MYHockey News

Pulse of the PWHL - The Push for the Playoffs Starts Now

By Scott Lowe –

The first-ever push for the Professional Women’s Hockey League Playoffs begins Thursday as 31 league players report back to work after earning medals at the recently completed International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship in Utica, N.Y.

Nineteen of those medals are gold thanks to Canada’s thrilling 6-5 overtime victory over the United States Sunday in the championship game. Eleven players return to action with silver medals, having ended up on the losing side of that result, with one player who represented Finland having earned bronze.

But it’s back to work now with the WWC in the rearview mirror as players who fought together for the ultimate women’s hockey prize return to their PWHL clubs to possibly face each other with another championship and more hardware on the line.

The 24-inch, 35-pound Walter Cup, recently introduced as the PWHL championship trophy, is the objective now. And while Montréal’s Marie-Philip Poulin may have been Canada’s offensive hero with a pair of goals in the gold-medal game, and while her PWHL teammates Kristin O’Neill and Ann-Reneé Desbiens were named Canada’s top players at the tournament by the team’s coaches along with Toronto’s Renata Fast, that will all get thrown out the window when the puck drops again on league play Thursday after a 23-day break.

First-place Toronto (36 points) and third-place Montréal (31) are separated by just five points heading into the season’s final f5 games as teams jockey for the top seeds and home-ice advantage in the opening round of the four-team playoffs. Minnesota is a point behind Toronto, with the top-two teams guaranteed home ice to begin the postseason.

Meanwhile, five points also separate fourth-place Ottawa (27) from fifth-place Boston (22) in the race for the final playoff berth. Boston’s Hilary Knight, Megan Keller and Aerin Frankel will be trying their best to shatter the playoff dreams of Ottawa’s Hayley Scamurra and Savannah Harmon, their teammates in Utica.

Toronto clinches a playoff berth by earning at least one point in its game at Boston Thursday, while a Minnesota regulation win at Montréal also would clinch a postseason spot.

Both contests face off at 7 p.m. EDT and can be seen in Canada on TSN. The Toronto-Boston contest also can be viewed on RDS in Canada as well as Sportsnet Pittsburgh and NESN in the U.S., while the other matchup is available on Bally Sports North in the U.S. Viewers in other areas of the United States should check their local listings as select games can be seen on various other regional sports networks.

The race for the regular-season title and top playoff seed continues Saturday as Toronto travels to Montréal for a 1 p.m. EDT faceoff, with Minnesota heading to Ottawa for a 7 p.m. EDT puck drop at TD Place. New York also hosts Boston Saturday in a 3:30 p.m. EDT tilt, with both teams looking to keep their postseason hopes alive.

Saturday’s Montréal-Toronto contest is being played at the Belle Center, the home of the Montréal Canadiens, and is being billed as the “Duel at the Top,” with yet another women’s hockey attendance record projected to be established. The New York-Boston matchup is being played in New Jersey at the Prudential Center, home of the National Hockey League’s Devils.

Montréal also can clinch a playoff berth this weekend depending on how the results play out, and Ottawa’s “magic number” for clinching a postseason spot is 11 points.

The PWHL Playoffs, featuring the top-four teams, begin on May 8 with two best-of-five semifinals. The top finisher is awarded the opportunity to select its semifinal opponent by choosing either the third- and fourth-place team. The higher seeds play on home ice in games one, two and five, and the winners will compete in a best-of-five championship series for the Walter Cup.

Being eliminated from the playoff hunt doesn’t render a team’s remaining games meaningless. The league’s “Gold Plan” assigns the first pick in the 2024 PWHL Draft to the non-playoff team that earns the most standings points once it has been eliminated from contention.

Each team has one game remaining against the league’s other five teams. Other intriguing upcoming matchups include Boston at Ottawa April 24 and Minnesota at Toronto May 4.

CLICK HERE for the full remaining PWHL schedule.


More News & Notes from the WWC

Marie-Philip Poulin scored twice (shocker!) in the gold-medal game to earn Player-of-the-Game honors for Canada … Team USA and PWHL Boston captain Hilary Knight became the most-decorated player in WWC history by winning her 14th medal since 2007. She scored in the gold-medal game and ended up tied for the WWC scoring lead with 10 points … New York’s Alex Carpenter also recorded 10 points and was named the tournament’s top forward … The U.S. coaches selected Minnesota’s Kendall Coyne Schofield, Boston’s Aerin Frankel and Boston’s Megan Keller as their team’s top-three players at the WWC … Boston forward Susanna Tapani earned a bronze medal playing for Finland. She tied for the team lead in scoring and captured her sixth all-time medal … Ottawa’s Sandra Abstreiter posted a tournament-best 1.19 goals-against average and a .950 save percentage in goal for Germany to earn Best Goaltender honors from the IIHF.


Standings Through March 26

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. Toronto 10W 3OTW 6L – 36 pts
  2. Minnesota 8W 4OTW 3OTL 4L – 35 pts
  3. Montréal 7W 3OTW 4OTL 5L – 31 pts
  4. Ottawa 7W 6OTL 6L – 27 pts
  5. Boston 4W 4OTW 2OTL 9L – 22 pts
  6. New York 3W 4OTW 3OTL 9L – 20 pts


Goals Leaders

Natalie Spooner TOR – 15

Grace Zumwinkle MIN – 9

Alex Carpenter NY – 8

Marie-Philip Poulin MON – 8

Daryl Watts OTT – 8


Assist Leaders

Alex Carpenter NY – 11

Katerina Mrázová OTT – 11

Brianne Jenner OTT – 10

Alina Müller BOS – 10

Sarah Nurse TOR – 10


Points Leaders

Natalie Spooner TOR – 20

Alex Carpenter NY – 19

Marie-Philip Poulin MON – 17

Katerina Mrázová OTT – 17

Grace Zumwinkle MIN – 16


Save Percentage Leaders

Elaine Chuli MTL – .956

Corinne Schroeder NY – .936

Nicole Hensley MIN – .933

Aerin Frankel BOS – .927

Maddie Rooney MIN – .925


This Week’s PWHL Viewing Guide

Thursday, April 18, 2024
7:00 p.m. ET – Toronto
TV: NESN, Sportsnet Pittsburgh
Streaming: TSN+, YouTube

7:00 p.m. ET – Minnesota at Montréal
TV: TSN1/4/5, Bally Sports North/West/Wisconsin, Sportsnet Pittsburgh Plus
Streaming: YouTube
French: RDS

Saturday, April 20, 2024
1:00 p.m. ET – Toronto at Montréal
TV: CBC, Sportsnet Pittsburgh Plus
Streaming: CBC Gem, YouTube
French: RDS

3:30 p.m. ET – Boston at New York
Streaming: YouTube

7:00 p.m. ET – Minnesota at Ottawa
TV: Bally Sports North/Detroit/Florida/San Diego/Southeast/Southern California/West/Wisconsin
Streaming: CBC Gem, Women’s Sports Network, YouTube


Be sure to visit to purchase tickets and merchandise, and subscribe to the PWHL e-newsletter to receive the latest league updates.

You can follow the league on all social media platforms @thepwhlofficial plus all six team accounts @pwhl_boston, @pwhl_minnesota, @pwhl_montreal, @pwhl_newyork, @pwhl_ottawa, and @pwhl_toronto


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