In today’s inaugural National Women’s Hockey League Draft the Buffalo Beauts had the pleasure of picking last. They made every pick count making sure to get top notch players who can handle the pressure of pro hockey. Each of these women have a fire in their belly and will be a joy to watch once the season rolls around.
Who are the historic NWHL draft picks for the Buffalo Beauts?
Courtney Burke – Defenseman for the Wisconsin Badgers
Burke is the ultimate offensive defeseman. She shoots the puck well and can sneak through a crowd to score a goal.
She has stood out the past three seasons at Wisconsin earning WCHA All-Rookie Team honors (2012-13), All-WCHA Second Team (2013-14), and All-WCHA Third Team (2014-15).
In 113 games, Burke had 13 goals and 60 assists.
Sarah Lefort – Forward for the Boston University Terriers
— NWHL (@NWHL) June 20, 2015
Lefort turned heads and blew minds with her skill by scoring two goals on October 5th, 2012 against Boston College in her collegiate debut. She would do the same against Union and Robert Morris later that month. So, it should be no surprise that at the end of October Lefort was named Hockey East Rookie of the Month and Hockey East Co-Rookie of the Week.
Impressive right? Well, it gets better.
At the end of November, Lefort had 5 assists when Boston swept Providence. On January 16, 2013 she scored her first hat tricks against Northeastern, who was ranked #10 at the time.
Lefort even produced well when it mattered the most. During the NCAA quarterfinals against Clarkson, Lefort scored 2 goals. Then went on to score a goal against Minnesota during the National Championship game.
At the end of the season, Lefort tied for 4th in the nation with 7 game-winning goals. She placed 2nd in points and assists among Hockey East freshmen. Lefort also ended up 3rd among NCAA freshmen in points per game, tied league rookies in goals, and was unanimously selected to the All-Rookie Team.
You could say Freshman year was a good year for Lefort.
Her sophomore and junior year would play out very similar to freshman year. There is no denying that Lefort is the kind of player you want on your team. The Beauts made a great decision in drafting her.
Amanda Leveille – Goaltender for the Minnesota Gophers
Leveille is the type of player coaches love to have on their team. She is constantly growing and evolving as a goaltender. When something isn’t working she finds a way to fix what is wrong so she doesn’t have to depend on the defense. In fact, with a save percentage of .949 over the past three seasons you can bet the defense feels extremely comfortable having Leveille in net. When the comfort sets in, the back end doesn’t have to over compensate and can focus on doing their job.
Emily Janiga – Forward for the Mercyhurst Lakers
Janiga attended Nichols High School in Buffalo. Getting drafted by your hometown team is a dream that drives many players throughout the realm of hockey.
Drafting a hometown player is just the icing on the Janiga cake.
Some of Janiga’s accolades include; College Hockey America Player of the Year (2015), College Hockey America Scoring Champion (2015), All-College Hockey America First Team (2015 and 2014), and All-College Hockey America Rookie Team (2013).
None of this should be a surprise to anyone. Janiga led College Hockey America with 27 goals, 45 points, and 11 power-play goals. She also had a whopping 15 multi-point games. Yes, I said, 15 multi-point games. By the way, this was all over the course of 35 games. Incredible, right?
Janiga will have a nice career in the NWHL if this style of play keeps up.
Jenna Dingeldein – Forward for the Mercyhurst Lakers
Dingeldein, like Janiga, had a decent start to her collegiate career. However, junior year has proven to be her best year. Over the course of 35 games, Dingeldein had 18 goals, 17 assists, and took 134 shots which placed her at 2nd among the team. She also led the team with 7 game-winning goals.
During the first four games of the 2014-15 season Dingeldein tallied 5 points. At the end of January, she produced 11 points in a span of 5 games. Basically, when Dingeldein starts scoring she doesn’t know how to stop.
You could say she drove the danglebus a lot for Mercyhurst.
Elaine is in her first year writing for The Hockey Writers. She will mostly be covering the Columbus Blue Jackets, Lake Erie Monsters, NWHL, and the charitable works all hockey players partake in.
She just ended a two season internship with the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets.