For 2016-17, concerns about the New York Riveters’ offense remain despite major upgrades to the blue line and the addition of superstar Amanda Kessel. The 2015-16 Riveters had an abundance of problems, but the team’s lack of depth scoring stood out as a key flaw. The answer to the New York’s depth scoring woes could be rookie forward Miye D’Oench.
On paper it appears that the Riveters might once again be overdependent on the production of a talented duo. Last season Bray Ketchum and Brooke Ammerman accounted for 14 of the team’s 40 goals. The veteran pair made their mark on the power play.
However, this season Ammerman has been replaced by Kessel, which is a significant upgrade. But the Riveters lost what little scoring depth they had with the departure of forwards Lyudmila Belyakova and Meghan Fardelmann. Chad Wiseman will be counting on Madison Packer, Tatiana Rafter, and the three rookie forwards not named Kessel to provide offense.
Of those three rookie forwards D’Oench is likely the best fit for the second line with Rafter and Packer. Alexa Gruschow and Rebecca Russo both have shown an ability to score but neither of them put up numbers in the NCAA like D’Oench did.
Gruschow and Russo are both players that can create offense. Gruschow led the Engineers in scoring in all four of her years at RPI and was a power play specialist. And Russo was a valuable role player at Boston University before becoming nearly a point-per-game player in her senior season. But it is D’Oench that has the most potential to be a scoring threat at the NWHL level.
D’Oench is the only Riveters forward signed for the league minimum, but she is clearly a player that Wiseman values. When the Riveters traded Alex Carpenter to the Boston Pride D’Oench was the player that they acquired (and $2,000 in cap space). Her tireless motor and balanced play makes her a perfect fit for Wiseman’s system.
She proved herself to be a reliable goal scorer in her four years with the Harvard Crimson. Her knack for getting pucks on net is something that the Riveters need on their second line. At 5’4″ D’Oench isn’t the biggest forward but she always makes her presence known in the offensive zone.
D’Oench is outstanding at screening goaltenders and tipping pucks in front of the net. She has an underrated shot and quick, busy feet which makes her a threat even when shorthanded. The New York native can be out-muscled, but she will rarely be out-worked.
After two standout years with the New Jersey Rockets in the NEWJHL D’Oench was named to the U.S. U-18 team. She scored two goals in five games while helping the U.S. win silver at the 2012 World Championship.
After her 10-goal freshman season D’Oench would emerge as the key cog of the Crimson’s offense. She finished her impressive NCAA career with a plus-64 plus-minus rating and an average of 0.90 points per game.
D’Oench is first and foremost a goal-scorer, which is good news for the Riveters. She ranks third among both current and former Riveters in NCAA goal scoring with her 64 goals in 135 games. Only Kessel and Ammerman scored more during their college years.
When D’Oench was on the ice good things happened for the Crimson. She averaged 3.54 shots per game after her freshman season. That ability to get rubber on net resulted in two Crimson goal scoring titles. Her 21-goal sophomore season was the best of her college career.
In her senior season, D’Oench led Harvard in points and scored 14 goals. She had a career-high 23 assists, 20 of which came at even strength or when her team was shorthanded. That ability to produce at even strength is what sets her apart from the majority of the Riveters other forwards.
At Harvard, D’Oench’s skating, smarts, and persistence made her an offensive threat in all situations. The big question now is how well she will adjust to the professional game and the NWHL. The Riveters are hoping that their lowest-paid forward will prove to be one of the best bargains in the league.