MYHockey News

Pulse of the PWHL - Week 9

By Scott Lowe –

With Week 9 of the inaugural Professional Women’s Hockey League season behind us, a quick glance at the standings indicates that the top half of the league’s six teams might finally be separating itself from the bottom half.

And that separation comes just as the league announced its final plans for the postseason during a midseason state-of-the-league video conference call held by PWHL Senior VP of Hockey Operations Jayna Hefford and PWHL Advisory Board member Stan Kasten.

The top-four teams in the regular-season standings will qualify for the PWHL Playoffs, which will begin in May. Whichever team finishes first can choose between the third- and fourth-place teams for it’s semifinal opponent. The semifinals and finals will be best-of-five formats.

In conjunction with the playoff-format announcement, the league presented how it will determine which team receives the top draft pick in the June PWHL Draft. To ensure that teams remain competitive throughout the season, the bottom two teams will begin accumulating draft-order points as soon as they are eliminated from postseason contention. The team that performs best over that final stretch will get the top pick.

So while fans of the PWHL might be somewhat disappointed to see that some teams are separating themselves, if the standings hold true through the end of the regular season there should be an exciting race for both the top seed and the final playoff berth. And then, of course, there will be a race for the top draft position.

It makes you wonder why no league previously has tried this type of approach to determining the draft order. .

A look at the standings prior to Tuesday’s game between Minnesota and Ottawa in St. Paul paints a pretty clear picture of what the playoff race figures to look like. Thanks to seven-consecutive wins Toronto (6 regulation and 3 OT wins) has 24 points, six more than fourth-place Boston (4 regulation and 2 OT wins) while having played one more game. Boston is two points in front of fifth-place Ottawa (4 regulation wins) and sixth-place New York New York (2 regulation and 4 OT wins), who each have 16 points. 

At the top of the standings, just three points separate first-place Montreal and third-place Toronto. Montreal (6 regulation and 3 OT wins) has 27 points, followed by Minnesota (6 regulation and 2 OT wins) with 25 and Toronto with 24. Montreal and Boston have played 15 games, while Minnesota has played 14. 

Each PWHL team plays 24 regular-season games. Despite the standings separation, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the top and bottom teams cluster back together by season’s end.

No team has better than a plus-5 goal differential for the season, while last-place New York’s differential is just minus-2. Fifth-place Ottawa has the worst goal differential at minus-4 while tying for the league lead in goals scored with Toronto at 37. Second-place Minnesota’s is just plus-1 and is tied with New York with 32 goals allowed, two behind first-place Montreal for fewest in the league.

The regular season continues through March 25 before taking another international competition break as players prepare for the April Women’s World Championship in Utica, N.Y. Play resumes on April 19 and runs through May 5, with the playoffs starting shortly thereafter.


More From the Midseason Video Call

Team nicknames and logos are in the league’s future plans, but no definitive timetable was announced … USA Hockey and Hockey Canada agreed to not require a six-month residency for national-team players to prepare for the 2026 Milan Winter Olympics so as not to interfere with the start of that year’s PWHL season … The league is not planning on expanding for the 2024-25 season but will hold more neutral-site games to continue testing potential future markets. Neutral-market games will be played this year in Pittsburgh and Detroit March 17.


New Faces in New Places

Ottawa signed forward Sammy Davis to a Standard Player Agreement. She joins the team after spending most of the year on Boston’s Reserve Player List. Ottawa also recently moved forward Kirstin Della Rovere to Long Term Injured Reserve … Minnesota moved Lauren Bench to its Reserve Player List to activate Taylor Heise from LTIR … Montreal signed Mélodie Daoust to a 10-Day Standard Player Agreement and signed Alexandra Poznikoff to a 1-year Standard Player Agreement while moving Kennedy Marchment to LTIR.


Saturday Night’s All Right

Saturday’s game between Ottawa and Toronto at the Arena at TD Place in Ottawa drew 8,447 fans, the third sellout in that city this year and the most-attended game of the season there. The home fans went home disappointed, however, as Toronto skated out of town with a 5-2 victory. Five different players scored goals for the visitors, led by Natalie Spooner who had a goal and an assist. Renata Fast, Sarah Nurse and Victory Bach dished out two assists each, and Kristen Campbell made 23 saves. Spooner, Gabbie Hughes and Campbell were the game’s three stars.


Start Spreading the News

New York played in front of it’s largest home crowd of the year Sunday as nearly 4,500 fans turned out to see the home team fall to Minnesota, 2-0. The visitors got second-period goals from Kelley Pannek and Abby Boreen, and Maddie Rooney stopped all 29 shots she faced to earn the shutout. Rooney, Pannek and Maggie Flaherty were named the game’s three stars. Through 42 games thus far the PWHL has drawn 219,856 spectators, an average of better than 5,200 per game.


