NWHL Hockey: Whale 8, Whitecaps 4

by David F. Pendrys (Eyewitness account confirmed against official CT Whale twitter. Editor’s note: had to leave the rink during part of the third period so relying on CT Whale release to fill in gap. Also note I have no box score to compare to and announcements were not very loud. Apologies for excuses. )

The Minnesota Whitecaps visited the Connecticut whale for a pre-season game Saturday afternoon at Chelsea Piers in Stamford. The result was an 8-4 victory in what was a back and forth game until the third when the Whale pulled away for good.

Jaimie Leonoff started in goal for the Whale, and opposing her was Alex Rigsby for the Whitecaps. Almost immediately the Whale were killing a penalty as Kelli Stack was put in the box for hooking. The Whale killed that off successfully. It would be Stack who would score the first goal at 8:20 from close range. Almost immediately afterward Micaela Long went off for hooking and Jocelyn Lamoureux delivered a slapper hard past Leonoff to tie the game at 1.

With about 2 minutes left in the game Anne Schleper was put in the box giving the Whale a power play and they capitalized as Kelly Babstock hit it by a sprawling Rigsby with 34 seconds left in the period.

In period 2 Brooke White-Lancette was called for hooking very quickly, and Babstock made the Whitecaps pay. Not long afterward Sam Faber broke in alone and beat the keeper with a maneuver to make the score 4-1. Monique Lamoureux responded for Minnesota 3 minutes in to put the score at 4-2.

Monique Lamoureux would get called for checking with 11 left in the period, but the Whitecaps survived being a skater down. What they didn’t survive was Winny Brown getting called for holding as Jessica Koizumi skated in front of the net to recover a Kelli Stack shot puck off the rebound and score into the undefended part of the net for a 5-2 lead.

Minnesota survived a third penalty, this time on Jocelyn Lamoureux, and soon after Monique scored followed not long after by Rachael Bona getting a great chance and knocking it to the upper right corner of the net. The score was now 5-4. Very late in the period Shannon Doyle was put in the box for cross-checking giving the Whitecaps an advantage going into the third, but the Whale handled it.

In fact in addition to that, Babstock scored at 17:02 for the hat trick to make the score 6-4 and start closing the door. Shiann Darkangelo from nearby Quinnipiac scored at 13:10 to increase the disparity to 7-4. Also, Chelsea Laden relieved Leonoff at some point in the third, possibly the beginning. (see editor’s note.)

Danielle Ward went to the box for roughing giving Minnesota another shot, but Connecticut killed it. With 2:26 to go Stack got in close and beat Rigsby.
That would be that as the Whale would take the win. The games start counting next week.

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