CWHL/NWHL Round Up: Nov. 14-15
Both leagues were back in action after the break for the Four Nations Cup. Of the goaltenders who play professionally in North America only Brianne McLaughlin (Buffalo, NWHL) and Erica Howe (Brampton, CWHL) were on a roster for the tournament.
— Calgary Inferno (@InfernoCWHL) November 15, 2015
McLaughlin sat backup for her Beauts this weekend, the first time she hasn’t played since the season began. This allowed Kimberly Sass her first start and Sass posted an .880 on 25 shots. In addition Lauren Slebodnick played her first full game for the NWHL’s Boston Pride in a surprisingly even affair between the New York Riveters and the usually dominant Pride.
As always, statistics are drawn from CWHL.ca and NWHL.co. The NWHL has been able to recover the box score for the October 18 game between the Connecticut Whale and the Buffalo Beauts, which means that as of right now, Chelsea Laden, Jaimie Leonoff, and Brianne McLaughlin all have corrected stats. Laden’s 54-save performance in that game (.964) is the second-best single-game performance in the NWHL behind creasemate Jaimie Leonoff’s Oct. 11 game against the Riveters. It’s good to see her get credit for it. The game between the Pride and the Riveters on the 18th is still incorrect, affecting all Boston goalies and both Nana Fujimoto and Shenae Lundberg.
Three Stars, Nov. 14 – Nov. 15
3. Liz Knox, Brampton Thunder (CWHL)
Knox has a .929 in three games for the Thunder, who are a much better team than they were last season. In her one game this weekend, Sunday against the Boston Blades, she put up the best save perentage and GSAA of the week, stopping 29 of 30 shots (.967).
2. Nana Fujimoto, New York Riveters, and Lauren Slebodnick, Boston Pride (NWHL)
— NWHL Gifs (@nwhlgifs) November 16, 2015
Nana Fujimoto earned the NWHL’s Player of the Week honors for this game, which represented a huge leap forward in terms of performance for her. It’s hard to overlook Slebodnick here, though. Except for one egregious five-hole goal, she looked technically superior to Fujimoto throughout the game and stopped exactly as many shots. Both saved 42 of 44 shots for a .955. The second goal on Slebodnick was the difference in the game, however, and that’s not so good.
1. Genevieve Lacasse, Boston Blades (CWHL)
Once again Lacasse was heroic in net for the Blades. She has a .923 on the season while facing an average of 50 shots a game and playing every single game for the woeful Blades. This weekend she saved — and this is not a misprint — 94 of 100 shots in back to back games. An unbelievable performance.
Keep an eye on:
- The Connecticut Whale, redux.
Now that we know just how good Chelsea Laden did on the 18th, it’s clear that the Whale goalies lead the league comfortably in every category. Leonoff’s slightly off performance this week saw her put up a .923 on 26 shots. They’re just plain good.
— NWHL Gifs (@nwhlgifs) November 15, 2015
- Your blocker hand
Or Chelsea Laden’s anyway. She shattered a fingertip making a save and posted the grisly evidence on Instagram. (Warning; Really gross. Click at your own peril.) Speculation holds that this weekend would have been Laden’s turn in net for the Whale, but it’s fair to say she may not make that game. She did make the save, by the way.
- Christina Kessler, Toronto Furies (CWHL)
Kessler was known to be injured going into the Four Nations break and the Furies did not play this past weekend. No official word has come out on her status, but the Furies did trade for Sonja van der Bliek from Brampton on Wednesday. Given the nature of CWHL “employment” and the necessity for players to have jobs and support systems outside of hockey, trades are highly unusual. There is no confirmation that the move has any relation to Kessler but it does at least raise a question. Hopefully, Kessler is healthy and ready to return this coming weekend.