ALLIE THUNSTROM ROLLS TO NWHL VEDA PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS
By Jane Norton
With her Whitecaps in a scoreless tie with Connecticut entering the third period, the blazing forward Allie Thunstrom scored three goals – at 2:34, 7:51 and an empty-netter with 31 seconds left – to give Minnesota a 3-0 victory. When the Whitecaps looked to get off to a strong start on Sunday against the feisty Whale, Thunstrom scored just 2:39 into the game. Minnesota went on to win, 2-1.
In a weekend filled with glorious work from Sonjia Shelly, Amanda Leveille, Jenna Rheault and Jillian Dempsey, Thunstrom’s performance was too clutch to overlook. “Thunder” has been named the NWHL VEDA Player of the Week.
“There have been some really awesome performances from players in the league all season, so just to be in the same conversation is an honor,” said Thunstrom. “I’m incredibly honored to be Player of the Week.”
Her four-goal weekend now places Thunstrom in the lead in team scoring, with 10 goals and 5 assists for 15 points in 13 games. The Whitecaps have a potent, balanced offensive attack, as defenders Amanda Boulier and Sydney Baldwin post big numbers and so many forwards contribute – Nicole Schammel, Jonna Curtis, Meghan Lorence, and Audra Richards, among them.
“I’ve been fortunate this year with awesome linemates and phenomenal teammates,” said Thunstrom. “Every single player on our roster has the talent and ability to score goals and make plays. This weekend the puck fell for me but it wouldn’t have if it weren’t for the hard work and great play of everyone else on the ice. We’ve definitely had some more bumps in the road early in the season in comparison to last year, but each week we get a little better and find a little more chemistry. We keep battling and that’s all you can ask for.”
A star at Boston College and the winner of Minnesota’s prestigious Ms. Hockey Award in 2006, Thunstrom is in her second season of full-time hockey after taking some time away from the game to become a competitive speedskater for a few years. Her return coinciding with the Whitecaps joining the NWHL last season, Thunstrom used her speed to help produce offense for the team, posting five points in the crucial final four games of the regular season as Minnesota claimed the top seed in the Isobel Cup playoffs. Thunstrom was also selected to participate in NWHL All-Star Weekend in Nashville.
As Thunstrom noted, the defending Cup champs have had some “bumps” this season, but they are now in second place with a 7-3-2 record, and they have several home games left in the season at TRIA Rink in Saint Paul, where the Whitecaps draw large and loud crowds.
“It’s been a whirlwind of a first half and we’ve been on the road for most of it, but I’m super proud of everyone on this team,” said Thunstrom. “I’m excited for the second half to start and get to play some more games in front of our amazing fans at TRIA rink. There’s definitely nothing better than that!”
Photo Credit: Bryan Johnson