clarkson University
Michelle Jay

The 2018 CWHL Draft is right around the corner, and the prospect list is officially set. On Sunday, Aug. 26 in Toronto, the next generation of CWHL players will be drafted with the hopes of making a team for the 2018-19 season. Players from all over the world have signed up to be drafted. Leading into the draft we’ll look at who has pre-signed (a new addition to this year’s draft) and who some of the top prospects are.

We start with five top prospects who just finished their NCAA career.

Julia Fedeski, defender, University of New Hampshire

Defense wins championships, and having a player like Julia Fedeski in their lineup would make any team happy. Fedeski, hailing from Algonquin Highlands, Ont., plays a solid offensive game, while not giving up anything on the defensive end. The defender was 14th in the NCAA last season with six power play goals, and she had 17 points on the year. Fedeski also had a +/- of +6 and blocked 95 shot attempts. A big positive is staying out of the penalty box, and Fedeski has showed that she can do just that, getting just 18 PIMs in 36 games. Previously drafted by the Boston Pride of the NWHL draft in 2017, it will be interesting to see where she will end up in the CWHL to continue her career.

Brittany Howard, right wing, Robert Morris University

A team looking for a proven goal scorer and playmaker should look no further than Brittany Howard. Coming off an impressive career at Robert Morris, where she scored 79 goals and had 181 points, Howard is second among active NCAA players in goals and points, and tied for second among active players in assists, with 102.

Coming off her best goal scoring season with 25 goals, Howard can continue to put the puck in the net for a CWHL team in need of a high-energy forward. The St. Thomas, Ont., native had a career +/- of 66, with a +33 in her senior year alone. With numbers like that, any team in the league would be lucky to have a talent as good as Howard on their team moving forward.

Jennifer MacAskill, forward, Mercyhurst University

Faceoffs are a big key to the game and controlling possession. If a team wants to keep the puck from the other team, drafting Jennifer MacAskill would be a good choice. MacAskill won .596 percent of her faceoffs in her senior year at Mercyhurst, as well as adding six goals and four assists on offense. Not only was she a solid center, MacAskill was also team captain for the 2017-18 season.

Earning only 18 PIMs throughout the season and blocking 12 shots, the forward from Auld’s Cove, N.S., is a solid two-way forward who could help a team looking to move up and down the ice easily. During her senior season, Mercyhurst hosted Team China, which included players from the {then] Kunlun Red Star and Vanke Rays. MacAskill and her teammates held their own against Team China, and that experience gave her a taste of playing in the CWHL next season against the Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays.

Shea Tiley, goaltender, Clarkson University

If a team wants to sure up their play between the pipes, they can do no better than Shea Tiley. The Owen Sound, Ont., native has had an impressive career in four years at Clarkson. In her time with the Golden Knights, Tiley won back-to-back National Championships in her junior and senior years, and only missed 9 games in four years. With career stats that include a .937 save percentage, a 1.38 GAA and 36 shutouts, with 12 coming in her senior season alone, any team would be lucky to have Tiley as their last line of defense.

She appreciates a high volume of shots on goal against her — she has said “I think, in my opinion, it’s easier to play when you have a lot of shots because it gets you into the game” — and depending on where she gets drafted, Tiley could face a high number of shots. Teams like the Worcester Blades or Toronto Furies are in need of a solid netminder. No matter where she is drafted, expect Tiley to compete at a high level next season.

Lauren Williams, defender, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Having a defender who can help the team on the offensive end without giving up a bunch of goals on the other end is something that cannot be overlooked by any of the teams for the upcoming season. Lauren Williams put together a solid career at Wisconsin, scoring six and assisting on 20 in four years. Her best season was her senior year, when she assisted on nine goals and had 12 points, with four of her assists being game winners. The Windsor, Ont., native had a +/- of +22 last season, and blocked 43 shot on goal attempts, holding it down on defense and helping the offense shine for a solid Badgers team. Williams could boost a defensive core for a team looking for a clutch passer who can take care of the puck no matter where on the ice she is.