Toronto’s A Tough Out

Saturday’s 5-2 win at Ottawa extended Toronto’s winning streak to seven games, a stretch that includes regulation wins over every other team in the league. The streak also includes a 4-3 overtime road win against Minnesota at Mariucci Arena Feb. 27. Sarah Nurse netted her second goal of the game and fourth of the season 3:46 into overtime to give Toronto the win that night. The teams traded goals in each period, with Sopie Jaques knotting the score at 3 with 22 seconds left in regulation. Jaques also scored twice for the hosts, with Kendall Coyne Schofield dishing out a pair of assists. Emma Maltais and Renata Fast had two helpers apiece for Toronto, while Kristen Campbell earned the win in goal with 27 saves. Nurse, Jaques and Schofield were tabbed as the game’s three stars.


Can’t Beat Chuli

Montreal Goalie Elaine Chuli improved her record to 5-0 in Saturday’s 3-1 home win against Boston at Verdun Auditorium. Chuli stopped 30 of the 31 shots she faced that night, only surrendering a goal to one of the all-time greats in Hilary Knight. Erin Ambrose, Mélodie Daoust and Marie-Philip Poulin scored for Montreal. Daoust, Poulin and Chuli were selected as the three stars of the game. Daoust scored in her first game with Montreal after signing a 10-Day Standard Player Agreement.


Wrapping it Up

The other PWHL game last week saw Ottawa hand New York a 4-2 setback at home in front of nearly 7,000 fans Wednesday at TD Place. Ottawa got goals from Gabbie Hughes and Lexie Adzija in the game’s final five minutes to secure the victory. Adzija’s tally into an empty net with four seconds left iced it for Ottawa. Savannah Harmon and Fanni Garát-Gasparics scored Ottawa’s other goals, while Chloe Aurard netted her first PWHL goal for New York to go along with Jaime Bourbonnais’s tally. Emerance Maschmeyer stopped 24 shots to pick up the win in goal. Hughes, Harmon and Garát-Gasparics were the three stars of the game.


Three Stars of the Week

  1. Sarah Nurse – Toronto C
  2. Sophie Jaques – Minnesota D
  3. Renata Fast – Toronto D

Nurse helped Toronto push its winning streak to seven games by scoring twice, including the OT GWG, in a win against Minnesota Feb. 27 before dishing out two assists vs. Ottawa March 2. Her four points gave her 10 on the season, good for sixth place in the PWHL scoring race.

Jaques notched three points in two games, including her first professional goal Feb. 27. She added her second of the night and the season with 22 seconds left in regulation that night to force overtime. Jaques also had an assist on March 3, giving her four points on the season.

Fast dished out four helpers in Week 9 to lead the PWHL in assists as Toronto won twice and extended its winning streak to seven. She had multiple assists in both games and now is tied for fourth in scoring among league blue-liners with seven points. Fast also ranks third in assists among PWHL defenders with six, one behind the co-leaders.


Standings Through March 5

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 6W 3OTW 3OTL 2L – 27 pts
  2. Minnesota 6W 3OTW 3OTL 4L – 27 pts
  3. Toronto 6W 3OTW 5L – 24 pts
  4. Boston 4W 2OTW 2OTL 5L – 18 pts
  5. Ottawa 4W 4OTL 6L – 17 pts
  6. New York 2W 4OTW 2OTL 6L – 16 pts


Goals Leaders

Natalie Spooner TOR – 11

Alex Carpenter NY – 8

Marie-Philip Poulin MON – 7

Grace Zumwinkle MIN – 7

Katerina Mrázová OTT – 6


Assist Leaders

Alina Müller BOS – 9

Kelly Pannek MIN – 9

Tereza Vanišová MON – 8

Alex Carpenter NY – 8

Emma Maltais TOR – 8


Points Leaders

Alex Carpenter NY – 16

Marie-Philip Poulin MON – 15

Natalie Spooner TOR – 13

Grace Zumwinkle MIN – 13

Alina Müller BOS – 11


Save Percentage Leaders

Elaine Chuli MTL – .962

Corinne Schroeder NY – .949

Aerin Frankel BOS – .937

Nicole Hensley MIN – .930

Ann-Renée Desbiens MON – .923


Week 10 Schedule & Viewing Guide

Week 10 of the inaugural PWHL season got underway Tuesday, with Minnesota recording a 4-3 shootout win against Ottawa.

Here is a look at the rest of the Week 10 schedule with viewing information: 

Wednesday, March 6
7:00 p.m. ET – Boston at Toronto
TV: TSN4/5, Bally Sports North
Streaming: NESN 360, YouTube

7:00 p.m. ET – Montreal at New York
Streaming: Women’s Sports Network, TSN+, YouTube
French: ICI TOU.TV

Friday, March 8
7:00 p.m. ET – Montréal at Toronto
TV: Sportsnet Ontario, East, West, Pacific, NESN+
Streaming: Sportsnet+, YouTube
French: ICI TOU.TV

Sunday, March 10
3:30 p.m. ET – New York at Boston
TV: NESN, MSG/MSGHD/MSG2, Bally Sports North
Streaming: CBC Gem, YouTube

4:00 p.m. ET – Ottawa at Montréal
TV: Sportsnet Ontario, East, Pacific
Streaming: Sportsnet+, YouTube
French: ICI TOU.TV

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


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