Whale Wednesday: Week of Oct 31 to Nov 6

Welcome to Whale Wednesdays! A look back on the CT Whale’s week and predictions for the coming games. 

Weds. November 2nd

The week started with PHF media availability and an interview with Head Coach Colton Orr. 

Colton Orr on the bench, and Bryan Johnson/NWHL

Coach Orr started talking about what the off-season was like for The Whale. He said it was a good off-season, and lots of key moves were made, like singing Meeri Räisänen, 

Kateřina Mrázová, and Mallory Souliotis. Overall, Orr was satisfied with the off-season. The Whale kept their strong core and added many new players who fit their play style and dressing room.

He talked about having the goalie tandem they’ve needed with Abby Ives and Meeri Räisänen. The Whale are solid in net now and have options to go to for whatever situation they may face. Coach Orr also talked about having a solid defense with the signings they made over the summer. 

Coach Orr was also asked about the Whale’s new home arena, the International Skating Center of CT. He put on his player hat for a minute and talked about how excited the team is to have a new rink. The rink management wants to work with the team to grow together. “They want us there. It’s one of the biggest things and kind of giving us a lot of say in what we have, whether it’s ice time, facilities, dressing rooms that they’re working on, all that kind of stuff shows they want to work with us. That’s the important thing about a building you want to be in,” says Coach Orr.

There are lots of expectations for The Whale. Several fans have already predicted them as the cup winners this year, and their first game is a rematch of last year’s cup final. All that can really go to a team’s head, but Coach Orr says the team is focused on their game, not the “white noise.” 

Thurs. November 3rd

The Whale proudly announced their 2022/23 leadership group on Thursday. 

Captain: Shannon Turner 

Photo Credit: Michelle Jay

Turner is going into her fourth consecutive season as the Captain. She has been with the team since their first season in 2015/16. Her whole PHF (NWHL) career has been with The Whale. She’s a leader on and off the ice, led the team to their first Isobel Cup Final appearance last season, and has set multiple franchise records. She was awarded one of the PHF’s Foundation Awards last season. In The Whale media release, Turner said, “Having the privilege of being Captain for the Whale this year is humbling and an honor I don’t take lightly. Everyone in our locker room is a leader, and being chosen to wear the C is truly a privilege.”

Alternate Captains: Emma Vlasic, Janine Weber, Alyssa Wohlfeiler, and Kennedy Marchment. 

Vlasic, Weber, and Wohfeiler have been with the Whale for four seasons. All three of them are key parts of the team on and off the ice. Weber and Wohfeiler played extensively in Europe before becoming mainstays on The Whale. 

Marchment played her first PHF season last season. She was the team MVP, led the league in points, and helped lead the team to their first Isobel Cup Final. She is signed with The Whale through 2024. 

From PHF Facebook

Sat. November 5th

The Whale opened the 2022/23 season with a rematch of the Isobel Cup Final. They faced The Boston Pride at Warrior Ice Arena, which did not go as planned.

Abby Ives was in goal and was stopping shots within the first minute. The Whale had a power play at 18:38 of the first but couldn’t capitalize. The first period ended 0-0.

The Pride ripped one past Ives 3 minutes into the second. The Whale did not answer back, but Ives kept it together throughout the period. She even made a diving save on a shot from Jillian Dempsy that was almost sure to go in. 

The third started slow, but a lot was going right for The Pride offensively, and they scored at 9:00. Lauren Gable got her first of the season off a rebound to put The Pride up 2-0. Allie Thunstrom got her first of the season thirty seconds later. It was such a fast goal, Thunstrom couldn’t stay on her skates for the celly. Gable scored on the power play to make it 4-0 and seal the deal for The Pride. The Whale start the season off with a loss. 

It’s a stark contrast to The Whale last season and doesn’t match the summer predictions. It’s not a great start, but it is just game one. There’s always room to improve. 

Next Week

The PHF is off this week, so fans must wait until November 19th to see The Whale take on the Buffalo Beauts at home. Hopefully, the long break will give them lots of time to correct the mistakes of last weekend.

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