Rookie McKenna Brand Making Her Mark with Pride Top Line
Boston Pride rookie forward McKenna Brand has wasted no time acclimating to the professional game. The Nevis, Minnesota, native has a goal in each of her first two NWHL contests, including the Pride's first goal of the season in a 5-1 win over the Metropolitan Riveters and the game-winner in a 4-2 victory over the Connecticut Whale last Saturday.
"My teammates have helped make the transition smooth," said Brand. "The game is definitely fast, and you have to make decisions faster, but speed has always been part of my game."
Brand and the Pride play their third of five consecutive home games this Saturday, once again hosting the defending Isobel Cup champion Riveters at Warrior Ice Arena at 7:30 p.m. Single-game tickets and pro-rated season tickets are available at NWHL.zone/tickets.
In the first two games, Brand has been playing on the Pride's top line with Team USA Olympic gold medalist Amanda Pelkey and former Northeastern teammate Denisa Krizova.
"This is now my third season playing on a line with Denisa," said Brand, "so we already have that chemistry. The three of us just keep working on our communication and reading each other. It's been a lot of fun to play with them."
Though she's from Minnesota, Brand was excited to return to her second home in Boston, and she was not alone. She is one of 16 players on the Pride roster who are either from Massachusetts or who played collegiately in Boston.
"When I was telling people I was going to play in Boston, they all thought it was funny that the whole team is basically [Boston College] and [Boston University] players, because we all used to be rivals," Brand said. When asked if there was any bad blood left over from Beanpot Tournaments past, she laughed, "No, not anymore."
Brand has taken the opportunity with five home games to open the season to get acclimated to her new life in Boston. "It's been nice to be able to get into a routine with work and the NWHL schedule and where I'm living and just getting used to life in Boston," she said, after spending the summer training at home in Minnesota. "And it's been great to just be at Warrior and get to open the season in front of our home fans."
The Riveters return to Warrior on Saturday still winless after a pair of losses to the league-leading Minnesota Whitecaps last weekend.
"They're definitely going to come in hungry," said Brand of the Riveters. "They're a talented team and I'm sure they're not happy to be having this start to their season."
But she noted that the Pride have a point to prove this weekend as well. "Even though we won, we weren't totally happy with our performance against the Whale last weekend," she said. "I know we're looking to come out stronger Saturday."
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National Women's Hockey League Stories from October 24, 2018
- Gold Medalist Lee Stecklein a "Perfect Fit" with Unbeaten Whitecaps - Minnesota Whitecaps
- Rookie McKenna Brand Making Her Mark with Pride Top Line - Boston Pride
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