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Team Sonnet preview: PWHPA 2022-23

Who doesn’t want to see Jenner and Knight on the same line?

(PWHPA)

Forwards: Hannah Brandt; Hanna Bunton; Samantha Cogan; Demi Crossman; Iya Gavrilova; Brianne Jenner; Hilary Knight; Rebecca Leslie; Carolyne Prévost; Abby Roque; Malia Schneider; Natasza Tarnowski; Alexa Vasko

Defence: Erin Ambrose; Leah Bohlken; Lilian Braga; Emily Brown; Emma Buckles; Ella Matteucci; Nikki Nightengale; Claire Thompson; Micah Zandee-Hart

Goaltenders: Lindsay Browning; Nicole Hensley; Erica Howe

Staff: Rebecca Michael (GM), Laura McIntosh (Head Coach)

Strength

Team Sonnet’s defenders don’t only have massive potential; they are hitting their stride on the way to achieving great heights. Claire Thompson is a shining star of the Canadian women’s national team. At the 2022 Olympics, Thompson exploded with 11 assists in seven games. The 24-year-old is flourishing and is yet to hit her peak. Ambrose and Zandee-Hart are two other Canadian defenders who performed well at the most recent Olympics. Quick playmakers who will serve the veteran finishers in the forward core make up this defence. The two groups will balance each other out nicely.

Weakness

Players Knight and Jenner have led PWHPA, Olympic, CWHL, and every other league imaginable, scoring races for a long time. This forward group is made up of bona fide stars who are reaching the end of their prime. They may struggle to keep up with the speedy youngsters of the opposing offences. This will leave room for fast defenders to jump up into the play. Hopefully, the veteran mentor ship can allow young forwards like Rebecca Leslie and Abby rock to flourish and take on a larger number of minutes. As this transition happens, the team could struggle to match the pace of other PWHPA sides

Player to watch:

Claire Thompson

I can’t understate how electric it was to watch Thompson at the 2022 Olympics. She had a strong NCAA career at Princeton, driving play from the tigers’ blue line. She averaged 0.67 points per game which is impressive over a 5-year career. But her performance on the international stage in the last three years has exceeded that substantially. Her vision and accurate passing have allowed her to rack up assists quickly. She also plays well in her own end, using effective gap control and a long frame to shut down rushing forwards. We’ve yet to see her put this talent on display at the PWHPA, and I’m excited to see her do so this season.

Coach

Laura McIntosh was an effective forward with Ohio State during her NCAA career. She left college hockey to coach Canadian U SPORTS hockey. She spent six years as an assistant coach, splitting the years between Laurier and Waterloo Universities. McIntosh also played in the CWHL and has worked as a development coach in Ontario. She joins the PWHPA this year to coach Team Sonnet.