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Team Szabados Wins the 2019 NWHL All Star Game

Team Stecklein lost to Team Szabados 3-2 thanks to a shootout victory on the 2019 NWHL All Star Game.

Lee Stecklein (#2) captained one of this year’s NWHL All Star Teams, while Haley Skarupa (#22) played for Team Szabados.
Cat Lenander

Sunday afternoon the NWHL All Star game commenced at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville Tennessee. The game was slightly delayed due to the Nashville Predators’ game running into overtime, but this also meant there were 6,120 people in attendance for the game as fans were allowed to stay for a double header. Team Szabados hit the ice in white jerseys with their goalie captain, Shannon Szabados in goal, while Team Stecklein was decked out in purple and put Nicole Hensley between the pipes. Play was to occur in two 25-minute periods of four-on-four hockey and just before the initial puck drop a catfish was thrown onto the ice to welcome the NWHL to the rink.

Once the puck had dropped both teams were moving nicely, though Team Szabados was getting the better shots on goal. Still Michelle Löwenhielm and Emily Fluke did manage a couple of great shots before someone on Team Szabados managed to knocked the puck on top of the back of the net. Amanda Kessel set herself up for a great shot, but a defender hampered her enough that the shot went wide. Hensley had to leap onto a rebound she didn’t initially cover. During another flurry Hayley Scamurra fed Audra Richards the puck in the slot and Richards drove the puck past Hensley into goal at 10:18. Allie Thunstrom was denied on one of her speedy shot attempts. A little later Shannon Doyle made a gorgeous drop pass to Katerina Mrázová and she scored from the left circle at 13:37. Team Szabados kept Team Steckelin off the board for the rest of the period.

The second half began with a goaltender change. Amanda Leveille went in for Hensley, while Katie Burt replaced Szabados. Team Stecklein put a high shot over Burt and soon had her flipping around in her crease as purple jerseys whirled around her. Eventually Gigi Marvin made a shot down the center from just in front of the blue line that deflected off Lisa Chesson’s stick into goal at 5:55. Amanda Pelkey made a solid attempt and Amanda Boulier did as well. A couple minutes later Fluke and Thunstrom came into Team Sazabados’ zone and thanks to a neat back and forth Fluke was able to backdoor the puck on Burt at 12:25. Chesson had the second assist on this tying goal.

Skaters were definitely moving a little faster by this point and seemed more comfortable with their lines. Team Szabados caused a flurry at Leveille’s net and she had to deflect a Mrázová shot with her shoulder. Hannah Brandt and Dani Cameranesi were also making some nice attempts on goal. One of those included when Brandt flew down a little right of center and made a snappy shot on goal, which Burt snatched out of the air during an extended Team Stecklein attack. Despite a fair number of attempts by each side, neither team could find a tie break in regulation.

As the game ended in a tie, play immediately went to a shootout. Burt and Leveille remained in goal. Kessel went first and scored on Leveille. Cameranesi went next and shot high. Next went Schofield, Brandt, and Mrázová, all of whom were denied. Marvin was Team Stecklein’s last hope, however her shot went wide, which meant Team Szabaods won the 2019 NWHL All Start Game.