The NWHL’s re-signing period, which ends April 30, covers the re-signing of rostered and practice players from the previous season, as well as any draft picks chosen in the previous draft. For the Boston Pride, that means choosing between impressive draft picks and some even more impressive restricted free agents.
Who do the Pride have on the line?
Round one: Kendall Coyne
Coyne, the Pride’s first-round draft pick in 2015, was a great get for Boston. As a senior at Northeastern Coyne became Hockey East all-time leader in career points, career goals, single-season points, single-season goals, points per game and goals per game. She also took the title of all-time program leader in career points and career goals. Coyne led the NCAA in goals, goals per game, points per game, shorthanded goals and hat tricks, was named the Hockey East Player of the Year and a First Team All American, all of which led to her snatching the Patty Kazmaier Award, which is given to the top player in women’s NCAA ice hockey every year.
After her collegiate season had ended, Coyne stepped up to be a top-liner alongside Pride poster players Hilary Knight and Brianna Decker at the IIHF Women’s World Championships. In 2014 she won silver alongside both at the Sochi Olympic Games and has played in a total of four IIHF Women’s World Championships as a member of the National Team.
Coyne has soft hands, an excellent sense for when to exploit opposing defenders and is a scoring machine, as the video below will attest.
Round two: Emerance Maschmeyer
Maschmeyer, who was a Patty Kazmaier finalist, was the Pride’s second-round pick in the 2015 Junior Draft. Out of Harvard, Maschmeyer posted an average save percentage of .939 over four years, hitting .943 as both a sophomore and junior.
As a goaltender on Team Canada, opposite many of her future teammates on Boston, Maschmeyer was rostered for the 2015 IIHF Women’s World Championships but sat on the bench in favor of her teammates. One year made all the difference in her play.
Maschmeyer played phenomenally in 2016, earning a .956 save percentage, posting a 1.25 goals-against average (one of the lowest she’s ever earned) and earning top honors from the IIHF for her performance at the tournament. Maschmeyer was named the best goaltender of the tournament in a ceremony that took place immediately after the gold medal game.
Although Maschmeyer’s team took home silver, her performance kept Canada strong throughout three periods and half of sudden-death overtime.
Maschmeyer has quick feet, strong pad work and keeps control of her rebounds very well. One of Maschmeyer’s best qualities is her resiliency; she never gives up on a puck and will do nearly anything to get her glove on it. She does has a tendency to go down to her knees too early, sometimes leaving her vulnerable if a player comes in too close to her crease for a loose puck.
Round three: Lexi Bender
Bender, a right-handed defender out of Boston College, made an appearance at the 2016 women’s Frozen Four where the Eagles ultimately lost to the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Bender has demonstrated remarkably consistent growth in terms of point-production for the Eagles, notching only three goals and 13 assists over 37 games as a freshman, pushing those numbers up bit by bit with each successive year until she earned six goals and 27 assists over 41 games as a senior.
Bender’s shooting percentage took a bit of a dive her senior season, which likely has more to do with her taking significantly more shots from the point than before, turning the pressure on from the back end. Boston has already shown a propensity for that kind of play from Gigi Marvin, Kacey Bellamy and Blake Bolden; Bender could learn from the national team players while simultaneously providing a bit more scoring depth on the back end.
Not to go unmentioned is Bender’s ability to get physical with the opposing team, as well as her speed. Both would be an asset to Boston over the upcoming season as it looks to defend its championship against the rest of the league.
Round four: Miye D’Oench
Another Harvard player, D’Oench could be a solid forward for the Pride. D’Oench has speed and soft hands on her side. D’Oench saw this season land her on the All-Ivy League second team as well as the All-ECAC Hockey second team. She was awarded the ECAC Hockey Player of the Month in November and this season became the 24th skater in program history to reach 100 career point.
D’Oench accrued a total of 122 points over 135 games played, at the rate of .90 points per game, and as a senior found herself becoming more of a playmaker than pure sniper, netting 14 goals and 23 assists.
As viewers can see in the video below, D’Oench could provide even more of an edge for Boston when facing the Whale. D’Oench has also faced – and beaten – former Yale goaltender and current Whale netminder, Jaime Leonoff as recently as last season.
Round five: Shannon MacAuley
A Clarkson Knight captain, MacAuley notched nine goals, 17 assists and 26 points over the 2015-16 season at Clarkson and earned a shooting percentage of only .100. As a junior MacAuley was named a Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award nominee and led the Knights with five power-play goals, a number she matched once again this season.
She was selected to the final roster for Hockey Canada’s National Under-22 team two summers in a row for the three-game series vs. the United States’ Women’s Under-22 National Team, playing in Calgary in 2014 and Lake Placid during 2015.
MacAuley would bring some height back to the table for Boston; D’Oench, Bender, Maschmeyer and Coyne are all gifted players but come in on the short side, all at or under 5-foot-6. At 5-foot-11, MacAuley would rival Pride giants Hilary Knight and Jordan Smelker, and would be a great get for Boston (or any other NWHL team) as a power forward, battling in corners and wearing out opponents.