Editor's note: Though we aren’t currently planning on having in-depth coverage of every PWHL game here at Silver Seven, it only feels right to preview this first game and provide a place for PWHL Ottawa fans to talk hockey! Our plan is to keep running analysis articles, breaking news pieces, as well as a weekly round-up. Join us in cheering on our new local heroes! – nkb
It's January 2nd, which means the big day is finally here: the launch of professional women's hockey in Ottawa. Tonight's home opener at the TD Centre is sold out, so we're looking forward to a raucous atmosphere; the excitement in the Ottawa hockey community is palpable.
Last week, Brianne Jenner was named the first captain in team history. Emily Clark and Jincy Roese (who is a former midget teammate of Matthew Tkachuk) are her alternates. Those were the last few details to sort out before it hits the ice against Montreal, themselves captained by the legendary Marie-Philip Poulin.
The PWHL announced its rules yesterday. There are two differences from the NHL's current standards that merit additional attention. The first is the points system, which will be a 3-2-1-0 — 3 for a regulation win, 2 for an OT/SO win, 1 for an OT/SO loss, 0 for a regulation loss. The second is the penalty kill system: if a team scores a shorthanded goal, their penalty ends. It will be interesting to see if this encourages more risk-taking on the penalty kill.
We don't know the exact lines tomorrow, but the teams are allowed to dress 19 skaters + 2 goalies. Here is Ottawa's roster as a reminder:
Some thoughts ahead of tonight's game:
- Ottawa may not have the star power of a Poulin or a Sarah Nurse, but what they do have is depth. I'm looking forward to seeing if Ottawa's focus on a well-rounded roster pays off over the grind of a full season.
- Brianne Jenner has scored one-seventh of Team Canada's goals so far in the 2023-24 rivalry series, which would sound impressive if it wasn't for Canada having just 7 goals in 4 games. Still, she had 5 points in 7 games in the 2022-23 series, and I suspect we'll see some impressive play from her.
- I'm curious to see what Marschmeyer does as the presumptive number-one. Through no fault of her own, she's been stuck lower on the Team Canada depth chart and this will be a chance to shine.
- The first-ever PWHL game yesterday ended 4-0 with New York defeating Toronto, which honestly, I'm very happy with. Rivalries are good for the sport. I hope Toronto gets shut out all year.
- I don't know much about most of these players, so I'm looking forward to learning, especially about the non-North American ones.
- The game starts at 7 pm, with coverage on TSN5, TSN1, and TSN4.
No stats since it's Game 1, so all that's left to say is: GO OTTAWA, GO!