Photo by Matthew Raney Photography
Last week, the National Women’s Hockey League released the official 2018-2019 season schedule. With some of the best hockey players in the world ready to take the ice, there is no doubt that this season will be one to remember. With games scheduled from October through March, there is enough hockey to keep you warm all winter long. While every game should be a battle, there are a few games this season that you should not miss:
October 6: Riveters vs. Whitecaps
The anticipation over the Whitecaps’ inaugural game is undisputed. Now that the State of Hockey has joined the NWHL, we can only expect that they are going to try to make a name for themselves right from the outset. Right now, the Whitecaps are looking stacked. They have signed, among others, 2018 Team USA Olympic gold medalists Hannah Brandt, Lee Stecklein, and Kendall Coyne Schofield along with NWHL Goaltender of the Year Amanda Leveille. With a deep bench, a fresh look, and nowhere to go but up, the future for the Whitecaps is looking bright. But do they have what it takes to defeat the reigning Isobel Cup Champions?
October 7: Beauts vs. Whale
Former Whale all-time leading scorer Kelly Babstock returns to the place she has called home for the past three years. This past spring, the Whale faced a heavy loss when they said goodbye to their beloved Babstock, as she traded in her whale fins for buffalo horns. There is no doubt that Babstock is leaving big shoes to fill in CT, seeing as she led the team in points with 23 goals and 27 assists. Despite losing Babstock, the Whale recently signed a number of talented players including veteran Emily Fluke, former Czech Republic National Team forward Kateřina Mrázová, and Unified Korea Olympian Randi Griffin just to name a few. Can the Whale float without Babstock? We shall see. The Beauts’ goaltending duo of Canadian icon Shannon Szabados and U.S. Olympian Nicole Hensley will make the challenge that much tougher.
November 17: Pride vs. Beauts
The Boston Pride will forever hold the title as the first-ever Isobel Cup Champions. Despite a heartbreaking OT playoff loss to the Beauts this past season, the Pride are looking to regain their winning tradition. Beating the Beauts would mean overcoming a massive hurdle for the Pride; possibly giving them the confidence to make a real Isobel Cup run. The Pride have their work cut out for them against the Beauts, there is no doubt about it. But, with two-time NWHL all-star Dana Trivigno, the duo of Alyssa Gagliardi and Emily Field and many more players to be announced, the Pride have a real shot.
December 29: Whitecaps vs. Beauts
Three of the top goaltenders in the country will come head-to-head when the Whitecaps face the Beauts. 2018 NWHL Goaltender of the Year and former Buffalo Beaut Amanda Leveille will face off against the legendary duo of Szabados and Hensley. Both the Whitecaps and the Beauts have a plethora of talent this season. However, the question remains…which team will be better between the pipes?
January 12: Riveters vs. Beauts
The 2018 Isobel Cup Champions will face the team that came up short, in front of the fans who want revenge. The Beauts are looking to do whatever it takes to bring the Cup back to Buffalo. The Rivs vs. Beauts rivalry is one of the most fierce in the NWHL, and we all know that both teams are willing to leave it all on the ice. With a history of aggressive play, we know this game is going to be one for the books. Can the Beauts make like 2017 and become Isobel Cup Champions again?