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Team Scotiabank preview: PWHPA 2022-23

Rookies and veterans come together to form team Scotiabank?

Heather Pollock/PWHPA

Team Scotiabank

Forwards: Victoria Bach; Alex Carpenter; Mélodie Daoust; Madison Field; Grace Graham; Rebecca Johnston; Nicole Kosta; Hayley Lunny; Kelly Pannek; Shannon Stewart; Tatum Skaggs; Natalie Spooner; Blayre Turnbull

Defense: Jaime Bourbonnais; Mélanie Desrochers; Katelyn Gosling; Megan Keller; Brigette Lacquette; Makayla Langei; Cat Quirion; Ella Shelton

Goaltenders: Kristen Campbell; Amanda Makela; Emerance Maschmeyer

Staff: Becky McGee (GM), Dean Seymour (Head Coach)

Strength

Scotiabank’s forward group is a laundry list of decorated hockey players. The team could ice two- and a-bit forward lines of players with extensive Olympic experience. Carpenter and Daoust will be a formidable scoring force to contain. Both have multiple Olympic medals and an MVP trophy from their respective collegiate leagues. Together on a line, they would aggressively attack the net, surrounding the goalie with scoring threats. On different lines, these two would overwhelm teams with unrelenting offense.

The experience runs deeper with Canadians Johnston and Turnbull, two more Olympic icons, adding to this lineup. The new PWHPA model mixes American and Canadian players for lineups fans have never seen.

Weakness

Team Scotiabank’s defense lacks the star power some other teams have. I think the defensive core will rely heavily on system-oriented defense to shut down the powerhouse opponents. This can be really effective but often takes a few games to refine into an effective rhythm. Gaps and miscommunications in early games may lead to odd-player rushes for opposition teams. Single defenders on Scotiabank won’t be as effective against opposing rushes as some stars may be on other teams.

That being said, Bourbonnais and Shelton are young players with room for growth. They could take defensive steps to become the stars Scotiabank needs to be a powerhouse in all aspects of the game.

Additionally, Scotiabank will be shorthanded to start the year with only five defenders at the Montreal showcase. Lacquette, Langei, and Quirion will all be absent. Scotiabank forwards must backcheck to help their defense or risk exhausting the group. Watch for stamina to be a factor in the first-weekend showcase.

Players to watch:

Rebecca Johnston

Johnston has been a member of the Canadian national team since 2008. Over this decade and a half, she had played over 75 Olympic and world championship games. She has scored at nearly a point a game pace and, in 54 world championship games, had just eight penalty minutes!

Decades of elite experience gives Johnston the upper leg on opponents. Her hockey sense and IQ lead her to the right place on the ice to receive or make a quick pass. She’s a potent goal scorer using her wits to read the plays and jump on loose pucks.

Natalie Spooner

Canadian superstar Natalie Spooner is listed on the roster but won’t be playing anytime soon. Spooner announced shortly before the announcements that she was expecting a new “teammate to our lineup in December 2022!”

Spooner had a stunning Olympic performance in 2022, scoring at a two-point per-game pace over the tournament’s seven games. Even without stepping foot on the ice, her energy and encouragement will bring a lot to the team. If she does play with the team before the end of the season, that will be an incredible accomplishment. Hockey aside, Spooner is an energetic personality any hockey fan should want to follow.

Coach

Dean Seymour played a long career in pro hockey leagues in both North America and Europe. Over the last five years, he has coached junior hockey in various roles and leagues throughout Saskatchewan. He joined the PWHPA Calgary team in 2021 and will continue with the league this year, coaching team Sonnet.