PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S HOCKEY LEAGUE PREGAME PRIMER: NEW YORK AT BOSTON

Boston battles New York for the first time with third place on the line

 

LOWELL, MA (January 20, 2024) – The third week of the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) season wraps up with a pair of Saturday games including afternoon action between Boston and New York at 12:30 p.m. ET at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell.

 

WHERE TO WATCH

 

Fans in the United States can watch live on NESN or stream on the NESN 360 app by logging in with their TV provider or purchasing a direct subscription. Viewers can also watch on MSG/MSGHD and on the league’s YouTube channel with Eric Gallanty calling play-by-play alongside analyst Paige Capistran. Canadian viewers can watch live on Sportsnet 360 and stream on Sportsnet+. The game is part of Sportsnet’s Hockey Day in Canada coverage, live from Victoria, British Columbia, that includes a 12.5-hour marathon broadcast with all seven Canadian NHL teams in action and in-depth features including the story of New York’s Micah Zandee-Hart.

 

SETTING THE STAGE

 

Both teams are in a three-way tie for third place in the overall standings with five points earned through a regulation and overtime win. Boston (1-1-0-1) has played two fewer games and has two fewer losses than New York (1-1-0-3) and is riding a two-game winning-streak. After losing to Minnesota in its home opener on January 3, Boston found success on the road with an overtime win in Montréal last Saturday, and victory in Toronto on Wednesday. All three of their games have been 3-2 scores. New York also has a trio of 3-2 results this season including their two most recent games. They beat Minnesota 3-2 in overtime last Sunday and fell to Montréal on Wednesday at Place Bell by the same score. Their lone regulation victory was earned on the road on January 1 when they defeated Toronto 4-0.

 

TOP PERFORMERS

 

Boston’s Loren Gabel and Alina Müller stole the show offensively in Wednesday’s win in Toronto with a pair of three-point performances. Gabel scored two goals, including the game-winner, and added a secondary helper, while Müller had three primary assists to bring her season point total to four. Defender Megan Keller scored her second goal of the season and is tied with Gabel for the team-lead in that category. Jamie Lee Rattray ranks second behind Müller in assists with three. For New York, Alex Carpenter (3G 4A) and Ella Shelton (2G 5A) are tied for the overall lead in points with seven, followed by Jessie Eldridge (3G 2A) who has five points. The trio’s collective eight goals account for more than half of the team’s 13 scored through five games, and their 19 points exceed the 18 amassed by 10 of their teammates.

 

ZANDEE-HART IS IN

 

Captain Micah Zandee-Hart is expected to make her PWHL debut on the New York blue line after missing the team’s first five games while recovering from injury. The 27-year-old was one of the team’s initial free agent signings and the first player ever to be named captain in PWHL history, announced December 21 at a special celebration event at Rockefeller Center. It’s a fitting return to the lineup for the first BC-born player to make Canada’s Women’s Olympic team, as her hometown takes center stage on Sportsnet’s Hockey Day in Canada, and her story will be part of the broadcast’s feature content. Zandee-Hart is a shining example for other young women from Victoria, proving that when there’s no path in front of you, you carve your own.

 

WELCOME BACK TO MASS

 

New York has two homegrown talents making their return to Massachusetts for the first time as PWHL players including Alex Carpenter from nearby North Reading, and Savannah Norcross from Lynn. A trio of New York players were also members of the PHF’s Boston Pride last season including goaltender Corinne Schroeder, defender Olivia Zafuto, and forward Elizabeth Giguère. Forward Chloé Aurard graduated from Northeastern University last season, and goaltender Abigail Levy was part of Boston College’s class of 2023 graduates. Carpenter and Norcross are also former Eagles, Schroeder played four seasons at Boston University, and defender Brooke Hobson attended Northeastern.

 

COLLEGIATE CONNECTIONS

Numerous players from today’s rosters will face-off against former NCAA teammates, with nine schools represented in that group. Northeastern University featured Chloé Aurard (NY), Brooke Hobson (NY), Alina Müller, and Aerin Frankel from 2018-22. Hobson and Frankel started as freshmen together in 2017, while Müller and Aurard began their college journeys in 2018. Alex Carpenter (NY) and Megan Keller (BOS) were teammates at Boston College for two years, from 2014-16, and Savannah Norcross (NY) played with Keller at the school in 2018-19. Norcross then spent her final two seasons at the University of Minnesota, where she played one year with Boston’s Emily Brown in 2018-19. New York goaltender Corinne Schroeder was teammates with Boston reserve forward Sammy Davis at Boston University from 2017-20. Loren Gabel (BOS) played with Ella Shelton (NY) and Élizabeth Giguère (NY) at Clarkson University from 2017-19. Giguère then spent her fifth year of NCAA eligibility at the University of Minnesota-Duluth with Boston goaltender Emma Söderberg. Boston captain Hilary Knight and New York forward Madison Packer played together at the University of Wisconsin from 2010-12. The school also featured both New York center Abby Roque and Boston forward Sophie Shirley from 2018-20, with Boston goaltender Cami Kronish joining the duo for the 2019-20 season. New York’s Emma Woods played at Quinnipiac with Boston’s Nicole Kosta from 2013-16, then was joined in her senior season by Boston forward Taylor Girard in 2016-17. Paetyn Levis (NY) and Sophie Jaques (BOS) played their entire NCAA careers together as Ohio State Buckeyes from 2018-23.

