MYHockey News

Pulse of the PWHL - Week 4

Photo: Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press


By Scott Lowe – 

Another week, another attendance record. 

That’s right, another women’s professional hockey attendance record was set during Week 4 of the Professional Women’s Hockey League’s inaugural season. On Saturday, Jan. 27 at Place Bell, 8,646 fans turned out to see Ottawa take on host Montreal, surpassing the record for attendance at a pro women’s hockey game in Canada that had been set Jan. 2 when the same two teams met at TD Place in Ottawa.

Saturday’s turnout marked the third time a professional women’s hockey attendance record had been set during this historic 2024 PWHL campaign. In addition to the two Canadian records, the worldwide attendance record was set Jan. 6 when Minnesota hosted Montreal in front of 13,316 spectators at Xcel Energy Center. 

Here is a closer look at Week 4 as we present the latest edition of Pulse of the PWHL:


Give the People What They Want

The Ottawa and Montreal players didn’t disappoint Saturday’s record-breaking crowd, as the two teams battled into overtime before the hosts won, 2-1.

Maureen Murphy’s first goal of the season 3:30 into the extra session sent the crowd into a frenzy and made a winner out of goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens, who stopped 43 of the 44 shots she faced. In a game that had a little bit of everything, Ottawa’s Emerance Maschmeyer (22 saves) also stopped Laura Stacey’s second-period penalty shot to prevent Montreal from pushing its lead to 2-0.

Stacey had opened the scoring with her fourth goal of the season from Erin Ambrose 13:37 into the opening frame. Hayley Scamurra netted her second of the year to tie it at 6:10 of the third, with assists going to Brianne Jenner and Savannah Harmon.

Murphy earned first-star honors, with Desbiens and Stacey being named the game’s second and third stars.


Numbers Don’t Lie

While the single-game attendance records have generated a great deal of positive publicity for the PWHL, those three games don’t do justice to the crowds that have packed league arenas on a regular basis. Through 22 contests, the league has drawn 106,658 spectators, an average of nearly 5,000 per game.

The most encouraging sign about the attendance is that it shows no signs of tapering off anytime soon.

There is no evidence that the large early crowds solely are a result of people’s curiosity or the general excitement surrounding the first few weeks of the inaugural season. Instead, the league seems to be building a solid following that is turning out on a regular basis.

In Week 4 alone, the PWHL drew more than 34,000 fans to its seven games, an average of about 4,900 per game.

“Thank you to all of the fans for a great start to our season,” Minnesota and longtime Team USA defender Lee Stecklein said in a recent story on the PWHL website. “I am blown away by the support, and I’m excited to keep building on it.”


The Product is Selling Itself

The speed, skill, intensity and excitement of the PWHL’s games – combined with the family-friendly atmosphere – keeps fans on the edge of their seats and coming back for more. The final three games of Week 4 were decided in overtime, bringing the total number of games needing overtime or a shootout to determine a winner to eight. That’s 36 percent of the PWHL’s eight games to date.

Every team has played in at least one game that required overtime, and there has been one contest decided by a shootout.

Minnesota, Montreal and Boston each have recorded two overtime wins, while Minnesota also has suffered two losses in extra time. Montreal has an OT loss and a shootout loss, while Ottawa has three overtime setbacks. New York is 1-1 in games decided during the extra period, and Toronto has one shootout win.


These week’s overtime heroes included:


Knight in Shining Armor

It took a little while for international hockey’s all-time scoring leader to find the back on the net in PWHL play, but when she did it was predictably in clutch and dramatic fashion. Longtime USA Hockey superstar Hilary Knight potted her first goal of the season 52 seconds into overtime Jan. 27 to lift Boston to a 4-3 victory against Minnesota at Tsongas Center in Lowell, Mass.

Knight sent the 4,058 fans in attendance home with smiles on their faces after earlier assisting on Alina Müller’s second goal of the season, which capped off a four-goal first period and put the hosts in front, 3-1. Minnesota rallied to tie the game on Grace Zumwinkle’s late second-period goal and Kendall Coyne Schofield’s tally in with 53 seconds left in regulation. Zumwinkle, who buried her sixth goal of the season, assisted on the Coyne Schofield marker, while Lee Stecklein picked up helpers on both goals of the rally to bring her season total to six assists. 

Minnesota’s Brittyn Fleming and Boston’s Kaleigh Fratkin each picked up their first goals of the season, and Emma Söderberg stopped 18 shots to earn the win in goal. Knight, Müller and Zumwinkle were the game’s three stars.


Like a Runaway Train

The momentum generated during the first four weeks of the inaugural PWHL season only figures to continue building throughout this week and weekend. There are no league games scheduled for Week 5 until the weekend, but there’s a good reason for that. 

Twenty-four PWHL players will showcase their skills as part of the National Hockey League’s All-Star Weekend in Toronto. The PWHL 3-on-3 Showcase will be the closing event of All-Star Thursday Feb. 1 at Scotiabank Arena.

Players will be divided into two teams for the Showcase, with each roster consisting of 12 skaters and two goalies. Players representing each of the PWHL’s six teams will participate in the 20-minute game. The teams are named in honor of Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss, two members of the PWHL Advisory Board and longtime advocates for equality in women’s sports. 

