BOSTON’S MARY PARKER IS NWHL PLAYER OF THE MONTH FOR NOVEMBER
By Jane Norton
November may have been a shorter month for NWHL game activity, but that didn’t stop Mary Parker from going on a tear. The Boston Pride forward has been named the NWHL Player of the Month.
Parker, who joins teammate McKenna Brand as the first two recipients of this honor, said the depth of talent on the Pride roster pushes everyone to raise their game and has been a big factor in her strong start to this season.
“It really enables us to have high-tempo practices where we are all pushing each to get better,” said Parker. “Whether it’s a full ice one-on-one drill, three-versus-two zone entry, or various mini-games, everyone is raising the bar and seeking to improve every time on the ice. This directly translates into the games where we are fully confident in all of our forward lines, defense pairs, or goalie in net. In my view, it creates a high level of team confidence.”
Parker’s confidence has soared. In November, she scored six goals and earned a primary assist over three games to help Boston extend its undefeated record to 10-0-0. Going back to October, Parker has goals in five of her last six games and points in seven of her last eight games, including a hat trick against the Whale on Nov. 23. Parker is third in the league in goals (8) and third in the league in shots on goal (50).
In addition to leading the Pride in goal scoring in November, Parker also blocked four shots and registered five takeaways during the month. This season, she ranks second among forwards in takeaways, behind teammate Jillian Dempsey. A natural center, she's also had a great start to the season on the dot with a 52.0 percent faceoff success rate.
Parker credits the support and complete buy-in from everyone in the Pride organization for the team’s 10-0 record and her increase in production.
“It has really started from the top with Coach Paul (Mara) and Coach Heath (Gordon) fully preparing us for the games,” said Parker. “Our team captains have set the tone, and off the ice, (Pride owner) Miles Arnone, (President) Hayley Moore, (GM) Karilyn Pilch, and the staff have provided us with the resources to be successful. “I also want to acknowledge my great linemates, Alyssa Wohlfeiler and Emily Fluke. We’ve been generating great chances by playing with speed, moving the puck quickly, and making smart plays all over the ice. We are all really excited for the rest of the season.”
For Parker, the final 100 days or so of the NWHL season provide opportunities to continue improving her game so the Pride can reach the goal she cited when she re-signed with the team last summer: winning the Isobel Cup.
“In order to help us get the opportunity to win the Cup, I want to continue to work on my speed, shot selection, and making strong defensive plays on the back-check and in the D-zone,” said Parker.
More Praise for Parker
Teammate Kaleigh Fratkin: “I’m happy to see Mary having individual success -- she deserves the recognition. She’s a huge part of our team’s success so far. She’s a complete player, but she has been doing what she does best, and that’s scoring. Her quick release is one of the best I’ve ever seen. I didn’t get a chance to play with her at BU, but I watched her plenty and saw her ability to score and now I’m getting to see it first-hand. She’s the type of player that everyone wants on their team. She works so hard in practice and is a standup teammate in the locker room.”
Pride GM Karilyn Pilch: “Mary has been a consistent offensive threat this season. She uses her speed to create opportunities and has the finesse to finish. Mary and her linemates continue to produce and extend the depth of our forward lines. I expect her point contributions to continue this season, and they are vital to our success as a team.”
Photo Credit: Michelle Jay