It’s time for another installment of Behind the Glass — the Ice Garden’s weekly column collecting stories, stats, trends, and observations from the world of professional women’s hockey. The Isobel Cup was raised last Sunday by the Minnesota Whitecaps and the Clarkson Cup will be raised this Sunday by either Les Canadiennes de Montréal or the Calgary Inferno.
- The Minnesota Whitecaps sank the Metropolitan Riveters’ bid to win back-to-back Isobel Cups when they defeated them by a score of 5-1 last Friday in their postponed semifinal. Two days later, they became the fourth NWHL franchise to win the Isobel Cup by beating the Buffalo Beauts, 2-1 in overtime.
- Hannah Brandt scored two goals against the Riveters in last Friday’s Isobel Cup Semifinal. This year, Brandt scored five goals, notched three assists, and put 16 shots on net in five total games against the Riveters. It’s worth noting that the Riveters traded to acquire Brandt’s rights back on April 27, 2016.
- Despite the lopsided score of last weekend’s semifinal, goaltender Katie Fitzgerald stopped 23 of the 26 shots she faced in the 56:16 she played against the Whitecaps. The Riveters pulled their goalie for the first time with 7:16 left in regulation, which is likely the earliest goalie pull in NWHL history.
Katie Fitzgerald deserves more recognition for her return to form over the last few months. She had a .924 Sv% in her last 6 GP, including a .923 Sv% in the playoffs. That was quite a statement after the Rivs' goalie controversy.— Mike Murphy (@DigDeepBSB) March 19, 2019
She's still Brick Wall Fitzy.
- Allie Thunstrom drew three penalties against the Riveters on Friday. She also put seven shots on net and assisted on the Whitecaps’ shorthanded empty-net goal with 27 seconds left in regulation (scored by Lauren Barnes).
- With her goal in the first period of last Sunday’s Isobel Cup Final, Emily Pfalzer became just the second player in NWHL history to score in multiple Isobel Cup Finals. The first player to do it was current Les Canadiennes de Montréal star Hilary Knight. (stick taps to Matt Falkenbury)
- Beauts defender Blake Bolden established herself as one of the league’s most consistent skaters this season. She finished the year with 10 assists in her last nine games and took just one minor penalty in 16 regular season games and two postseason games. She is a finalist for the NWHL’s 2019 Defender of the Year.
- Kendall Coyne Schofield led all skaters with the 14 shots she put on net in the Isobel Cup Playoffs. She and center Katie McGovern were the only two players on Minnesota to pick up primary points in both of the Whitecaps’ playoff games.
- The Whitecaps outshot the Beauts 26-15 in the last 40:49 of the Isobel Cup Final after being outshot 8-5 in the first period. Lee Stecklein’s Isobel Cup-winning goal was the only shot on goal in overtime.
Stecklein OT winner— Ben Mathewson (@Ben_Mathewson) March 17, 2019
Whitecaps win Isobel Cup pic.twitter.com/8rvdi9pnrH
- All-Star netminder Amanda Leveille posted an amazing .966 save percentage in the 120:49 she tended goal for Minnesota in the playoffs. She allowed just one goal at even strength in the postseason. Leveille is now the only goaltender to win the Isobel Cup twice.
- Last Sunday’s Isobel Cup Final marked the third-consecutive year that the Cup Final was decided by a single goal.
- Courtney Kessel, the head coach of the Toronto Furies, was named as one of the finalists for the CWHL’s 2019 Coach of the Year Award. Under Kessel, the Furies improved from a record of 9-17-2 in the 2017-18 season to a record of 14-14-0 this year.
- Over 500+ NHL players participated in a players’ poll that voted Hilary Knight as the best current female hockey player.
.@HilaryKnight, game recognizes game. The 500+ NHL players who took part in the 2018-19 #NHLPAPlayerPoll tabbed you as the best current female hockey player. Congratulations! pic.twitter.com/N33Cqq6PyN— NHLPA (@NHLPA) March 20, 2019
- Les Canadiennes’ Emerance Maschmeyer is the first goaltender to be nominated for the Jayna Hefford Trophy. She’s also the leading contender for the CWHL’s 2019 Goaltender of the Year, an award she was also nominated for last season.
- Defender Jenni Hiirikoski scored two goals and picked up the primary assist on Michelle Karvinen’s OT winner against Linköping HC on March 20. It’s also worth nothing that Karvinen had assists on both of Hiirikoski’s goals in that game.
- Yesterday, Luleå Hockey defeated Linköping HC by a score of 5-1 to lift the SDHL’s cup. Luleå got on the board just 23 seconds into the must-win game when Emma Nordin buried her 11th goal of the postseason. Before the first period was over, Luleå scored three more goals (all at even strength).
- Rebecca Stenberg scored two goals for Luleå yesterday in what was the final game of her SDHL career. Stenberg finished the 2019 Playoffs with four goals and six assists in 11 games.
What a beautiful classy moment that personifies Jenni Hiirikoski as a leader: she gives the trophy and the celebration to Rebecca Stenberg, who scored two goals today in the final game of her career and retires a champion. https://t.co/BNaKfWBOje— Meredith Foster (@fosterwrites) March 21, 2019
- Agidel Ufa captain Olga Sosina had a hat trick, including an overtime goal, in her team’s improbable third period comeback against SKIF in Game Three of the semifinals. Agidel was down 3-0 when Sosina started the comeback by scoring with 7:04 left in the third. She scored all three of her goals in a span of 16:09.
- Goaltender Valeria Merkusheva, 19, stopped 27 of the 28 shots she faced in Dynamo St. Petersburg’s 3-1 win over Biryusa in Game One of their semifinal series. Merkusheva had a .936 save percentage for Dynamo in the regular season.