Team King will be coached by PWHL Special Advisor Cassie Campbell-Pascall, a broadcaster and former Canadian Olympic team captain. Former USA Olympic captain Meghan Dugan will be behind the bench for Team Kloss.


Here are the rosters for the PWHL 3-on-3 Showcase: 

Team King

26 Kendall Coyne Schofield, Minnesota (F)
21 Hilary Knight, Boston (F)
11 Alina Müller, Boston (F)
12 Kelly Pannek, Minnesota (F)
29 Marie-Philip Poulin, Montreal (F)
40 Blayre Turnbull, Toronto (F)
15 Savannah Harmon, Ottawa (D)
Megan Keller, Boston (D)
17 Ella Shelton, New York (D)
Lee Stecklein, Minnesota (D)
35 Ann-Renée Desbiens, Montreal (G)
31 Aerin Frankel, Boston (G)


Team Kloss

25 Alex Carpenter, New York (F)
26 Emily Clark, Ottawa (F)
27 Taylor Heise, Minnesota (F)
19 Brianne Jenner, Ottawa (F)
20 Sarah Nurse, Toronto (F)
11 Abby Roque, New York (F)
Laura Stacey, Montreal (F)
23 Erin Ambrose, Montreal (D)
14 Renata Fast, Toronto (D)
Jocelyne Larocque, Toronto (D)
29 Nicole Hensley, Minnesota (G)
38 Emerance Maschmeyer, Ottawa (G)


“Three-on-three hockey is always fun,” Ottawa captain and Team Canada veteran Brianne Jenner said on the PWHL website. “Three-on-three hockey is the perfect way to showcase our creativity. People who tune in to watch us are going to see a lot of great goals. At least, that’s what I hope, because we’ve got some really good goalies.”

Emerance Maschmeyer, Jenner’s Ottawa and Team Canada teammate, professed a slightly different point of view.

“I think this three-on-three game is going to be a lot of fun,” she said. “Some people will tell you that it’s going to generate tons of great scoring chances. Me, I dare to believe that those scoring chances will create opportunities to make spectacular saves.”


How to watch the PWHL 3-on-3 Showcase:

Thursday, February 1, 2024
8:00 p.m. ET – Canadian Tire PWHL 3-on-3 Showcase
Television: Sportsnet
Streaming: Sportsnet+, ESPN+
French: TVA Sports


PWHL Three Stars of the Week

  1. Alina Müller – Boston (C)
  2. Brianne Jenner – Ottawa (C)
  3. Natalie Spooner – Toronto (RW)

After earning third-star honors for Week 3, Müller stepped her game up another notch by leading all PWHL players in scoring in Week 4 to earn first-star recognition. She recorded two goals and two assists in two games, with her two helpers contributing to game-winning goals. Müller has eight points in her last four games.

Jenner notched her first three points of the season, including her first PWHL goal. She netted the game-winning goal in a 3-1 win vs. Toronto Jan. 23 then added a pair of assists to extend her points streak to three games. Jenner won 73 percent of her faceoffs vs. Boston and 61 percent of her draws in three game sduring the week.

Spooner scored both Toronto goals in a win vs. New York, her team’s first on home ice this season. She leads the team in scoring and ranks third in the league with five goals.


Standings Through Week 4

The PWHL standings are based on a three-point system in which teams are awarded three points for a win, two points for an overtime or shootout win, one point for an overtime or shootout lost and no points for a regulation loss.


Here is a look at the standings through Week 4:

  1. Minnesota 3RW 2OTW 2OTL – 15 pts
  2. Montreal 3RW 2OTW 1L 1OTL 1SOL – 15 pts
  3. Boston 2RW 2OTW 2L – 10 pts
  4. Ottawa 2RW 3OTL – 9 pts
  5. New York 2RW 1OTW 1OTL 4L – 9 pts
  6. Toronto 2RW 1SOW 5L – 8 pts


Goal Leaders

Marie-Philip Poulin MON – 6

Grace Zumwinkle MIN – 6

Natalie Spooner TOR – 5

Jessie Eldridge NY – 4

Laura Stacey MTL – 4


Assist Leaders

Alina Müller BOS – 7

Alex Carpenter NY – 6

Maureen Murphy MON – 6

Rebecca Leslie TOR – 6


Points Leaders

Alex Carpenter NY – 9

Alina Müller BOS – 9

Grace Zumwinkle MIN – 8

Ella Shelton NY – 8

Marie-Philip Poulin MON - 7


Save Percentage Leaders

Elaine Chuli MON – .948

Nicole Hensley MIN – .948

Corinne Schroeder NY – .946

Ann-Renée Desbiens MTL – .930

Aerin Frankel BOS – .925


Week 5 PWHL Schedule & Viewing Guide

Saturday, February 3, 2024
12:00 p.m. ET ­– Minnesota at Toronto

Television: CBC, Bally Sports North
Streaming: CBC Gem, YouTube

Sunday, February 4, 2024
1:00 p.m. ET – New York at Ottawa
Linear TV: Sportsnet East/Ontario/West/Pacific, MSG/MSGHD
Streaming: Sportsnet+, YouTube

3:30 p.m. ET – Montreal at Boston
Television: NESN, TSN3/5
Streaming: YouTube
French: RDS


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