PWHL Ottawa Recap: Week 8

One step forward, one step back

PWHL Ottawa Recap: Week 8

They're only two points out of a playoff spot with nearly half the season left, but it's really starting to feel like the season is slipping away.

This past week saw PWHL Ottawa play one good game, and one bad one. At least they beat the one team that's actually tied with them in the standings. Unless we're rooting for a good draft pick now?

Last Week: Ottawa 4, New York 2, February 28th, 2024

  • Savannah Harmon got things started, intercepting a breakout attempt and walking the puck back into the zone and right to the net all on her own. It was a great individual effort, and an example of exactly what Ottawa needs to be doing more, which is crashing the crease instead of taking all their shots from far out.
  • New York got a powerplay in the second period when Jincy Roese went off for tripping, but Ottawa pulled off a jailbreak goal, once again by crashing the net and following up on their chances. It was Fanni Garát-Gasparics’s first professional goal, and you can just see how excited she is in the clip. What a wholesome moment.
  • Unfortunately, New York pulled off the old “score while they’re still announcing the previous goal” trick, bringing the game back within one.
  • Part of the fun of the inaugural season of the PWHL is that we get to see so many history-making moments. The first goal in PWHL history. The first hat trick. The first shutout. On Wednesday night at TD Place, Ottawa fans got to witness another historic first: the first game misconduct in PWHL history.
  • Who else to make history in this way than Abby Roque? The noted agitator for team New York was assessed a five minute major and kicked out of the game for a really dangerous hit from behind on Ottawa’s Amanda Boulier. Thankfully, Boulier appeared to be fine after the hit. Roque did not face any supplemental discipline.
  • Ottawa unfortunately failed to take advantage of the long powerplay, instead sticking to their old routine of getting scoring chance after scoring chance without succeeding on any of them. They went into the third period clinging to a 1 goal lead. Considering how the last game between these two teams ended, I’m sure I wasn’t the only Ottawa fan mentally bracing myself for another regulation loss.
  • Sure enough, Jaime Bourbonnais, who had a great game all around, fired one in from the point to tie the game with about ten minutes to go. As an aside, every time I watch PWHL New York I’m astounded at how good their defence is, and then I remember that they have Claire Thompson as a reserve player, and get scared.
  • That tying goal was so deflating for fans who’ve seen this team struggle to score all season. It felt like we were hurtling toward yet another crushing defeat.
  • That’s why Gabbie Hughes’s go-ahead goal with about five minutes left was such a good moment. A reminder that this team does have some life.
  • What a goal, truly. All hail Gabbie Hughes, apparently.
  • Lexie Adzija capped it off with an empty-netter to seal the PWHL Ottawa win!
  • The usual suspects were the standouts in this game. I don’t know how many times I can say a different version of “Daryl Watts is really good,” but guys, she’s really good. So good. We’re so lucky to have her.

Last Week: Ottawa 2, Toronto 5, March 2nd, 2024

  • In a classic “Ottawa hockey” moment, PWHL Ottawa followed up an exciting win with a totally uninspiring loss. Fittingly, they worsened our mental health during their “mental health awareness game.”
  • Things started out well enough, with a few good chances for Ottawa, but unfortunately Natalie Spooner struck first, on the game’s first powerplay.
  • There was a noticeable cheer from the crowd in Ottawa when Toronto scored, which should serve as a reminder to all of us about the importance of heckling, mocking, bullying and intimidating Toronto hockey fans. We cannot let the situation reach Sens vs Leafs levels. Yes, this was the DIFD game. What does that have to do with anything?
  • Anyways Ottawa generally didn’t look that good in the first period. The score would have been even worse if not for some incredible saves by Maschmeyer. Sure enough, things went from bad to worse in the second.
  • Toronto scored two goals in very quick succession to start the period, and it was enough to chase Emerance Maschmeyer from the net. Sandra Abstreiter came in in relief, and unfortunately let in a pretty soft goal right away. Just like that, Ottawa was facing a 4 goal deficit.
  • Gabbie Hughes eventually gave Ottawa some life, breaking Campbell’s shutout about halfway through the game.
  • Early in the second, Ashton Bell brought the game within reach with her first PWHL goal. I was actually surprised to find out that it was her first goal, because she’s been so good all season and especially in this game.
  • It was around this time that I'm sure many fans started to think about Toronto hockey teams and four goal leads and how funny it would be if Ottawa came back in this game… but of course PWHL Ottawa cannot score 2 goals in 15 minutes, so I don’t know why I ever got my hopes up.
  • Toronto sealed the deal with an empty netter, to make the final score 5-2.
  • It was a pretty up and down game for Emerance Maschmeyer, unfortunately. On the bright side, Abstreiter played very well in relief, despite that first goal right at the start.
  • Despite the loss, I want to highlight a player who flies a bit under the radar but does a lot of good work, which is Aneta Tejralova. The defensive defender is great at breaking up plays, and I felt like she did a lot of that in this game.
  • You know, when I pictured all those Ottawa hockey double headers this season, with PWHL Ottawa playing in the afternoon and the Senators playing right after, I was picturing full days of good hockey and exciting wins. I’m not sure why I expected that.

The Week Ahead

  • It'll be a tough week, facing the two best teams in the league.
  • Our girls pay a visit to Minnesota tonight. The team has cooled off since their red-hot start to the season, but they’re still solidly in second place in the standings. Just like Ottawa, they’re coming off a loss to Toronto and a win over New York.
  • Grace Zumwinkle remains one of the league’s leading scorers. Many people expected Heise to be the star of the team, so it’s been cool to see Zumwinkle take the spotlight.
  • Clearly the first trade in PWHL history has worked out well for Minnesota, as Sophie Jaques has 2 goals and 2 assists in just 6 games for Minnesota. Watch out for her.
  • After that, Ottawa will head to Montreal for the final time this season for a 4pm matchup at Place Bell. They are currently 0-3 against Montreal, but two of those losses were in overtime. Please, for the sake of my sanity, just win one of these games.
  • Montreal has surged into first place in the league, and is currently enjoying the grand return of Canadian Olympian Mélodie Daoust, who recently signed a 10 game contract after practicing with the team as a reserve player all season. Unsurprisingly, she and Poulin have great chemistry.
  • Poulin is currently only one point behind Alex Carpenter for the league lead in goals, because of course she is.

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