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2021 NWHL Draft Recap: Metropolitan Riveters

The Riveters went all-in on defense in the draft

Michelle Jay

The Metropolitan Riveters had four selections in the 2021 Draft and they used all four picks on defenders. This offseason we’ve seen veteran All-Star defender Rebecca Morse in camp with the Connecticut Whale and Saroya Tinker and Sammy Kolowrat have signed elsewhere. That means there is a lot of room for new blood on the blue line.

“The goal was really to refresh our defensive group,” Riveters head coach Ivo Mocek said in draft show interview. “I believe we added a lot of talent and a lot of fresh legs straight out of college. I am excited to work with these players if things work out. We really wanted to bring more energy to the defensive group.”

So, let’s get to know the Riveters’ 2021 Draft Class a little bit better.

Caroline Ross (D) | 11th overall from Colgate University

The fact that the Riveters took Ross with their first pick of the draft suggests that they really like what they see. All signs indicate that she’s a highly coachable, steady presence on the blue line. She’s a stay-at-home defender, so her impact won’t always show up in boxcar stats. There’s a lot more to evaluating defenders than looking at their EliteProspects page.

Ross is 5-foot-7, has a left-handed shot, and is a native of Rochester, New York.

She had just two points in her final 33 games of NCAA competition so we shouldn’t expect her to produce much at the pro level. Ross also had a particularly quiet season as a redshirt senior, going scoreless and putting two shots on goal with seven blocked shots in 22 GP in 2020-21. With that said, we shouldn’t put too much stock in the pandemic season for any of these players. It was a strange, grueling year.

Player card created by Nayan Patel (@scootszn)

Before joining Colgate, Ross spent two seasons at Boston College. As a sophomore in 2017-18, she had a career-best 13 points — all assists — to go along with 36 PIM in 38 games. But we can get a better idea of what Ross might bring to the Riveters by looking at her first season with Colgate in 2018-19.

She played 38 games in 2018-19 and finished third on among Colgate defenders in blocked shots (49), shots on goal (36), and was second among the blueliners in PIM (26). Keep in mind she was playing on a blue line with Olivia Zafuto that season. So, she made a mark despite not having a featured role on the power play. That’s a promising sign.

Julia Scammell (D) | 17th overall from UNH

In the third round, the Riveters selected Julia Scammell from UNH.

Scammell had one point in 11 games with the Wildcats in 2020-21 and finished her collegiate career with one goal and 11 assists in 120 games. So, like Ross, there’s not a lot of offensive production to point to here. But Scammell has good size at 5-foot-10 and she blocked at least 20 shots in each of her first three seasons at UNH.

Player cards created by Nayan Patel (@scootszn)

Scammell was named to Hockey Canada’s preliminary roster for the 2015 U18 Worlds, so there may be a lot of potential left to unlock here. She also took just seven minor penalties in 120 NCAA DI games. It’s not uncommon to see bigger defenders spend a lot of time in the box, which might suggest that Scammell has above-average discipline. It’s typically something I keep an eye out for when researching defenders with size.

UNH head coach Hilary Witt really liked what Scammell brought to the table as a stay-at-home defender. It sounds like she has a good hockey IQ and is cool under pressure, which are traits she’ll need to rely on at this level.

Jordan Sanislo (D) | 23rd overall from Sacred Heart University

With the 23rd overall pick, the Riveters called the name of New Jersey native Jordan Sanislo, who was on the ice for the team’s free agent camp in Newark in June. She’s a local kid from Whippany, New Jersey and was captain of the New Jersey Colonials travel team. She was also team captain at Sacred Heart University.

Okay, let’s just throw out the nuttiness that was the 2020-21 season where Sanislo played 11 games and her team was outscored 12-50. Instead, let’s turn our focus to her last “normal” season of hockey — her 2019-20 junior season.

In 31 games as a junior, Sanislo blocked 34 shots — good for third on the team — and averaged just shy of one shot on goal a game. She had two goals and two assists, picking up just one point on the power play. Sanislo was a steady presence for the Pioneers who was clearly a big part of the team’s identity. It sounds like the Riveters drafted a natural leader in the fourth round.

“This is a huge accomplishment, and one that she should be very proud of,” said SHU’s head coach Tom O’Malley. “Jordan has always worked hard in everything that she has done, on and off the ice and this is a fitting and just reward as she takes this next step into professional hockey.”

Morgan Schauer (D) | 29th overall from Long Island University

Morgan Schauer split her college hockey career between Robert Morris University and LIU. In 85 career games she scored one goal, picked up nine assists, and logged 42 PIM. A captain at LIU, Schauer very much fits the mold of a shut-down defender with her size and style of play. If she signs with the Riveters, she will instantly add a lot of size and strength to the lineup with her 6-foot frame.

In her junior season in 2019-20, Schauer had 35 blocked shots in 38 games and made 15 trips to the penalty box. She scored a goal and eight assists, four of which came on the power play in what was her most productive season of college hockey. She was also invited to a USA Hockey National Player Development Camp before her college career. Something tells me Schauer is nowhere close to her ceiling as a hockey player. In the right situation, she could develop into a very valuable asset.

Another interesting note about Schauer is that she played under head coach Rob Morgan at LIU. Morgan knows what it takes to be successful at the pro level in the women’s game. He was head coach of the CWHL’s Vanke Rays in 2017-18.

Data courtesy of collegehockeynews.com, EliteProspects.com, HockeyEastOnline.com.