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Orlando All-In as Whale Look to Reverse Their Fortunes

October 2, 2019 - National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) - Connecticut Whale News Release

As a veteran of 61 NWHL games shutdown defender Elena Orlando has seen it all heading into the league's fifth season. She spent the inaugural season with the then-New York Riveters, but since then has been patrolling the blue line for the Connecticut Whale and has dedicated herself to bringing the Isobel Cup to her adopted home state.

Over the past two seasons, Orlando hasn't missed a single game and only took a total of three penalties in 32 contests while defending against some of the top players in the world. She has been credited with 55 blocked shots over her NWHL career and has also deflected and tipped countless passes. There are no tricks with Orlando. Her game isn't about putting up points; it's about playing sound defense and doing everything she can to keep pucks out of her team's net.

The 27-year-old was a dual-sport star during her final two seasons at Quinnipiac University, playing both hockey and rugby. That love of sports hasn't died down during the past five years. Orlando loves to compete. "I've been busy this offseason working in the gym and on the ice as well," she said when asked how she is preparing for her fifth season in the NWHL.

"I've also been playing other sports such as rugby and lacrosse for some cross-training." So, a memo to opposing forwards - don't get any ideas about trying to wear down or tire out Orlando during any games this season, that's likely an unwise strategy. She is constantly working on her quickness and agility when she does her weekly training sessions.

"I enjoy doing footwork drills, either off-ice cone agility drills or on-ice gap drills," added Orlando, "or working on walking off the wall."

The Whale haven't had the best of seasons the last three years, but there is renewed optimism around the team now that former Riveter Bray Ketchum has taken over the reins as the franchise's General Manager. "[Orlando] brings experience, commitment, and hard work to the Whale lineup," the GM said in the press release that announced her re-signing back on June 5.

Including Orlando, nine players are returning from last season's Whale team. So, much of the team's core remains intact. The Whale just need to find a way to piece together more victories. Connecticut is the only franchise in the NWHL without an Isobel Cup and their players would like nothing more than to shock the world change that. "I'm really looking forward to getting back on the ice and getting the season started," said Orlando. "I'm excited to get to know my new teammates and make a push for the Isobel Cup."

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