Finally, more games!
Last Week: Ottawa 5, Toronto 1
- Ottawa made their long-awaited return to the ice on Saturday in Toronto, and proved that they are every bit as good as they looked for most of that first game against Montreal.
- One notable difference between Ottawa’s play against Montreal and against Toronto was how much they were crashing the net. Against Montreal, they were mostly taking shots from a bit of a distance, allowing themselves to get goalie’d by Desbiens. They went into this game with a different approach, clearly looking for those garbage goals instead of getting too pretty with it.
- That strategy paid off about halfway through the first period, when the team wound up on a 5 on 3 and scored two goals in quick succession, one at 5 on 3 and the next on the regular powerplay.
- The first goal was scored by Katerina Mrazova, who you may recall also scored the second goal in game 1. This time, she tapped in a Jincy Roese rebound with Lexie Adzija doing great work in front of the net.
- The second goal went to Gabbie Hughes - her first of the season!
- Right as time was expiring on the first period, Daryl Watts took advantage of a line change and some lazy defence from Toronto to put together a great individual effort and make the score 3-0.
- It felt a little extra sweet for Watts, who never made Team Canada despite several years of being one of the best players in college hockey, to get her first PWHL goal against the team that has Team Canada’s coach and GM.
- Toronto did get one back at the start of the second period. Hilariously, the goal by Natalie Spooner was Toronto’s first ever home goal, because they were of course shut out in their first game.
- Ottawa struck back quickly enough, with their best goal of the night. As both teams went off for a line change right at the end of the period, Emerance Maschmeyer passed the puck up the ice to Natalie Snodgrass, who had just jumped off the bench and got to the puck right on time to carry it into the zone onside. She walked in all alone and shot the puck right into the net to put her team up 4-1. Maschmeyer’s assist on the play will stand as the first goalie point in PWHL history!
- Shortly after that, there was an almost-fight, where it looked like Lexie Adzija was trying to take on the entire Toronto team. She got a penalty for it, but it was so iconic it was worth it.
- The final nail in the coffin was an absolutely clinical passing sequence in the third period that ended with Gabbie Hughes tapping in her second of the game. The game was never even close.
- Although she still hasn’t scored, it was another great game for Mikyla Grant-Mentis, who got credited with two assists. She and Akane Shiga, who was held without a point but also looked dangerous throughout the game, are predictably looking like some of the best training camp signings in the league.
- I must also give a shoutout to Emerance Maschmeyer, who, on top of getting an assist, made all the saves she needed to in a dominant win.
The Week Ahead
- It’ll be another one-game week, but thankfully we won’t have to wait too long this time. Ottawa takes on Minnesota at home on Wednesday at 7pm.
- TSN says the game will be available on TSN+. It will also be streamed live on the PWHL YouTube channel, as all games are.
- Minnesota is currently first in the league, although their winning streak has finally been snapped, after New York defeated them in overtime on Sunday. They’ve looked extremely good so far, so this will be a real test for this Ottawa team.
- Look out for Taylor Heise and Grace Zumwinkle especially. The two local girls, who played together at the University of Minnesota, have been tearing up the league, with four points each. All of Zumwinkle's points are goals.
- It’ll be interesting to see when Ottawa starts using their other goaltenders. With a lot of time between games and this next one being against the top team in the league, I feel like they’re probably going to stick with Maschmeyer. Their next two games after the one against Minnesota will be back-to-back, so we’ll definitely see Abstreiter then, but I don’t know if they’ll want to get her into a game before that.
- Depending on how Montreal vs New York goes tomorrow, Ottawa might have a chance to move into second in the league with a win over Minnesota. They currently have the second highest points percentage in the league, not that it means that much so early on. Still, in a six team league with a 24 game schedule, every point counts!