As one of the youngest teams in the CWHL, the future holds tremendous optimism for the Brampton Thunder. After a solid draft class in 2014, general manager and multiple Winter Games gold medalist Lori Dupuis built on such momentum by adding an exceptional sniper in Rebecca Vint in 2015.
Selected in the third round, eleventh overall, the Caledon-raised Rebecca Vint graduated as the Colonials all-time leading scorer, amassing 134 points on the strength of 73 goals. Joining her was Kristen Richards, nabbed in the fourth round, sixteenth overall. The two played two seasons together with the Colonials, as Richards accumulated 49 points while the program posted a combined record of 39-23-6 over said seasons.
With the two Colonials alumns selected, it reflected on a unique occurrence in the Thunder’s recent draft history. During the 2014 CWHL Draft, the Thunder acquired three players who had competed as teammates with the Clarkson Golden Knights program. The strong chemistry between such picks at the NCAA level, which saw the Golden Knights capture the Frozen Four and the Colonials grab the CHA postseason crown, should translate into success at the CWHL.
Prior to the launch of the regular season, Vint and Richards competed together with the Toronto Shamrocks, capturing the CBHA national championship. The chance to continue their careers together as teammates for the third time represents a special one,
“It definitely is nice to have a familiar face at the rink. Almost a sense of security because we have had those few years playing together, it’s nice to already come to the team with a friend.”
Donning number 12 for the Thunder, Vint would make her CWHL debut on October 17 against Les Canadiennes de Montreal. Despite a 4-0 final in favor of Les Canadiennes, the chance for Vint to finally grace CWHL ice and enter the next phase of her career was one that was highly rewarding,
“It was so fun. I could not have done it with a better group of girls. We obviously did not get the outcome we wanted that weekend, but it was a great performance by our girls and we continued to stay positive and stuck together until the end.”
Although Vint would have to wait until October 25 to log her first CWHL points, she did not disappoint. After the Thunder mounted a 4-0 lead against their crosstown rivals, the Toronto Furies, the third period saw the Furies bounce back with the scoresheet reflecting a 4-3 score. Vint would provide the heroics, preserving the Thunder’s lead in front of an ecstatic home crowd.
At the 16:13 mark of the third, Vint would score on Christina Kessler, extending the lead back to two goals. Earning the assists on her milestone first goal were captain Jocelyne Larocque and fellow rookie Jenna McParland, who logged her first CWHL point.
With less than a minute remaining, the Furies opted for an extra attacker by playing with an open net. Once again, Vint would find the back of the net, scoring a pair of unanswered goals. Sarah Edney, the first pick overall in the 2015 CWHL Draft, would log the assist as it was a night that saw 12 different Thunder players register at least one point.
In addition, the 6-3 win resulted in a couple of other milestones. For both Vint and Edney (who registered two assists), it signified the first multi-point games in their CWHL careers. Of note, Richards would also earn her first CWHL point in the contest, combining with Becca King to get the assists on Dania Simmonds’ second period goal, which would stand as the game winning tally.
Reflecting on such an important game, there is no question that said goal provided elements of both relief and excitement for Vint. Competing for a Thunder franchise looking for its first postseason appearance since 2013, Vint holds remarkable potential to become a key contributor.
“I think I celebrated more for that goal than I have ever. At least since my first college goal. But it was also a big sense of relief. The first one is always the hardest, for anyone, there’s always that pressure to break the ice. I can only hope that with the first one off my shoulder the rest will come!”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credit: John Morrison