After three weeks of a single game each, this week saw PWHL Ottawa play 3 games. It ended up being a heartbreaking week, with Ottawa deserving maybe 6 points but receiving just 4. This puts Ottawa firmly in fourth in the standings, with 9 points from 6 games.
Toronto 1 @ Ottawa 3 (Tuesday, Jan 23)
- Ottawa maybe didn't deserve this one, being outshot 31 to 20, but a lot of that was score effects since they raced out to an early lead the maintained for the whole game.
- Emerance Maschmeyer was solid in this game, showing yet again why she was a great first-three signing for this team. It's hard to win without reliable goaltending. (The Ottawa Senators have entered the chat.)
- Ottawa's best players were Ottawa's best players in this game, with goals coming from Emily Clark, Brianne Jenner, and Lexie Adzija. Shockingly, those were the first PWHL goals for both Clark and Jenner, despite them being arguably this team's best players throughout the season.
- Lexie Adzija's goal was a shorthanded empty-netter, which holds a much bigger weight in this league, considering that a shortie negates the penalty. It made me wonder if Toronto made the right choice in pulling the goalie, but, when you need a goal, 6-on-4 is still better than 5-on-4, and, also, who cares how many you lose by?
- Here's a better look at that Jenner goal, because both Amanda Boulier's vision and then Jenner's patience to pick her spot are worth a look
Boston 3 @ Ottawa 2 (Wednesday, Jan 24)
- This one was the first heartbreaker, in which Ottawa outshot Boston 39-31. They fought from behind to tie it up, only for Theresa Schafzahl to stun TD Place, scoring the go-ahead goal with 52 seconds left.
- Sandra Abstreiter got her first start with Ottawa, which earned us this adorable photo
- Unfortunately, Abstreiter allowed two goals and got hurt on the second, forcing Maschmeyer back into action in the first period, right after having played the night before. Abstreiter was not the backup on Saturday, so she may be out longer.
- Ottawa has been relentless on the cycle and forecheck all season, and it earned them the first goal, also the first of Kristin Della Rovere's career.
- Then Ottawa's powerplay went to work, and the chemistry between Brianne Jenner and Lexie Adzija remained clear, with Adzija scoring the tying goal.
- This gave Adzija goals in 3 straight games, and a point in each of Ottawa's first five games on the season.
- Maschmeyer was perfect until that final minute, and it's hard to fault anyone on that goal. It just sucks that yet another game Ottawa deserved to win, they instead lost.
- This game also gave us a very memeable moment from PM Justin Trudeau. Don't take this a political endorsement or criticism of him, just a comment that he clapped way too fast and the woman beside him gave him a frightened the end.
Ottawa 1 @ Montreal 2, OT (Saturday, Jan 27)
- This was another heartbreaker. Ottawa deserved to win but they just got goalied. Final shot count was 44-24, and Montreal spent most of the game just trying to hold on.
- Laura Stacey scored in the first matchup between these two teams, and she did it again this time. She got the game's first goal, with a beauty of a wraparound.
- Then Stacey earned a shorthanded penalty shot. Maschmeyer was down hurt for a few minutes, but she got up and then made a spectacular save on the penalty shot, reaching back when it looked like she'd been beat.
- Ann-Renée Desbiens stole thus one for Montreal. Several players got great looks, but only a bobbled rebound on the powerplay made it past her. Just a dominant performance.
- Ottawa looked so strong in the third period that it really looked like they deserved to win. Heartbreaking.
- Other than Clark and Jenner, the players who most stood out to me in this game were Mikyla Grant-Mentis for her puck skills and Akane Shiga for her puck pursuit.
Around The League
- Also on Wednesday, Montreal beat Minnesota 2-1 in another game where the goalie stood strong — the final shot count was 46-26 for Minnesota. This was Minnesota's first regulation loss on the season.
- On Friday, Toronto shut out New York 2-0. Natalie Spooner ad both goals.
- On Saturday, Boston beat Minnesota 4-3 in OT. The game includes the teams' respective captains — Hilary Knight and Kendall Coyne Schofield — scoring a goal.
- Yesterday, yet another game went to OT, with Minnesota beating New York 2-1. Abby Boreen's first of the season was the game-winner.
It's a very light week ahead, with the league's commitments to the NHL All-Star Game. Each team only plays once. Ottawa will host New York on Sunday at 1 pm, giving us our first look at notables such as Alex Carpenter.
Some PWHL stars will play an exhibition 3-on-3 match on Thursday, after the NHL player draft. Billie Jean King's team will feature Ottawa defenceman Savannah Harmon, while Ilana Kloss's team will feature Ottawa forwards Jenner and Clark along with goalie Maschmeyer.