Photos By Michelle Jay and Michael Hetzel
A pair of NWHL stars have been named the co-recipients of the final Player of the Week Award for the 2017-2018 season: Madison Packer and Sarah Edney. Next up for both players and their teams: the Isobel Cup Playoffs, which begin this weekend.
Packer had a hat trick in the Riveters’ 4-1 in Boston on Saturday in the IIHF Continuous Global Girls Game. In doing so, Packer won the NWHL’s goal scoring title. For the season, Packer scored 10 goals and added 8 assists for 18 points in 12 games.
“It was a team victory all around on Saturday,” said Packer. “My teammates made a lot of good plays to get me the puck, and I think most of the credit goes to them for having the vision to make plays on the ice.”
Packer and the top-seeded Riveters (13-3) will host the No. 4 seed Connecticut Whale in the Isobel Cup Playoffs semifinals on Sunday at 7 p.m. at RWJ Barnabas Health Hockey House in Newark.
“It was good to get a win under our belt and regain some confidence going into playoffs,” said Packer, the former Wisconsin star who won gold with Team USA at the 2008 and 2009 IIHF U18 World Championships. “Connecticut is a good team, and it’s always a grind playing them. We know the Isobel Cup Playoffs are a fresh start for everyone. We can’t overlook or take a team for granted, and we are preparing this week for a hard, gritty game on Sunday.”
Edney scored two goals in Buffalo’s 4-1 victory in Connecticut, giving the Beauts’ their tenth consecutive win heading into the Isobel Cup playoffs. An NWHL all-star defender and member of Team NWHL, Edney completed her first regular season in the league with 3 goals and 3 assists for 6 points in 14 games.
“I’m very honored to be named co-Player of the Week,” said Edney. “I truly believe this was a team victory. We started the season with the goal of improving every game and I believe we’ve accomplished that up to this point.”
Edney, a former standout with the Canadian national team program who helped lead Harvard the the NCAA title game in 2015, credited her fellow defenders and Beauts No. 1 goaltender Amanda Leveille with giving her to freedom to carry the puck and create offense.
“I want to especially recognize our defensive core and our ability to play with everyone and adapt to every situation. Also, we are so lucky to have Lev behind us because as a defenseman it is much easier to be offensive, jump into the rush, and take risks when you are confident in your goalie and your partner.”
The second-seeded Beauts (12-4) will play the first home playoff game in their history when they host the Boston Pride at Harborcenter on Saturday at 5:30 pm.Edney said she cannot wait to play the game before what is expected to be a very large and passionate crowd of Buffalo hockey fans.
“As an organization, we are very excited to be back at home for playoffs,” said Edney. “We truly believe we have one of the best fan bases in the league and the energy that they bring only helps us. We promise to make the playoffs our best games yet”!