The PWHPA started the Dream Gap Tour in October in Montreal. They continued the tour in early November in Truro, N.S. and will meet again next weekend in Pittsburgh. Here’s a quick analysis on where the teams stand today.
Team Harvey’s was on fire at the PWHPA’s Truro, N.S. Showcase earlier in November. They won all three games remaining undefeated since their opening-day loss.
Three of the leading PWHPA scorers play for Harvey’s, which explains their success on the scoresheet. Through five games, the team has twenty goals. Marie Philip Poulin and Jamie Lee Rattray each have four goals this year, tied with two others for the tour lead. Defender Lee Stecklein leads the PWHPA in assists with six.
Harvey’s averages 33 shots a game and 31.4 shots against, both of which land them third amongst the four teams. But the shooting percentage for team Harvey’s is 12 per cent which is good enough to outscore any other team.
Harvey’s defensive ability to control opponents’ entries has not been stellar, but Ann-Renee Desbiens and team have been strong. As a trio, the Harvey’s goaltenders have a .930 save percentage.
Against Scotiabank, Emily Clark was a standout player. In their Nov. 6 matchup, she had a goal and assist, connecting with Poulin twice. The tenacious forward is threatening to face, and opposing defenders don’t know what to do when meeting her and Poulin combined.
Sonnet’s goaltending has been league-leading. Nicole Hensley has carried the lion’s share of the workload with a .950 save percentage over three games. Lindsay Browning, who dazzled in her debut, follows closely with a .943. Erica Howe allowed five goals in her only game played, which leaves her at the bottom of the PWHPA table.
The team has looked defensively strong. They’ve allowed the fewest shots of any team, putting their goalies in a position to be successful.
Apart from A 6-2 blowout at the hands of team Harvey’s, Sonnet has been involved in a lot of very tight games. A couple of minor adjustments to the offence could tip the scales.
It’s not surprising that a team with Claire Thompson and Erin Ambrose on defence has been successful. Brianne Jenner and Abby Roque have shone at the opposite end of the ice. Roque is matching the production she saw two years ago and has four goals in five games.
The team also has a lot of players with grit who thrive in tight games where grinding provides the scoring solution. Players like Hilary knight and Sam Cogan are not fun to play against. The team needs to lean into this gritty identity and use it to help wear down other teams. If the puck starts to fall in the right places, Sonnet could see a lot of success.
Through two showcase weekends, Adidas has looked middle-of-the-pack, splitting their games. Their offence has been able to produce on a couple of occasions, but Adidas has allowed more goals than any team in the PWHPA, averaging 3.6 goals against.
Kendall Coyne Schofield leads the team in scoring with two goals and three assists in five games. Laura Stacey has also had an excellent performance through the opening two showcases of the season.
Sarah nurse is a superstar and needs to carry more of the weight of this team. She has two goals in five games but has the potential to be the best player in the PWHPA. Her 2.6 points per game performance at the 2022 Olympics indicated exactly how dominant a power-forward Nurse is. Opposing teams should be terrified when she steps on the ice, and she hasn’t quite performed to that level yet this year. A dominant weekend from her could tip the scales in Adidas’ favour and send them shooting up the standings.
Maddie Rooney and Aerin Frankel have split goaltending duties for adidas. Though the team allows fewer shots than Harvey’s and Scotiabank, they’ve allowed more goals than anyone. Frankel has a league-worst .893 save percentage in two games, and Rooney sits just above her with a .902. The two are the youngest goaltending duo in the PWHPA, which may indicate a longer period necessary for the two to settle in.
Scotiabank lost two in Truro, dropping them to the bottom of the table. The team has evidenced struggles to produce offence and contain opponents’ attacks. They have produced the fewest shots on goal averaging 27 a game and allowing 35 shots. At the most recent showcase, Olympic veterans Emerance Maschmeyer and Kristen Campbell struggled in net. Campbell allowed five in a single game and was pulled at the second intermission.
Though their scoring tapered in Truro, it was still veterans lighting the lamp. Blayre Turnbull and Rebecca Johnston led the way. Hopefully, their leadership and example can inspire some of the younger players on the team. If Scotiabank wants to succeed, players like Alex Carpenter and Victoria Bach need to contribute more.