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Katerina Mrazova Surging as Whale Prep for Pittsburgh

November 29, 2018 - National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) - Connecticut Whale News Release

Katerina Mrázová hasn't looked much like a rookie for the Connecticut Whale. A member of the Czech Republic National Team program, Mrázová is leading the team with five points in four games for Connecticut, including a pair of goals in Sunday's 4-3 shootout loss to the Metropolitan Riveters.

"Every game I'm getting more on the same page with my teammates," said Mrázová, "and it will just keep getting better."

Mrázová and the Whale earned their first win of the season the week before, a 2-1 victory over those same Riveters on a late goal from Shannon Doyle. Connecticut and the Rivs will square off for a rubber match, so to speak, this Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Pittsburgh. Tickets to this can't-miss rematch are available at NWHL.zone/tickets.

Mrázová scored the Whale's first goal of the season in a close 4-2 loss to the Boston Pride, and since then has been a human highlight reel, scoring in each of the Whale's past three games. In Sunday's game against the Riveters, Mrázová and her former University of Minnesota-Duluth teammate Michelle Löwenhielm teamed up for an incredible shorthanded goal.

"We have really good chemistry," Mrázová said of her connection with Löwenhielm. "After playing together at UMD, we know what to expect and know where the other is going to be."

Mrázová and Löwenhielm, a native of Sweden, are two of four European players on the Whale roster, along with goaltenders Meeri Räisänen from Finland and Maria Sorokina from Russia. Though most of them played at least some college hockey in the United States, Mrázová notes that it's helpful to have other international players adjusting to life in Connecticut.

"We're helping each other out. It's new for a lot of us," said Mrázová, "but everyone has been so helpful - our teammates and the coaches. Everything worked out really well, and I'm so thankful for that."

In each game that the Whale plays, the growing chemistry among the team becomes more and more apparent, helped along by the stellar play of Mrázová up front and Räisänen in net. Mrázová notes that practices have been spent working on defensive zone play and special teams, while continuing to develop the connection of the team as a whole.

"There are things we can still work on, but we're getting better every practice, every game, every minute," said Mrázová.

She and the Whale take the rematch against the Riveters to Pittsburgh this weekend, a city that has warmly embraced the NWHL in the past, including hosting the 2017 All-Star Game.

"We're really excited to play there. It will be a great place to play," said Mrázová. "But we can't get too high or too low, just focus on the game."

After back-to-back games against the Riveters already, the Whale are more than familiar with the defending Isobel Cup champions they'll be up against on Sunday.

"Everyone knows what we're supposed to do," said Mrázová. "We have to focus on the small details. If we can forecheck and backcheck well, we'll be able to bring some points home."

Beyond Sunday's game, Mrázová is looking forward to seeing how the Whale's play and her own continue to evolve throughout the season.

"My goal is always the highest," she said. "With the team, we can continue to improve every game and I can really see us in the finals. For me, I just want to help the team. The team always comes first, and I just want to help the team; it doesn't matter how.

"I'm really thankful to be on this Connecticut team and in the league. I hope the fans enjoy watching us play and want to come see us more."

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