The Boston Pride may have made the biggest signing of NWHL Free Agency. Word was released late in the morning of Aug. 20, 2019 that Swedish goaltender and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) alum Lovisa Selander. The 23-year-old is the NCAA’s all-time saves leader for goalies.
“I am very excited to be joining the Boston Pride this season and feel fortunate to be continuing my playing career in the States,” said Selander in the press release for her signing. “I look forward to being challenged every day in the NWHL by competitive teammates as well as playing alongside two of my college teammates (Marisa Raspa, Whitney Renn). I can’t wait to get the season started!”
Boston had drafted Selander with the 20th selection of the 2018 NWHL Draft. Having already signed Boston University netminder Victoria Hanson on Aug. 14, and now adding Selander, the Pride immediately bolster themselves as the NWHL team with the best goaltending in the league.
NCAA Career With the Engineers
Selander’s numbers from her time with the RPI Engineers are staggering. In three of her four seasons, her save percentage was .932 or higher. That was with Selander having played in 30 or more games every season. Her stingiest goals against average came during her freshman campaign – a paltry 2.11 in 33 games played.
She had her finest season in 2018-19, while also serving as the Engineers’ team captain. Playing in all 34 regular season games, Selander posted a 2.29 GAA and a career-best .942 SV% – second highest in the nation – while going 12-17-5. She also made the most saves of her career in a single season, stopping pucks 1,232 times.
The accolades off of such a performance came pouring in: a Top Ten Finalist consideration for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, the Engineers Most Valuable Player, ECAC Goaltender of the Year, ECAC All-Academic, and the first-ever CCM/AHCA National All-America First Team selection in RPI’s history.
Selander finished her career at RPI having played 131 games. Facing 4,467 shots in her career, she stopped 4,167 of them – good enough for a 2.35 GAA and a .933 SV%. Incredible numbers, especially when considering that Selander went 40-71-19 in net for RPI. On a team that suffered a considerable amount of losses, she was indeed a lifesaver and her numbers prove it.
Will Isobel Be Recaptured by Boston?
At 5-foot-11 and over the 160-pound mark, Selander has excellent size for a goaltender. Throw in her incredible skill for stopping pucks, and the Boston Pride may have themselves the premier goaltender in the NWHL. That is exactly what they need in order to recapture the Isobel Cup.
Selander, who represented Sweden at both the 2018 Four Nations Cup and the 2019 Women’s World Championship, is the player that Pride head coach Paul Mara may count upon the most once the season gets underway. The notion is something he has already alluded to.
“Lovisa will be a difference-maker for our team,” Mara said in the press release. “We are really proud to have her join the Boston Pride.”
Boston is well more than halfway to having their team fully established. With NWHL rosters typically being a minimum of 21 players and a maximum of 25, the Selander signing means Boston now has 17 players under contract.
Seven of the those signings are defenders, including her former teammate in Renn. This also means that can adhere together from the crease on outward, with the remaining signings being the finishing touches. The Pride should also sign a third goaltender as a cautionary measure in case of injury, illness or off-ice commitments.
Here is how the Pride’s roster currently looks as of Aug. 20:
Goaltender: Victoria Hanson, Lovisa Selander.
Defense: Kaleigh Fratkin, Jenna Rheault, Lexi Bender, Mallory Souliotis, Lauren Kelly, Briana Mastel, Whitney Renn (defender-forward).
Forward: Tori Sullivan, Christina Putigna, Lexie Laing, Mary Parker, Jillian Dempsey, McKenna Brand, Alyssa Wohlfeiler, Marisa Raspa.
Beginning May 15, NWHL teams can re-sign players from their 2018-19 roster and their draft picks. Additionally, for those players who have completed their college eligibility and want to continue their hockey careers, NWHL Free Agency provides the best opportunity to continue playing at the highest level of professional women’s hockey. The fifth season of the NWHL will begin in October as the Minnesota Whitecaps look to defend their Isobel Cup championship.
My colleague Dan Rice will keep THW readers up-to-date on Metropolitan and Connecticut’s signings throughout the summer, while I post updates on Buffalo and Boston. Together we will be keeping readers informed of all of Minnesota’s signings.