MYHockey News

Pulse of the PWHL - Week 6

By Scott Lowe – 

And on the sixth week, they rested.

Well, some of them did.

Week 6 of the inaugural Professional Women’s Hockey League season was a week of rest for many of the players as the league scheduled a 10-day break to allow the national teams from the United States and Canada to play the final three games of their annual Rivalry Series.

But when you have a professional league featuring the best players in the world – and the planet’s top-two national teams are playing each other – instead of resting, many of the players paricipated in three hard-fought battles against their fiercest rival.

A total of 53 PWHL players competed in the 2023-24 seven-game Rivalry Series, including 49 for the last three contests Feb. 7 and 9 in Saskatoon and Regina, Saskatchewan, respectively, and Feb. 11 in St. Paul, Minn. Twenty-five PWHL players donned the red-white and blue, while 24 others wore the maple leaf for the most recent tilts.

Toronto led all teams with 10 players on the February Rivalry Series rosters. Minnesota placed nine on the teams, while eight players from Boston, New York and Ottawa and six from Montreal competed.

Other PWHL players represented their countries in the Euro Hockey Tour in Czechia and the Four Nations Tournament in Slovakia.

PWHL players who competed in the February Rivalry Series games included:



Canada (3)
Jessica DiGirolamo (D)
Jamie Lee Rattray (F)
Sophie Shirley (F)

United States (5)
Emily Brown (D)
Aerin Frankel (G)
Taylor Girard (F)
Megan Keller (D)
Hilary Knight (F) 



United States (9)
Natalie Buchbinder (D)
Kendall Coyne Schofield (F)
Clair DeGeorge (F)
Maggie Flaherty (D)
Brittyn Fleming (F)
Taylor Heise (F)
Nicole Hensley (G)
Kelly Pannek (F)
Grace Zumwinkle (F)



Canada (4)
Erin Ambrose (D)
Ann-Renée Desbiens (G)
Marie-Philip Poulin (F)
Laura Stacey (F)

United States (2)
Madison Bizal (D)
Maureen Murphy (F)



Canada (5)
Jaime Bourbonnais (D)
Jessie Eldridge (F)
Ella Shelton (D)
Corinne Schroeder (G)
Micah Zandee-Hart (D)

United States (3)
Alex Carpenter (F)
Abbey Levy (G)
Abby Roque (F)



Canada (4)
Ashton Bell (D)
Emily Clark (F)
Brianne Jenner (F)
Emerance Maschmeyer (G)

United States (4)
Becca Gilmore (F)
Savannah Harmon (D)
Gabbie Hughes (F)
Hayley Scamurra (F)



Canada (8)
Victoria Bach (F)
Maggie Connors (F)
Renata Fast (D)
Jocelyne Larocque (D)
Emma Maltais (F)
Sarah Nurse (F)
Natalie Spooner (F)
Blayre Turnbull (F)

United States (2)
Jesse Compher (F)
Kali Flanagan (D)


Setting the Scene

The United States took a 3-1 series lead into the February matchups thanks to a 3-1 Nov. 9 win in Tempe, Ariz., a 5-2 victory Nov. 11 in Los Angeles and a 3-2 overtime decision Dec. 14 in Kitchener, Ontario. Canada’s lone victory was a 3-2 shootout win Dec. 16 in Sarnia, Ontario. Prior to the most recent games, the U.S. held a slim 13-12 all-time lead in Rivalry Series contests.

That lead is history, however, as the Canadians took it to their southern neighbors last week, skating away with three-straight wins to capture this year’s series, 4-3, and take a 15-13 series lead overall.

Canada won the deciding game Sunday, 6-1, at Xcel Energy Center after earning a 4-2 victory in Saskatoon and taking a 3-0 decision in Regina. Canada has won the final four contests of the series each of the last two years.


Scoring in Saskatoon

The U.S. led, 2-1, late in the second period Feb. 7, but Canada rallied for three third-period goals to take Game 6 of the Rivalry Series, 4-2, at SaskTel Center. The Canadians tied it at 8:31 of the final frame on Ashton Bell’s one-timer, and Renata Fast put Canada in front, 3-2, less than three minutes later. Laura Stacey’s empty-net goal in the final minute iced the win. Gabbie Hughes and Grace Zumwinkle scored for the Americans, but Ann-Renée Desbiens was strong enough in goal to secure the win for Canada.


Seeing Red in Regina

After a hard-fought but scoreless opening 40 minutes Feb. 9 at the Brandt Center in Regina, Natalie Spooner, Emily Clark and Sarah Nurse tallied for Canada in the third period to send the Rivalry Series back to Minnesota tied at three games apiece. The U.S. held a 27-22 shots advantage but could not beat Canadian netminder Emerance Maschmeyer, who recorded the shutout.


