Today Connecticut Whale general manager Amy Scheer confirmed in a media call that new signing Melissa Samoskevich is unable to join the Whale in Lake Placid due to her coaching obligations. Samoskevich joined Penn State University’s coaching staff as an assistant in August. Scheer also announced the club has signed fellow Quinnipiac alumna MacKenzie Lancaster to step into her spot on the roster.
This is a big loss for the Whale. On paper, Connecticut’s offense looked better than it had in years in large part due to the addition of Samoskevich. A gifted two-way forward, the former Bobcat was expected to feature on the Whale’s top line and help carry the team’s offense.
Samoskevich scored 109 points in 144 games — scoring at least 10 goals in each of her four seasons — at Quinnipiac and recently played with the U.S. national team, winning gold at the 2019 Worlds. She scored two goals in seven games at Espoo and made her national team debut at the 2018 Four Nations Cup.
The good news for the Whale is that there are still a lot of skilled forwards on this roster. One of them is the team’s newest signing.
Lancaster, a 5-10 forward from North Carolina, led Bobcats in scoring in her senior season in 2018-19 and finished second in scoring in 2017-18, behind only Samoskevich. She finished her collegiate career with 22 goals and 44 assists in 133 games. Lancaster adds more size and skill to a Whale roster with a forward group that is already bigger, faster, and more skilled than last year’s club.