“She’s one of the nicest girls on the team,” said Emily Janiga’s Buffalo Beauts teammate Amanda Leveille. “I was so happy for her when she scored against Boston; once she did that I knew we would win!”
Janiga wasn’t very nice to the other teams in the NWHL this week with four points (3g-1a) over Buffalo’s two playoff victories, but she was just what her team needed as they knocked off the second-seed New York Riveters and then the defending champion Boston Pride in the 2017 Isobel Cup Final. Her game-winning goal and three-point performance propelled the Beauts to the title game and her goal late in the opening period vs. the Pride gave her team much-needed breathing room.
— bdz sports (@bdzsports) March 21, 2017
With eight brothers and sisters, it may sometimes be hard to make a name for yourself, but there are now lots of people who know Janiga’s name. In fact, until the end of days, her name will be etched on the Isobel Cup, and hockey fan that ever looks at that trophy will see her name on it.
Following the Beauts Isobel Cup win, The Hockey Writers briefly caught up with Emily Janiga before she hopped on a bus to continue the championship celebration with her teammates all the way back to Buffalo in the wee hours of the morning.
The Hockey Writers: What’s been going through your mind since you came off the ice?
Emily Janiga: I can’t even put it into words right now, I’m kind of still just in shock. I’m just enjoying this moment and it’s an unbelievable feeling; having my parents up in the stands, they came down (on the ice) and it was awesome being able to celebrate with them, celebrate with the team and to bring that Cup back to Buffalo.
— Buffalo Beauts (@BuffaloBeauts) March 20, 2017
THW: What do you think it means to your city that you are bringing home a professional championship trophy?
EJ: I can even put words to it (grins), bringing it back home is going to be an unreal feeling. We’ve had such a huge fan base back at home, all of our home games have been awesome — and I know a lot of them didn’t make it out today but they’ve been cheering from home. They watch our games and I’m really excited to bring this back to them.
THW: What in the world has gotten into you, Emily? Six goals in the regular season (17 games) and now three goals in two playoff games; you must be feeling really good about your game right now?
EJ: I can’t say I did anything different. I’ve been putting extra time in off of the ice knowing that I had a few things to work on in specific areas. I also have pretty good linemates side-by-side with me and that definitely helps with it. Nothing changed, we just really came together as a team the last three games. I also have to give credit to Bri and the defense, everyone together.
— Buffalo Beauts (@BuffaloBeauts) March 20, 2017
THW: We heard that the last few practices your team had were very, very good and in the span of seven days you just beat the other three teams in the NWHL; culminating with knocking out Boston who was 17-1-0. Why were the Beauts so successful?
EJ: I think the biggest thing is that we came together as a team and we all bought in as a team. The last few practices we had everyone out there on the ice working hard and working together. I think that was the biggest part of our success over the last three games.
THW: To beat Boston has to feel really good; not just beating them, though – I see you’re smiling already – but beating them on this stage has to feel amazing, right?
EJ: I don’t even have the words for it (smiles wide). Boston is a very skilled team and I give them credit; we definitely owe Bri a huge credit for that game. She stood on her head and won the game for us. We did our jobs out there and together as a team we were able to put sixty hard minutes together, which we maybe struggled with at the beginning of the season. But we were able to build off of each game and kind of learn from each game; use that experience.
— 😷 ᗪ爪丨ㄒ尺ㄚ😷 (@MightyD88) March 20, 2017
THW: Brianne McLaughlin goes off into the sunset as a champion now, did you or did the team address her in the locker room after this game?
EJ: We all took turns giving her a huge hug, I think that kind of said it all. Ending her career on that – I don’t think she could’ve asked for anything more and I don’t think we could’ve asked for anything more. She stood on her head for us and really left it all out there for us. We can’t thank her enough for everything that she did today, and for this season, and for her entire career.
Dan Rice is in his 9th year of reporting for THW & has covered NJ Devils home games for 15+ years at various websites. He began his journey working for legendary broadcaster/writer Stan Fischler from 2002-04 & completed an internship at the ECHL; he also has been writing features for the NWHL (nwhl.zone) website since 2016.