Wednesday, 23 April 2014

She Shoots She Scores selects its 2013-14 CWHL All-Star Team

In the aftermath of the 2013-14 Canadian Women’s Hockey League season, the opportunity for players to rise to the occasion in the face of Winter Games Centralization resulted in an exciting chapter where new superstars emerged. From fresh-faced rookies to established veterans eager to shine, the season did not disappoint.

First Team All-Stars

Forwards

Ann-Sophie Bettez, Montreal

 Having claimed the 2014 Angela James Bowl, marking the fifth consecutive year that a Montreal player grabs the coveted scoring title, Bettez helped Montreal to the regular season title. Her sparkling 40-point campaign resulted in a league-best (HOW MANY GAMES) scoring streak in which she also led the circuit in goals scored, assists, plus/minus ranking and game winning goals. For her efforts, she was also bestowed the Most Valuable Player award.

Jillian Dempsey, Boston

             The Harvard alum excelled in her rookie season with the Blades. With the absence of top scorers such as Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight and Kelli Stack to Centralization, Dempsey took the team on her back and emerged as an offensive catalyst. Her 28 points not only paced all skaters for the black and gold, but she led all CWHL rookies. The winner of the 2014 CWHL Rookie of the Year, her season would end with an appearance in the Clarkson Cup championship game. 

 Sarah Vaillancourt, Montreal
  
            Despite retiring from the Canadian national team, Vaillancourt proved why she is a world-class talent. Finishing as the runner-up to Stars teammate Ann-Sophie Bettez in the race for the Clarkson Cup with an astounding 35 point performance, she was a key component in the Stars regular season dominance. Her ability as a play maker was evident throughout the season. Of her 23 assists, 13 came on the power play, a league best.
  
Defenders
  
Cathy Chartrand, Montreal

             Having inherited the Stars captaincy from team founder (and CWHL co-founder) Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux, it was a role that Chartrand took seriously. A former captain with the nationally renowned McGill Martlets, she was up to the task of providing a strong leadership for the Stars. For the second consecutive season, she would lead all CWHL defenders in scoring. Of her 30 point performance in the regular season, 17 of them came on the power play, testament to her ability as a key performer on special teams.
  
Blake Bolden, Boston

             Entering the 2013-14 season, Blake Bolden had already made history. Selected in the first round by the defending Clarkson Cup champion Blades in the 2013 CWHL Draft, Bolden became the first African-American selected in the opening round of the CWHL Draft. Bolden would quickly prove she was worthy of being a first-round pick as she provided solid play on the blueline for a depleted Blades lineup. Leading all CWHL rookie defenders in scoring with 19 points, she was one of five Blades rookies to finish among the Top 25 scorers in league play.  
  
Goaltender

 Catherine Herron, Montreal

             With the Stars seeing its two goaltenders Jenny Lavigne and Kim St. Pierre forgoing the season due to pregnancy, it opened the door for Catherine Herron to assume the starting job. Having established herself at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport level, Herron is one of several second-generation stars in the CWHL. Of note, her uncle Denis won a Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens. Posting a remarkable 14-2-0 record in 2013-14, Herron would also earn a league-best three shutouts while pacing all backstops with a 2.11 goals against average. Playing for a Stars teammate renowned for its offensive prowess, Herron’s consistent play between the pipes preserved many close victories for the Stars on their way to another regular season title.


Second Team All-Stars
  
Forwards
  
Vinny Davidson, Montreal

            One of the most underrated players in the CWHL, Davidson had another solid season for the Stars. Her 31 points ranked third in the CWHL scoring race (which featured four Stars players in the top four) while she led all players with a remarkable 8 power play goals. Perhaps her greatest accomplishment was earning career point 100. Of note, she would be one of three Stars players (including Lisa-Marie Breton Lebreux and Emmanuelle Blais) to reach the century mark during the season, a league first.

Carolyne Prevost, Toronto

            After a solid rookie season with the Stars in 2012-13, Carolyne Prevost relocated to Toronto in order to pursue her education. Such a move would serve to greatly benefit the Furies. Not only would Prevost earn an assist on the overtime goal that would bring the blue and white the 2014 Clarkson Cup, she would finish the regular season as the club’s leading scorer. Playing on a line with rookie sensation Alyssa Baldin, the two would each finish the season with 23 points. Prevost’s presence supplied the Furies with the leadership the squad needed on offense. 

Danielle Stone, Calgary

            Providing the franchise with its first-ever scoring threat, Danielle Stone propelled the Calgary Inferno to its first-ever Clarkson Cup postseason appearance. In its previous incarnation as the Alberta Honeybadgers, the squad struggled miserably to find Jenna Cunningham a fellow playmaker on offense. Danielle Stone (and fellow draft pick Julie Paetsch) would fill the gap while providing Calgary with a long-awaited winning season. Stone would not only shatter the Inferno’s scoring records but her 25 points would rank second among CWHL rookies and sixth among all players. Her 14 goals, 14 assists and five power play goals were all new franchise standards as she helped inject a sense of confidence into a club that is poised for better years ahead.

Defenders

Tessa Bonhomme, Toronto

            After a heart-breaking release from Canada’s centralization, it would have been completely understandable for Tessa Bonhomme to take the rest of the year off. Instead, she returned to the Furies and provided the club with a strong leadership presence. Armed with a remarkable enthusiasm, Bonhomme was a key factor in keeping the club competitive throughout the season. Her season would end with a Clarkson Cup victory, making her one of only 12 women to have earned IIHF gold, Winter Games gold and the Clarkson in a career.  

Kelsey Webster, Calgary

            With the Calgary Inferno losing three of its defenders (Jocelyne Larocque, Meaghan Mikkelson and Tara Watchorn) to Canada’s centralization, one of the league’s elite defenses was decimated. Such a loss was compounded by the retirement of emotional leader Bobbi-Jo Slusar to retirement. The losses would result in Kelsey Webster providing one of her finest seasons. Appointed as team captain, Webster anchored a defense that not only contributed to Calgary’s first winning season in franchise history but earned its first postseason berth.

Goaltender

DeLayne Brian, Calgary

            Just like fellow rookie and teammate Danielle Stone, several franchise rookie records would also be re-written by DeLayne Brian. Having helped Team Canada win the 2013 World Women’s Ball Hockey Championship, Brian brought that momentum to an ambitious Calgary Inferno franchise. Her 8 wins and 2.52 GAA not only represented new rookie records for Calgary, they were also franchise records. The first goaltender to record a winning season with Calgary, she would also earn her first shutout in dramatic fashion. On the last day of the season, Brian shutout the Brampton Thunder, resulting in Calgary earning their first-ever winning season.  

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