PWHL Ottawa Recap: Week 6

Another week of hard-fought losses

One good hockey team in Ottawa. That's all I'm asking.

Last Week: Ottawa 1, Minnesota 2

  • Several Ottawa players excelled in the Rivalry series while the league was on break, with Maschmeyer, Clark, Jenner and Bell leading Canada to a thrilling reverse sweep. Then they all came back to Ottawa and… well.
  • Things started well enough, with Amanda Boulier netting her first PWHL goal from the blueline to put her team up 1-0.
  • It’s especially cool that Boulier scored her first PWHL goal in Minnesota, because she spent so much time playing for Minnesota in the PHF.
  • It was an entertaining and evenly matched game, and Ottawa looked very good for most of it. It felt like they might finally be able to break out of this slump.
  • Hahahahahaha no. Early in the second period, Minnesota’s newest addition, Sophie Jaques, fired a beautiful shot from the point that led to a goal for Minnesota. It was Jaques’s first point in the PWHL. Who could have predicted that happening against Ottawa?
  • Ottawa continued to play the way they always do, which is to say that they had the puck and got a lot of shots on goal, but just couldn’t turn any of it into high danger chances.
  • Things got truly bad at the beginning of the third period when Minnesota pulled ahead, thanks to another defender sneaking the puck through traffic. Not a great goal to give up, to be honest.
  • Ottawa did everything but score in the rest of the third period. I don’t know what’s up with this team, but they just cannot buy one. They ended up falling 2-1 in a heartbreaker.

Last Week: Ottawa 1, Minnesota 2 (again)

  • The two teams played a rematch in Ottawa on Saturday - a game some Sens fans might have missed since it did overlap a bit with the Sens game.
  • Unfortunately, this game didn’t go any better than the Sens game, as Ottawa fell by a score of 2-1, again.
  • Minnesota struck first this time, taking the lead late in the first period.
  • Thankfully, Ottawa managed to tie things up in the second period, thanks to some heroics by Emily Clark
  • Unfortunately, the hope they provided us was short lived, as Minnesota took back the lead late in the second period. 
  • What followed was a rerun of just about every game we’ve seen this team play. They played well, but couldn’t solve Nicole Hensley. At some point, we have to stop blaming luck and realize this team needs to change things.
  • Speaking of, we got some strange roster news on Sunday afternoon. Mikyla Grant-Mentis, who has been a healthy scratch all month, was officially released from the team. Note that she was not traded, so it looks like she won’t be in the league at all.
  • There’s no getting around it: this is an absolutely baffling move. Grant-Mentis was one of the best players in the PHF for several years running, and was playing well in Ottawa. She hadn’t scored any goals yet, but had stood out as one of the best players on the ice in several games, and seemed to be one of the only players on the team capable of creating high-danger chances. This team needed to change things, but Grant-Mentis was definitely not their worst player, and seems to be exactly what they needed in the lineup. From a hockey perspective, this makes absolutely no sense.
  • I don’t want to speculate, but I really hope this isn’t yet another case of a Black player having mysterious “off-ice issues” or not being a fit with the team culture. It’s just bizarre, and I hope we get more information about what happened there.
  • As a replacement, Ottawa has brought in Rosalie Demers.The 23-year-old forward was invited to Ottawa’s training camp but didn’t earn a contract at the time. She spent 4 seasons in the NCAA, playing for Colgate University, and played well enough to earn a spot in the PWHPA upon graduation. It’ll be interesting to see what she’s able to do in Ottawa. 

The week ahead

  • Ottawa plays a weirdly early game in Boston today at 4:30pm. This is the game that was rescheduled from earlier in the season.
  • They will also play Boston on Wednesday at 7. Both Boston games will be broadcast live on TSN and on the PWHL YouTube channel.
  • You may remember that the only matchup between these two teams was an absolute heartbreaker, with Boston scoring at the very last minute to win the game in regulation right as it was headed for overtime.
  • These two games will be very important, as Boston is only two points ahead of Ottawa in the standings, and the only other team with only 9 games played. Sweeping this mini-series would put Ottawa’s season right back on track.
  • After that, PWHL Ottawa will head to Montreal on Saturday, February 24th for a 2:30pm matchup. The game will be available on Sportsnet+ and, of course, the PWHL YouTube channel.
  • Montreal has been battling it out with Minnesota for first in the league. The first two matchups between these teams both ended in Montreal overtime wins, and both were very winnable for Ottawa, so let’s hope for a better result this time around.

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