Melissa Samoskevich to join Whale for playoffs

W Hockey Partners announced this morning that Connecticut native Melissa Samoskevich, who signed with the NWHL’s Connecticut Whale in the summer of 2020 but was unable to attend the Lake Placid tournament, will be joining the team for their playoff run in Boston in hopes of bringing home the Whale’s very first Isobel Cup.

“The Whale organization stood by me when I was unable to play in Lake Placid, so I’m very determined to follow through on my commitment to them and do everything possible to help the Whale win our first Isobel Cup,” said Samoskevich in the release.

The forward, who spent the duration of the 2020-21 season as an assistant coach for Penn State’s women’s hockey team and helped lead the squad to its first ever regular season CHA title, will make her long-awaited debut in green, blue, and white for the Whale when they take on the Minnesota Whitecaps in the Isobel Cup semifinals on March 26.

NWHL Playoffs to Resume March 26

“This is an incredible opportunity to play in the NWHL, represent Connecticut, and showcase the game on national television, and I’m going to make the most of it.”

Samoskevich spent the 2019-20 season practicing with the PWHPA in New England and competing in eight games with the SDHL’s Brynäs IF, where she registered six assists. She also skated in two showcases with the PWHPA: the Secret Showcase in Toronto and the Philadelphia Showcase, where she was apart of Team Kessel and Team Decker, respectively.

Prior to her professional career, Samoskevich spent four seasons at Quinnipiac, where she registered over 100 points and led the team in scoring her sophomore and junior seasons.

Quinnipiac head coach Cass Turner had nothing but praise for the former Bobcat, saying in the release that Samoskevich “has tremendous character” and a “commitment to valuing everything required to be an elite athlete.” Turner added, “She plays with consistency with and without the puck and [has] a competitiveness to do whatever it takes to win.”

In 2019, Samoskevich represented the United States in Espoo, Finland, at the Women’s World Championship. Over five games, she recorded two goals en route to the Americans’ contentious gold medal victory. That gold medal wasn’t her first bit of hardware with Team USA either — in 2014 and 2015, she brought home silver and gold medals as a member of the American U-18 squad in Budapest and Buffalo, respectively.

On the Whale, Samoskevich will bring some much-needed offensive firepower to a team that has historically struggled with generating offense. While the Whale have definitely shown massive improvements in season six, there’s still a little bit left to be desired — and Samoskevich is the perfect final piece to that puzzle.

The 2021 Isobel Cup playoffs will begin on Friday, March 26, and will be broadcast on NBC in the U.S. and Twitch in Canada/internationally.

NWHL Lake Placid report card: Connecticut Whale