PHOTO BY MICHAEL HETZEL
Entering her second season with the Connecticut Whale, defender Rachael Ade is ready to get things started with some familiar faces and a talented crop of newcomers joining her in Stamford. The Whale open their season on Sunday at 3 pm at Terry Conners Rink. Single-game and season tickets are available at NWHL.zone/tickets. Anyone who purchases Whale season tickets for $125 this week will also receive a Whale jersey.
Connecticut has added a number of players with international experience this season, including a pair of national team goaltenders in Russian Maria Sorokina and Finn Meeri Räisänen. The Whale also signed three NCAA Division III first-team All-Americans in Kim Tiberi (Norwich), Sarah Hughson (Elmira) and Melissa Sheeran (Plattsburgh).
We sat down with Rachael this morning to see how things are shaping up for the season.
How excited are you to get rolling this weekend?
I’m very excited. I think everyone’s been counting down to the month of October, so it will be exciting to get it started this weekend.
You have a lot of new faces on the team this season. How have you all been working on team chemistry in practice and what kind of pieces do you think have been added to the puzzle this season?
A lot of our practice plan is tied around that. We are aware of the new faces. Strategically we try to focus in practice what we’re doing based off trying to really find the chemistry and see how everyone meshing. As you’ve seen in the preseason games, overall it’s been pretty good with all the new faces.
Has anything or anyone stood out to you in the first couple weeks of practice?
I think one thing we’re seeing a lot about is that we have some good depth. So I think you’ll see impact and points from a lot of different faces. However, it was pretty big to have two rookies put in goals in our first game [preseason against Buffalo]. Overall, of course Emily Fluke has returned who was a big point producer for us last season, so we’ll be looking to rely on her a bit to repeat.
PHOTO BY MATTHEW RANEY
PHOTO BY TROY PARLA
What are your goals for yourself and for the team this season?
For myself, my goals are to put up some more points. Coming out of my rookie season, going into my second season with the league, I look to be a bit more of a point producer than I was the previous season, as well as use my offensive abilities and be a go-to defensemen for us. In terms of the team, my goals are to really do this to a point where during our playoff run, we’re very competitive – to be in a good spot going into playoffs. With our team and where we’re going and who we’ve brought in, we gave ourselves a really good opportunity to look at the long haul and not just be going game-by-game. Though of course, the next game is the most important at that moment.
Speaking of which, you open up with Buffalo this weekend. You saw them in the preseason. What do you see from that Buffalo team?
They’re a talented team. They also have a lot of depth. For us, it’s really going to be about just each time we face them, making improvements. The game ended up being 7-2, which is a bit of a tough score, but coming into the weekend, it’s more about trying to make improvements on every period we play them, so making our first period better than our third period of the last game. We should be really focusing on getting better every time.
What can the fans in Connecticut do for the home opener to really give the team that home-ice advantage?
It’s just bringing the energy. No matter how many fans we have in the building, we always do feel the love. But it’s definitely great to be on the ice really hearing how much support we have and being able to see especially the jerseys, who’s supporting us and being able to honor them when we’re playing the game.