by Janet Schultz, NYHOL writer/photographer
Despite the uncertainty of a 2020-21 NWHL season, the teams are continuing to secure their rosters as we moved through Phase III of Covid 19 and into Phase IV.
In Buffalo the Beauts signed their 14th overall pick in the 2020 Draft with Autumn MacDougall. The Nova Scotia native completed an outstanding seasons at the University of Alberta where she had 57 goals, 67 assists in 139 games. MacDougall is a two-time Canada West Champion award winner in 2019 and 2020, and scored the game-winning goal for the Pandas in 2017 at the U Sports National Championship.
They continue to fortify their defense with the signing of former University of Maine captain Alyson Matteau, an exceptional defender who was third in blocked shots in NCAA Division 1 in her senior season. Matteau is also the No. 2 all-time leading scorer among defenders in Black Bears history. “Alyson is an ideal blend of skill, tenacity, and hockey IQ,” said Beauts GM Nate Oliver. “Ever since she played for Team Canada at the 2015 U-18s in Buffalo, our staff has followed her career closely and we know all the great attributes she will bring to the Beauts. The 5-10 defender was named to the Hockey East Second All-Star Team in 2017-18 and was selected to the 2015-16 Hockey East All-Rookie Team. In 136 games, she scored 16 goals and added 45 assists for 61 points.
Hailing from Mirabel, Quebec, Matteau won a silver medal with Team Canada at the 2015 IIHF U-18 World Championships. She played three consecutive years for Team Quebec’s U-18 squad, and won gold in her final year at the Canada Winter Games.
The latest signings include Defender Meg Delay, goaltender Caty Flagg, and center Neve Van Pelt.
Van Pelt, an Ontario native who played at Providence from 2016-2020, excels in the faceoff circle. Van Pelt always won more than half of her faceoffs in each season for the Friars, and in 2016-17 led Hockey East with a .617 winning percentage. In 146 games for Providence, she scored 17 goals and had 25 assists.
Flagg wrapped up her NCAA career at UMass Boston earlier this year with a 1.84 GAA, .942 save percentage and record of 12-11-3 in her senior season. For her college career, the former New England Hockey Conference Goaltender of the Year winner had a 1.92 GAA and .938 save percentage.
Delay will be playing in her second season for the Beauts. She appeared in 16 games during the 2019-20 NWHL season for Buffalo, and went 1-5-6 in scoring. Delay scored the first post-season goal of her professional career in Buffalo’s play-in game loss to Connecticut. Delay was a 2018 Clarkson Cup champion with the Markham Thunder of the CWHL, and a 2016 NCAA Division III champion with the SUNY Plattsburgh Cardinals.
“Caty, Neve and Meg will all play important roles for the Beauts this season,” said Buffalo GM Nate Oliver. “They are all winners and dedicated team players. Our fans saw last season what Meg brings to the table – she’s tenacious and fearless anytime she is on the ice. Caty is a significant addition to our goaltending corps, and Neve is a highly effective two-way forward. As we continue to build our roster, these are three very key signings.”
The Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League have announced a new partnership with STÄRK Hockey, an innovative hockey brand focused on delivering value while creating products that are both exclusive and desirable. For the 2020-21 season, Boston Pride players will be supplied with customized sticks from STÄRK, built from their preferences in patterns, and grips, among other specifications such as shaft length and flex. On the ice, players will wear the highest quality Pride-branded STÄRK Hockey gloves and pants, and for traveling to and from the rink, STÄRK is providing personalized equipment travel, and stick bags.
An essential part of Boston’s dominant 23-1 regular season championship team, forward Mary Parker has signed to return to the Pride in 2020-21. Parker was third on the team in goals, with 15 in just 17 regular season games.
Boston has also secured four of their six selections in the 2020 Draft.
NWHL all-time victories leader Amanda Leveille is set to return to the Minnesota Whitecaps after signing her contract. In 2019-20, Leveille had a .935 save percentage and 2.08 GAA in the regular season, and was perfect in Minnesota’s 1-0 overtime victory over the Riveters in the Isobel Cup Semifinal.
Breanne Wilson-Bennett, a Markham, Ontario native who starred at Colgate University before playing for MODO Hockey in the SDHL, has become the tenth forward to sign with the Toronto Six for their inaugural season.
Emma Woods, who at age 24 has already carved out a magnificent hockey career that has taken her from All-ECAC honors and the captaincy at Quinnipiac University to the CWHL’s teams in China and last season with Leksands IF in the SDHL, is the latest top player to sign with the Toronto Six. A player who has shown she’s capable as a forward and a defender, Woods has signed a contract to join the Six for their inaugural season in the NWHL.
The Metropolitan Riveters have added a strong new defender with the signing of Samantha Fieseler, who played last season for Goteborg HC of the SDHL after a standout collegiate career at Mercyhurst.
Original NWHLer and 2020 All-Star defender Kiira Dosdall-Arena has signed a contract to play her sixth season for the Riveters. The 2018 Isobel Cup champion is second all-time in Riveters history in games played (80), penalty minutes (60) and points among defenders (25).
The Connecticut Whale have signed 2020 NWHL draft selection Nicole Guagliardo, a highly-skilled forward who led Adrian College in points last season and was named Second Team AHCA All-American.
Kayla Friesen, a Winnipeg native who was selected by Connecticut with the second overall pick in the NWHL Draft after averaging more than a point per game at Clarkson in 2019-20, has signed with the Whale for the upcoming season.
After a highly productive season as a member of the regular season champions, the Boston Pride, forward Alyssa Wohlfeiler has returned to the Connecticut Whale – her team when she played in the inaugural season of the NWHL.
This brings you up-to-date as of July 6 on the signings of the NWHL.