 

BEANPOT CHAMPIONS

 

The 45th annual Beanpot women’s college hockey classic will be played on Tuesday for the first time at TD Garden. Boston College will take on Harvard in the consolation game, followed by Boston University against Northeastern for the championship. Eight players from today’s game have won the prestigious Beanpot and bragging rights across Boston’s four major college hockey programs. Chloé Aurard (NY) and Alina Müller (BOS) helped Northeastern earn the 2023 title and won in 2020 alongside Brooke Hobson (NY) and Aerin Frankel (BOS). Sammy Davis (BOS) scored the overtime winner to lead Boston University to the 2019 crown with goaltender Corinne Schroeder (NY). Megan Keller (BOS) helped Boston College win in 2017 and won with Alex Carpenter (NY) in 2016. Aurard (2020) and Davis (2019) are both former MVP award winners, while Frankel (2020) and New York’s Abigail Levy (BC 2022) earned top goaltending honors. Davis was named to the Beanpot Hall of Fame Class of 2022.

 

COACHES CORNER

 

Here’s what both head coaches had to say heading into today’s matchup:

 

“I think we need to have a better first period, we’ve gone down a goal or two in every game we’ve played, so it’s important to get a good start. Heading into our game against New York, we need to commit to defense and slow their transition down.” – Courtney Kessel, Boston

 

“We got out of the gates a bit slow last game due in part to some issues beyond our control. I liked how our team came back in the second and third periods of play which is an indication of our players’ resilience which will pay off in the long run. In the short term, it will be important for us to focus on playing with a higher sense of urgency throughout the first period and striving to maintain that through the remainder of the game. Boston is built much like us with some strong top end talent and some depth through their roster. I think it will be an exciting matchup.” – Howie Draper, New York

 

QUICK HITS

 

New York is tied for second with 13 goals for…Boston ranks third with a goals-per-game average of 2.67…Boston is tied for second with an average of 2.33 goals-against-average…Boston is the only team that has not scored a game’s first goal or a first period goal…New York has scored first three times…New York’s best offensive period is the third with six goals…Boston has scored five second period goals…Boston (-3) ranks fourth in shot differential and New York (-20) ranks sixth…New York ranks second in shots-per-game with a 30.4 average but allows the most at 34.4…Boston ranks fifth with 26 shots per game but allows the second fewest at 27 per game…Neither team has won a game when out-shooting their opponent…New York (4/15) ranks second with a 26.7 powerplay efficiency…Boston (1/9) ranks third at 11.1%…Boston (9/9) is the only team that has not allowed a powerplay goal this season…New York (16/18) ranks second in penalty kill efficiency at 88.9%…Jessie Eldridge (NY) is on a four-game point-streak…Alex Carpenter (NY) is tied for third in the PWHL with three goals…Ella Shelton (NY) is tied for first with five assists…Abby Roque (NY) is second in penalty minutes with eight…Shelton leads the league with four points on the power play…Taylor Girard (BOS) is tied for the league-lead with one shorthanded goal…Shelton and Megan Keller (BOS) lead defenders with two goals…Eldridge leads the league with 24 shots on goal…Alina Müller leads Boston with 11 shots…Girard and Amanda Pelkey both have 50% shooting rates…Müller leads Boston with 68 face-offs and has a win-percentage of 47.1%…Jamie Lee Rattray has a face-off percentage of 70%…New York’s top three centers have winning face-off percentages including Carpenter (59/96) 61.5%, Roque (45/75) 60%, and Jade Downie-Landry (34/57) 59.6%…Corinne Schroeder (NY) ranks third with a goals-against-average of 1.96 and save percentage of .942 in three starts…Emma Söderberg stopped 30/32 shots in her PWHL debut posting a 2.00 GAA and .938 SV% in victory…Shelton celebrated her 26th birthday on Friday.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

 

BOSTON:

Gabel | Müller | Knight
Schafzahl | Brandt | Rattray
Shirley | Marvin | Pelkey
Girard | Darkangelo | Wenczkowski

Keller | Jaques
Brown | Morin
DiGirolamo | Fratkin
Healey

 

Söderberg | Frankel

 

Scratches: Kosta, Kronish

 

NEW YORK:

Levis | Carpenter | Eldridge
Aurard | Roque | Giguère
Vespa | Downie-Landry | Woods
Packer | Labelle | Norcross

Hobson | Bourbonnais
Fällman | Shelton
Zafuto | Baker
Zandee-Hart

 

Schroeder | Levy

 

Scratches: Gruschow, Post, Saulnier

 

OFFICIALS:

 

Referees: Kelley Cooke (West Roxbury, MA) and Shauna Neary (Halifax, NS).

Linespersons: Stéphanie Gagnon (Princeville, QC) and Kirsten Welsh (Conway, PA).

 

Follow the league on all social media platforms @thepwhlofficial plus team accounts @pwhl_boston and @pwhl_newyork.

 

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