MYHockey News

Pulse of the PWHL - Week 8

By Scott Lowe –

While Week 8 of the inaugural Professional Women’s Hockey League season didn’t include any attendance records being set (for a change), the league continued the momentum created during the first half of the campaign as the stretch run got underway.

Sunday’s game at the XCEL Energy Center between Minnesota and Boston drew the third-largest crowd of the season as 10,186 turned out. That continued a trend of strong attendance that began right from the drop of the puck Jan. 1 and has continued into the season’s second half.

Thirteen of the league’s first 36 games were sellouts, with Toronto playing in front of a full building in all seven of its home games, Montreal recording four sellouts and Ottawa packing its building twice. Twice that number of games either were sold out or played in front of crowds of 5,000 or more. Six games have been played in front of between 8,318 and 19,285 fans, and the official total attendance for the first half of Season 1 was 183,925, an average of 5,109 per game.

The PWHL established four women’s hockey attendance records during the first half of play, including the all-time women’s hockey record of 19,285 for the “Battle on Bay Street” between Montreal and Toronto Feb. 16 at Scotiabank Arena.

More than 22,000 spectators turned out to watch the six Week 8 PWHL games, allowing the league to eclipse the 200,000 mark in total attendance.


More Hockey for the Buck

The PWHL’s trend of one-goal thrillers continued in Week 8, with two of the league’s six matchups requiring overtime and a shootout to decide a winner. New York defeated Montreal, 3-2, at home Feb. 21 before dropping a 2-1 shootout decision on the road at Toronto Feb. 23. Nineteen of the league’s last 29 contests have been decided by a single goal.

In the Feb. 21 New York win, the hosts jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead on Alex Carpenter’s seventh and eighth goals of the season, but Laura Stacey and Maureen Murphy answered in the second and third periods, respectively, to force overtime and ultimately a shootout.

New York goaltender Abigail Levy stopped all four Montreal shootout attempts, with Abby Roque and Carpenter burying their attempts to secure the victory. Roque also assisted on both Carpenter goals, and Levy finished with 21 saves.

Carpenter, Montreal’s Tereza Vanišová and Levy were named the game’s three stars. The win was New York’s first on home ice this season.

New York came up on the short end of a 2-1 shootout decision at Toronto Feb. 23 despite getting a goal to force overtime with eight seconds left in regulation from defender Ella Shelton. Emma Maltais had broken a scoreless tie seven minutes before Shelton knotted the score.

This time it was New York’s turn to go 0-for-4 in the shootout as Kristen Campbell turned aside every attempt to earn the win after stopping 27 shots during the game’s first 65 minutes. Natalie Spooner scored on both of her shootout attempts to lift the hosts the victory.

Campbell, Spooner and Shelton were the game’s three stars.


Broadcast News

The number of viewers tuning into PWHL games via webstreams on the league’s YouTube channel and traditional network television broadcasts has been even more impressive than the number of people attending games in person. Streams of the league’s first 37 contests generated more than 1.3 million unique views and nearly 28 million impressions, and viewer demand in the United States has caused out-of-market regional sports networks in Detroit, Florida, Ohio, San Diego, Southern California, the Southeast, the West Coast and Wisconsin to air PWHL games for their viewers. U.S. Markets such as Pittsburgh and Seattle have made it clear that they would like to be considered for franchises if the PWHL expands in the near future.


Tricks Aren’t Just for Kids

The league’s oldest and youngest players scored their first career PWHL goals during Week 8, which brought the number of players who had scored goals to 72. Ottawa’s Akane Shiga, who is just 22, scored her first goal Feb.24, while 36-year-old Gigi Marvin netted her first for Boston in a 2-0 win at Minnesota Feb. 25.

Shiga’s goal in a 6-3 loss at Montreal also marked the first PWHL goal by a Japanese player and brought the number of countries producing goal-scorers to eight. Shiga tied the game at 1 midway through the first period after Tereza Vanišová had opened the scoring 1:33 earlier.

Claire Dalton took over from that point on, recording the PWHL’s fifth hat trick over the course of the second and third periods as the hosts pulled away. Ann-Sophie Bettez and Maureen Murphy also scored for Montreal, with Ann-Renée Desbiens making 28 saves to earn the win in goal. Marie-Philip Poulin contributed three assists for the winners, with Laura Stacey adding a pair of helpers.

Daryl Watts and Katerina Mrázová scored the other Ottawa goals and also had one assist each. Dalton, Poulin and Erin Ambrose were the three stars of the game. The nine goals scored represented the league’s highest single-game total of the season.

