WHITECAPS' MEAGHAN PEZON HAS FOUND HER SCORING TOUCH
By Mike Murphy
Many consider the Minnesota Whitecaps’ team speed to be their greatest strength. But the Whitecaps are a lot more than a team with an abundance of quick skaters. They are also the most experienced team in the league. Minnesota’s veteran core has played a pivotal role in the team’s 13-5-2 record this season. One key cog of that core is Meaghan Pezon, who is putting the finishing touches on an outstanding second season in the NWHL.
Last season, the versatile Pezon played both as a defender and depth forward for the Whitecaps – a team she’s been attached to since completing her collegiate career in 2009-2010. She picked up two points in nine games before celebrating Minnesota’s Isobel Cup victory over the Buffalo Beauts on March 17, 2019.
In the 2019-20 season, Pezon has flourished after being moved into a feature role in the Whitecaps’ offense. After picking up just two points – both assists – in her first two games Pezon began scoring points in bunches. She has tailed 14 of her 16 points in the last 11 games. In that window, she put together a streak of four consecutive multi-point games and is currently sixth on the team in scoring.
“I think this year I am just playing with a lot more confidence,” Pezon said when asked about her production this season. “I skated quite a bit over the summer, so it was nice to come into the season with that confidence.”
Those who followed Pezon during her collegiate career are likely unsurprised by the jump in her production this year. She scored at least 12 goals in three of her four years at St. Cloud State, including a 12-goal, 26-assist senior campaign in 2009-10. So, what’s been different in her second NWHL season? For Pezon, it all comes down to chemistry and opportunity.
“I think the biggest thing that has helped my game this year are my linemates Jonna Curtis and Allie Thunstrom,” Pezon said. “The amount of speed those two have opens-up a lot of opportunities for me! As long as I continue getting them the puck, I know we are going to get good opportunities.”
With just two weekends left in the regular season Minnesota’s top line needs to stay sharp if they want to head into the Isobel Cup Playoffs with confidence and momentum. This Saturday, Pezon and the Whitecaps will meet the Buffalo Beauts in what could be their final road trip of the year. Tickets for those games and the Whitecaps final home games of the regular season are available at nwhl.zone/tickets.
The last time the Whitecaps played the Beauts, Minnesota blew Buffalo out of the water with a 15-3 edge in goals in two games. However, the season series has been far from lopsided. The Beauts nearly came back from a four-goal deficit on Nov. 23 and rallied to beat the Whitecaps 4-3 on Nov. 24.
“I expect the Beauts to come out hard,” Pezon shared. “They want to make sure they are playing their best hockey as well this time of year. They are a team that has absolutely zero quit – we gave up big leads in both games the last time we played them in Buffalo … We will need to be ready to play a full 60 minutes.”
There may be no team in the NWHL that can ride a sudden shift in momentum like the Beauts. That is evidenced in part by their 21.8 percent success rate on the power play, which is second only to the Whitecaps.
“I think the one thing with Buffalo is that they are so dangerous,” said Pezon. “They have so many players who can score goals. You always need to know where their shooters are and make sure you are playing them tough defensively. As we learned last time, if you give them time and space, they will take advantage.”
Photo Credit: Tom Morris