Xcellent Day for Canada

Canada scored the game’s first three and last three goals sandwiched around a Grace Zumwinkle tally Feb. 11 at the Xcel Center to roll to its fourth-straight victory and capture the 2023-24 Rivalry Series, four games to three. Emma Maltais capped the scoring for Canada with two goals, including a short-handed marker, in the third period. Natalie Spooner buried her second of the game with 1:33 left in the middle frame, with Ashton Bell and Marie-Philip Poulin recording Canada’s other two goals. Sarah Nurse dished out three assists for the Canadians, while Brianne Jenner and Erin Ambrose each added a pair of helpers. Spooner and Maltais each added an assist to finish with three points, and Ann-Renée Desbiens made 24 saves to earn the win in goal.


The Final Tally

Boston’s Hilary Knight of the United States and Toronto’s Natalie Spooner of Canada tied for the Rivalry Series scoring lead with six points apiece. Spooner got her points on three goals and three assists, while Knight recorded 2-4-6. Canada’s Brianne Jenner (Ottawa), Emma Maltais (Toronto) and Laura Stacey (Montreal) each had five points. Spooner tied U.S. forwards Alex Carpenter (New York) and Gabbie Hughes (Ottawa) for the series lead in goals with three. Knight and teammate Kelly Pannek (Minnesota) tied Canada’s Sarah Nurse (Toronto) and Erin Ambrose (Montreal) for the lead in assists with four. In goal, Canadians Emerance Maschmeyer (Ottawa) and Ann-Renée Desbiens (Montreal) posted goals-against averages of 1.50 and 1.96, respectively, to lead the way. Boston’s Aerin Frankel (1.99 GAA) and Minnesota’s Nicole Hensley (2.79 GAA) played the majority of the minutes in goal for the U.S. Maschmeyer posted the top save percentage with a .944 mark, while Frankel was second at .935.


Spanning the Globe

Boston’s Susanna Tapani helped lead Finland to the most standings points (10) at the Euro Hockey Tour Feb. 7-11 in Czechia. Finland beat Czechia, Germany and Switzerland but fell, 2-1, in a shootout against Sweden. Tapani’s Boston teammate Emma Söderberg stood tall in the shootout to lead the Swedes to victory. Tereza Vanišová of Montreal had two goals and six assists, while Katerina Mrāzovā of Ottawa added 4-2-6 for the host nation.

Fanni Garãt-Gasparics of Ottawa netted three goals in as many games to lead Hungary to a first-place finish at the Four Nations Tournament Feb. 8-10 in Solvakia. She also buried the shootout winner in a 4-3 win over the hosts.


Trading Places

The first trade in PWHL history was completed during the February break. Boston received defender Abby Cook and forward Susanna Tapani from Minnesota for defender Sophie Jaques. The 2024 trade deadline is March 17.


Week 7 Schedule & Viewing Guide

Wednesday, February 14
7:00 p.m. ET – Toronto at Boston
Linear TV: NESN, TSN1/4
Streaming: YouTube

8:00 p.m. ET – Ottawa at Minnesota
TV: Bally Sports North Extra
Streaming: TSN+, YouTube

Friday, February 16
7:00 p.m. ET – Montréal at Toronto
Streaming: YouTube
French: RDS

Saturday, February 17
2:00 p.m. ET – Minnesota at Ottawa
TV: Sportsnet 360, Bally Sports North
Streaming: Sportsnet+, YouTube

4:00 p.m. ET – New York at Boston
Streaming: CBC Gem, YouTube

Sunday, February 18
1:00 p.m. ET – Minnesota at Montréal
TV: Sportsnet ONE, Bally Sports North
Streaming: Sportsnet+, YouTube
French: RDS


Standings Through Week 6

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.

  1. Montreal 3W 3OTW 1L 1OTL 1SOL – 17 pts
  2. Minnesota 3W 2OTW 2OTL – 15 pts
  3. Boston 2W 2OTW 1OTL 2L – 11 pts
  4. Toronto 3W 1SOW 5L – 11 pts
  5. New York 2W 2OTW 1OTL 4L – 11 pts
  6. Ottawa 2W 4OTL 1L – 10 pts


Goal Leaders

Natalie Spooner TOR – 7

Marie-Philip Poulin MON – 6

Grace Zumwinkle MIN – 6

Alex Carpenter NY – 5

Laura Stacey MON – 5


Assist Leaders

Alina Müller BOS – 7

Maureen Murphy MON – 7

Alex Carpenter NY – 6

Rebecca Leslie TOR – 6


Points Leaders

Alex Carpenter NY – 11

Marie-Philip Poulin MON – 9

Alina Müller BOS – 9

Ella Shelton NY – 9

Natalie Spooner TOR – 8


Save Percentage Leaders

Elaine Chuli MON – .962

Corinne Schroeder NY – .943

Nicole Hensley MIN – .934

Ann-Renée Desbiens MTL – .930

Aerin Frankel BOS – .927

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