Marvin’s goal, into an empty net with eight seconds left in regulation, sealed a big road win for Boston Feb. 25. Theresa Schafzahl buried what turned out to be the game-winner at 8:39 of the second period, with Susanne Tapani and Jamie Lee Rattray assisting.

Aerin Frankel made 27 saves to record the shutout and earn first-star honors. Schafzahl and Minnesota goalie Nicole Hensley were the other two stars. Hensley stopped 21 of the 22 shots she faced.


Home and Home for Real

Ottawa and Boston opened Week 8 by splitting a pair of games against each other in Boston. Ottawa broke a 2-2 tie with goals late in the second and third periods by Gabbie Hughes and Brianne Jenner to earn a 4-2 victory Feb. 19. Boston rebounded two days later with three different players – Loren Gabel, Susanna Tapani and Hilary Knight – scoring in a 3-1 win that was a 1-1 tie after the opening 20 minutes.

Katerina Mrázová scored the lone Ottawa goal, while Boston’s Aerin Frankel made 29 saves to earn the win in goal in the second contest. Knight, Tapani and Mrázová were the game’s three stars.

Hughes finished with two goals in the Feb. 19 Ottawa win, and Daryl Watts had the victors’ other goal. Emily Clark dished out a pair of assists for Ottawa, and Emerance Maschmeyer made 30 saves to record the win in goal. Taylor Girard and Abby Cook scored for Boston.


Three Stars of the Week

  1. Claire Dalton – Montreal RW
  2. Daryl Watts – Ottawa LW
  3. Aerin Frankel – Boston G

Dalton recorded the league’s fifth hat trick Feb. 24 vs. Ottawa to earn top billing for the week. Her shorthanded tally in that contest proved to be the game-winner as Montreal moved into first place. She ranks third on the team in goals.

Watts scored four points in three games during Week 8, notching two goals and two assists. She recorded her first multi-point game of the season and had 11 shots on goal. Her six points are tied for second on the team.  

Frankel’s play in goal helped her team move up two places in the standings. She allowed four goals in three starts for a goals-against average of 1.35 and a .961 save percentage. Frankel had a 41-save shutout in a 2-0 win at Minnesota and ranks third in the PWHL in GAA at 1.72 and save percentage at .940.


Standings Through Feb. 27

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 5W 3OTW 3OTL 2L – 24 pts
  2. Minnesota 5W 2OTW 3OTL 4L – 22 pts
  3. Toronto 5W 3OTW 5L – 21 pts
  4. Boston 4W 2OTW 2OTL 4L – 18 pts
  5. New York 2W 4OTW 2OTL 4L – 16 pts
  6. Ottawa 3W 4OTL 5L – 13 pts


Goal Leaders

Natalie Spooner TOR – 10

Alex Carpenter NY – 8

Grace Zumwinkle MIN – 7

Marie-Philip Poulin MON – 6

Laura Stacey MON – 6


Assist Leaders

Alina Müller BOS – 8

Tereza Vanišová MTL – 8

Kelly Pannek MIN – 8

Maureen Murphy MTL – 7

Alex Carpenter NY – 7

Megan Keller BOS – 6


Points Leaders

Alex Carpenter NY – 15

Marie-Philip Poulin MON – 12

Natalie Spooner TOR – 11

Grace Zumwinkle MIN – 10

Ella Shelton MIN – 10

Megan Keller BOS – 9


Save Percentage Leaders

Elaine Chuli MON – .961

Corinne Schroeder NY – .949

Nicole Hensley MIN – .930

Ann-Renée Desbiens MTL – .923


Week 9 Schedule & Viewing Guide

Week 9 of the inaugural PWHL season got underway Tuesday, with Toronto earning a 4-3 overtime win at Minnesota.

Here is a look at the rest of the Week 9 schedule with viewing information:


Tuesday, Feb. 27
8:00 p.m. EST – Toronto at Minnesota
Streaming: Bally Sports North Digital, CBC Gem, YouTube


Wednesday, Feb. 28
7:00 p.m. EST – New York at Ottawa
Streaming: Women’s Sports Network, YouTube


Saturday, March 2
3:30 p.m. EST – Toronto at Ottawa
Streaming: CBC Gem, YouTube

4:00 p.m. EST – Boston at Montréal
TV: NESN, Sportsnet Pittsburgh
Streaming: CBC Gem, YouTube
French: RDS


Sunday, March 3  
12:30 p.m. EST – Minnesota at New York
TV: MSGSNHD/Z1-Z2, Bally Sports North, TSN4/5, NESN+
Streaming: YouTube


To find out more about the PWHL, check out the PWHL Website.

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