PWHL Ottawa Recap: Week 9

The playoff dreams aren't dead yet!

PWHL Ottawa Recap: Week 9
Photo by Markus Winkler / Unsplash

With a shootout loss and a regulation win, Ottawa is holding on to their playoff chances, but only because the teams they're chasing are struggling too.

Last Week: Ottawa 3, Minnesota 4 (SO), March 5th, 2024

  • The game started out badly for Ottawa, with Minnesota scoring the first two goals fairly early in the first. Ottawa did not look great at the start of the game, with their defense struggling especially.
  • Their luck turned around when Minnesota took the first penalty of the game, giving Ottawa the chance to do the one thing they’re good at: score a powerplay goal.
  • They did exactly that! Hayley Scamurra, who is rapidly becoming one of my favourite hockey players, picked up an attempted clear and shot the puck right into the net.
  • Toward the end of the first period, fans were treated to a beautiful passing play involving first Jenner and Harmon, then Jenner and Watts, with Mrázová finishing it off to tie the game. A wonderful display of teamwork. One of those goals where it feels like a shame they can only hand out two assists.
  • Ottawa was awarded another powerplay at the very start of the second period, and they made quick work of it. They collapsed around the net, and Mrázová got her second of the game. We were officially on Hat Trick Watch, and Ottawa was leading in the game. We were so back.
  • They went right back to the powerplay soon after that goal, but didn’t manage to build on their lead.
  • Unfortunately, Score Effects happened, and Ottawa found themselves desperately trying to cling to a one goal lead as Abstreiter stopped shot after shot.
  • The situation only worsened in the third period, where Minnesota got 14 shots to Ottawa’s 4. Eventually, the inevitable happened, and Minnesota tied the game.
  • Well, it was fun while it lasted.
  • When Tejralová took a penalty in the dying seconds of the game, I know I wasn’t the only Ottawa fan resigned to the inevitability of Minnesota winning the game on an overtime powerplay, but to my surprise, Ottawa actually killed it off, and survived the whole overtime. We were off to a shootout.
  • The shootout was close, but Minnesota won in the end. It was a shootout. They’re all bad.
  • Despite the score, it was really nice to see Sandra Abstreiter get into a game, and play so well. It was a very good game for her, and it’s a shame her defence didn’t give her much support.

Last Week: Ottawa 4, Montreal 2, March 10th, 2024

  • Ottawa had struggled against Montreal before this game, and so as the #1 Montreal sports hater in the city of Ottawa, this was a big game for me. I wouldn’t say I was excited for the game, exactly. The vibe was more please god just win one of these. Even with Marie-Philip Poulin officially out of the lineup for Montreal, I still wasn’t confident.
  • Thankfully, Ottawa started off playing much better than they had in the last game between these two teams. A late powerplay gave them the boost they needed, and captain Brianne Jenner snapped the puck right under the glove of Ann-Renée Desbiens just as time was about to run out in the first period.
  • No one who watches this team was about to be fooled by a one goal lead after one period of play, and so it was a huge relief when Daryl Watts did Daryl Watts things, firing an absolute laser beam right past Desbiens from the slot. What a goal. What a player. She’s so good, you guys.
  • Ottawa was playing well, but going into the third period with a two goal lead, I was trying not to catastrophize. I was saying affirmations. Ottawa would not give up any goals this period. They would score more goals than Montreal. They were capable of holding a lead. I believed in them.
  • So anyways, they gave up the next goal.
  • It took a while, but Laura Stacey, who apparently just hates Ottawa and me, eventually brought the game within one on the powerplay. The two minutes between that goal and Ottawa’s next ones were some of the longest minutes of my life.
  • Ottawa did score, though, to make the score 3-1. It was a powerplay goal, and I remember that because I said “it’s weird that they keep putting Tejralová on the point for the powerplay” as Tejralová shot the puck through traffic and right into the net. Hey, I’m not complaining. All hail Carla McLeod, apparently.
  • Of course, Montreal had to make it interesting by scoring another goal right at the end, but Gabbie Hughes got the empty netter to secure the win for Ottawa.
  • Never in doubt.
  • I certainly never doubted them for a moment. Nope, not me.

The Week Ahead

  • There’s just one game this week, as Ottawa takes a long break before heading to Boston on Saturday for a 6pm start.
  • The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet, as well as the PWHL YouTube channel.
  • Boston leads the season series 2-1 right now, and this is an especially important matchup, as the two teams are battling for a playoff spot.
  • The league has split cleanly into two tiers, with Montreal, Toronto and Minnesota all fighting it out for first place, as Ottawa, Boston and New York compete for that final playoff spot. It adds a bit of intrigue to the end of the season.
  • Ottawa is currently tied with Boston, but with one more game played. If Minnesota beats them on Wednesday, Saturday’s matchup could be huge.
  • This will be another doubleheader (kind of) for Sens fans, but the other way around from what we usually see, as the Sens will play at 12:30, and PWHL Ottawa will play later.

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