After another week with only one game, Ottawa will finally make up some of their games in hand, with three games in one week.
Last Week: Ottawa vs Minnesota (3-2 OT Loss)
- The one game last week was a highly anticipated one, as first-place Minnesota came to town for the first time.
- This game had a lot in common with that opening night loss to Montreal: a home game that Ottawa probably deserved to win, but that ended in a heartbreaking overtime loss on home ice.
- Ottawa got off to a great start, scoring the first two goals of the game.
- The first goal went to Savannah Harmon - the first of the season for Ottawa’s first ever draft pick.
First goal so nice, we know you want to see it twice. 😉— PWHL Ottawa (@PWHL_Ottawa) January 18, 2024
Let's take another look at Savannah Harmon's first period SNIPE! 😮💨 pic.twitter.com/7ZnyIL75nu
- About halfway through the second period, Lexie Adzija scored her first professional goal ever, and in typical Lexie Adzija fashion: tapping home a nice rebound on the powerplay. She’s been a real standout on the fourth line.
Lexie Adzija gets the first of her professional career on the power play! 🚨 pic.twitter.com/3hIxcA5i3f— PWHL Ottawa (@PWHL_Ottawa) January 18, 2024
- Unfortunately, Minnesota came back with a vengeance, scoring early in the second period and then tying the game a few minutes later. The first goal was on the powerplay and the second was a jailbreak goal on the penalty kill. Not a great night for Ottawa's special teams.
- Ottawa looked amazing in the third period, but Minnesota goaltender Nicole Hensley shut the door.
- Overtime was heartbreaking, as Ottawa dominated at points and came so close to winning, but ultimately couldn’t solve Hensley and gave up the game winner.
- I must reiterate that every point counts in a 24 game season with only six teams, so moral victories can’t count for much. However, this was another really solid game by Ottawa. If that’s how they look against the best team in the league, I’m not particularly worried.
- My overall takeaway from that game is that you can tell this was a game between one team full of players who played together in college, and another team full of players who have only just started playing together. I’m still seeing a few miscues with Ottawa, something that is to be expected given how little time they’ve had to gel. Minnesota has a big advantage just because they took a lot of players who already know each other.
The Week Ahead
- Things pick up a lot this week, after a very light schedule to open the inaugural season. Ottawa has the fewest games played in the league, so this week could be huge for figuring out where they stand.
- First up, Ottawa hosts Toronto tonight, for a rematch of that incredible 5-1 blowout.
- It’ll be interesting to see what the crowd situation is like at TD place. This is the only Ottawa game all season that fully overlaps with a Sens game, with the start time being 7pm, exactly when the puck drops on Sens vs Habs in Montreal. People who follow both teams might choose the Sens, especially since all PWHL games can be streamed on the PWHL YouTube channel so it might be easier to watch this game back afterward. Add in the fact that it’s almost impossible to get tickets to see Toronto at home, and I wonder if the arena will be split the way Sens vs Leafs games always are. I have hope that it won’t be.
- Toronto continues to be the one team in the league that’s truly struggling, with only two wins in six games; one in regulation and one in a shootout. Ottawa is currently ahead of them in the standings with half as many games played.
- Coach Carla McLeod has confirmed that Abstreiter will start one of the two games in this back-to-back, but hasn’t told us which one. Given that Toronto is the weaker team, it seems more likely Abstreiter will get this one.
- Then tomorrow, Ottawa is right back at TD place to face Boston, which is the other team that’s played fewer games than most teams in the league. They’re technically in fifth place ahead of only Toronto, but like Ottawa, they have the ability to change that very quickly if they win their games in hand.
- Boston is stacked with talent, even though it hasn’t completely come together yet.
- The Boston game will also be Jamie Lee Rattray’s grand return to Ottawa!
- Ottawa will then get a few days off before heading to Laval for an afternoon rematch against PWHL Montreal on Saturday. Montreal has gotten off to a great start this season, currently sitting second in the league, but their points percentage is identical to Ottawa’s. We know Ottawa can outplay this team.
- The Saturday game will be another double-header for Sens fans, as the Sens will take on the Rangers right after the PWHL game ends.