The first Secret Dream Gap Tour stop is here!
The 2021 PWHPA season kicks off on Saturday with the first set of games between Team adidas (Minnesota) and Team WSF (New Hampshire).
The games are bound to be interesting for quite a few reasons. First off, these two teams will play four games against each other in eight days (these two in New York and two in Chicago next weekend). We can only assume, due to the pandemic, they’ll only be playing each other for a while too. Familiarity breeds rivalry.
Speaking of that, there are also many teammates-turned-opponents. In the last few months, 25 of the 34 players on these two teams played together when the PWHPA played USHPL teams in Florida. A number of US National Team players will face off against each other, some for the first time in a professional setting.
The PWHPA also introduced a new standings points system that awards points for hat tricks, shutouts, and shorthanded goals on top of traditional points for wins. We also don’t know how, or if, the points for on-ice events will change strategy to try to gain more standings points. Add in cash prizes at the end of the weekend, and suddenly every weekend is the playoffs.
How to Watch
Saturday, Feb. 27 at Protec Ponds Training Center at 8 p.m. ET
Watch on CBC Gem, cbcsports online, and the CBC Sports app in globally!
Sunday, Feb 28 at Madison Square Garden at 7 p.m. ET
Watch on Sportsnet in Canada and NHL Network in the US.
Team adidas (MIN)
Forward: Hannah Brandt, Sydney Brodt, Dani Cameranesi, Kendall Coyne Schofield, Samantha Donovan, Hilary Knight, Anne Pankowski, Kelly Pannek, Abby Roque, Sophia Shaver, Ryleigh Houston
Defender: Demi Crossman, Savannah Harmon, Margo Lund, Lee Stecklein
Goaltender: Nicole Hensley, Maddie Rooney
What a stacked team. Forward depth for days. On the flip side, they only have four defenders rostered for the two days, which is going to be tough. It doesn’t take a stats wizard to know that’s a lot of minutes per player. Good thing they have two Olympians in net.
Player to watch: Kelly Pannek racked up 10 points* with six goals over the course of 11 games in Florida, the team leader in both categories. On a team with huge names like Coyne Schofield, Knight, and Pankowski, she’s exactly the type of depth forward that keeps opponents on their toes.
Team WSF (NH)
Forward: Amanda Kessel, Haley Skarupa, Gigi Marvin, Brianna Decker, Delaney Belinskas, Hayley Scamurra, Alexa Gruschow, Courtney Turner, Emily Field, Chelsey Goldberg
Defender: Jincy Dunne, Megan Keller, Codie Cross, Jacquie Greco, Kali Flanagan
Goaltender: Katie Burt, Alex Cavallini
Brianna Decker is on the New Hampshire roster which is a bit of a surprise as the forward was announced as part of the Calgary team. Decker did play in Florida so it wasn’t a total shock to see her though. She scored one goal in her few games against the USPHL teams.
Player to watch: Jincy Dunne is one of three rookies on a team of veterans (Belinskas and Cross are the other two). She had 24 assists in her senior season at Ohio State. She played in both trips to Florida and had a strong showing with a goal and at least one primary and two secondary assists*.
*The only stats available for three of the game in Florida were goal scorers so assists and points are not as accurate as possible.