The NWHL season has drawn to a close, the playoffs are finished and the Isobel Cup has a new home. It’s time to briefly reflect on each team’s performance over 2018-19.
Team: Connecticut Whale
Regular Season Result: 2-12-2, 5th in the league
MVP Nominee: Meeri Räisänen
What Happened In The Regular Season:
Despite a strong inaugural season, the magic of 2015/16 seems a long time ago. The Whale have now finished dead last in their last three seasons. Connecticut started the season with three consecutive losses, including a 7-0 loss to the Buffalo Beauts. The team’s first win came against the Metropolitan Riveters in November, two weeks later the Whale beat the Rivs again, with goalie Meeri Räisänen recording the franchise’s first ever regular season shut-out.
Injuries plagued the Whale this season, with 27 skaters dressing for the team, the most of any of the five teams. In February the team were forced to add another five players:
— NWHL (@NWHL) February 23, 2019
Despite some heroics, the Whale’s December victory against the Riveters was the team’s last, and the subsequent 10 games all fell into the L column, including a 9-0 thumping at the hands of the league’s newbies, the Minnesota Wildcaps.
2018-19 wasn’t a strong season for the Whale by any means. But nor was it a complete write-off. Many different challenges were faced, and the team made changes and adapted to counter those.
Regular Season Stats:
What Happened In The Playoffs:
The playoffs were short for Connecticut and their only game was against the Rivs on the road. At the end of the first period, the score was tied at two, but the Riveters rallied in the third and found another three goals. Statistically the game was very close, except in the only metric that really matters. Given the team’s regular season performance, they were never the favourite going into the playoffs, but to hold the reigning champions to a tie until the last period was still impressive, and shows that the team has something to build on for next season.