Kendra Broad of the Winning Whale is the VEDA Player of the Week
By Mike Murphy and Jane Norton
For their incredible fortitude that led to their first win of the season, the Connecticut Whale could have been represented by any number of players as the VEDA NWHL Player of the Week recipient. But only one can be chosen, and first-year forward Kendra Broad is a very deserving honoree.
And we loved her response when she was informed: “A bit surprised, but it feels good for sure.”
Perfectly sums up the humble, team-first attitude of the Whale.
Heading into Saturday's game against the Riveters, Broad was due for a goal. In her first 14 games of NWHL hockey, Broad put 22 shots on goal and had an iSteady of 45 (shots plus shots blocked by the opposing team).
The first goal of her NWHL career, scored at even strength, came in the final minute of the second period against the Riveters. Go-ahead goals have been hard to come by for the Whale this season, which made Broad's wrister from the high slot a key moment in the game.
Of course, the power-play goal she scored in overtime was not only the decisive play of the game but also the defining moment of the Whale's 2019-20 season to date.
In addition to scoring two huge goals on Saturday, Broad recorded five takeaways (a season-high), won five of her eight faceoffs, and was on the ice for Hanna Beattie's game-tying goal when head coach Colton Orr had the goalie pulled to give the Whale an extra attacker. To state the obvious: she played an instrumental role in snapping the Whale's losing streak and has been a key figure in the team's recent improved play.
“Saturday’s game was a great win for us,” said Broad. “We were able to stick together as a team through the highs and lows of the game, and complete the comeback – something we hadn’t been able to do previously. Getting our first win in our first game of 2020 feels so good and I know that we’re going to continue to build off that going forward.”
Broad spent the previous three seasons playing in Europe. She recorded 17 points (9-8-17) in 34 games for Sundsvall/Timrå of the SDHL, before spending the next two campaigns in the Swiss Women’s Hockey League. In 38 games with the SWHL’s NE Hockey Academy, Broad had 33 points (18-15-33). So it’s no surprise that she can produce, and it appears she’s hitting her stride in the second half of her first NWHL season.
“My teammates have been super supportive and I really felt the love from them after Saturday’s win,” said Broad. “The coaching staff has given me the opportunity and confidence to get out there and play my game despite having a rough start to the season.”
That rough start won’t matter if Broad keeps playing like this.
The VEDA NWHL Players of the Week for 2019-20
October 8: Lenka Čurmová, Beauts
October 15: Lexie Laing, Pride
October 22: Lovisa Selander, Pride; Brooke Stacey, Beauts
October 31: Sydney Baldwin, Whitecaps
November 19: Kelsey Neumann, Beauts
November 26: Taylor Accursi, Beauts
December 3: Sam Walther, Riveters
December 10: Kendall Cornine, Riveters; Alyssa Wohlfeiler, Pride
December 17: Audra Richards, Whitecaps
December 24: Allie Thunstrom, Whitecaps
December 31: Madison Packer, Riveters
January 7: Amanda Leveille, Whitecaps; Sam Walther, Riveters
January 14: Kendra Broad, Whale