MYHockey News

Pulse of the PWHL - Three Playoff Spots Still Up for Grabs

By Scott Lowe –

Go big or go home.

That seems to have been the approach for the Professional Women’s Hockey league throughout its inaugural 2024 season, and the past week was no different.

Toronto won a hockey game Saturday, but it wasn’t just any win.

The victory came on the road against rival Montréal. And it came in overtime, with the game-winning goal scored by Canadian Olympic hero Sarah Nurse. And it clinched the league’s first-ever playoff berth.

Oh yeah, the game also was played in front of yet another world-record crowd, with more than 21,000 fans screaming their lungs out and glued to the action, hanging on every shot, save and dangle at Montréal’s Bell Centre.

It took just 13 seconds for Nurse to provide the heroics with her seventh goal of the season, lifting Toronto to a thrilling 3-2 victory against third-place Montréal and into the postseason in the “Duel at the Top.” Toronto improved to 4-0-0 in overtime and shootout games this season and also concluded the season series against its rival with a perfect record and 13-2 advantage in standings points.

It was Nurse’s second goal of the game; she also scored 40 seconds into the second period to give Toronto a 2-1 lead, but Erin Ambrose would respond with her fourth of the season in the waning seconds of the middle frame to tie the game and ultimately force overtime.

Renata Fast and Emma Maltais assisted on the game-winner. Blayre Turnbull opened the scoring in the first period for Toronto, and Sarah Bujold notched the other Montréal goal. Kristen Campbell made a season-high 37 saves to earn the win in goal. Nurse, Campbell and Ann-Reneé Desbiens, who finished with 30 saves, were named the game’s three stars.

The game provided both a playoff and festive atmosphere, with two teams from rival hockey cities battling at the top of the league standings in front of a raucous full house. Despite the loss, by earning one standings point Montréal moved into a second-place tie with Minnesota.

“I think when we all skated out there, we weren’t sure how we were going to be received,” Nurse was quoted as saying on the PWHL website. “Obviously the crowds here in Montréal can definitely be tough on Toronto teams, so the support everywhere has been incredible. I never dreamed of playing at the Bell Centre, but that was one of the best experiences that I’ve ever had. We’re very grateful and it was a great game today.”


Every Game Matters

Boston entered the season’s stretch run trailing Ottawa by five points in the race for the fourth and final playoff spot, but that all changed Saturday when former Ottawa forward Lexie Adzija pulled her new team three points closer to her old team by netting the game-winning goal in Boston’s 2-1 victory against New York.

The game was played at the Prudential Center, home of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, in Newark, N.J. It was watched by New York’s top home crowd of the year as an enthusiastic 5,132 fans turned out as the two teams battled to keep their playoff hopes alive in an intense game that somehow featured just one penalty.

The goal was Adzija’s sixth of the season and her first game-winner. She also assisted on the first goal of the game, scored 6:13 into the second period by Nicole Costa. Jessie Eldridge responded for New York with her seventh of the year at 16:49 of the second frame.

Aerin Fankel earned the win in goal, stopping 24 of the 25 shots she faced. Adzija, Kosta and Eldridge were named the three stars of the game.

The victory gave Boston 28 standings points, two fewer than Ottawa, which has a game in hand. Ottawa hosts Boston in a huge matchup Wednesday at 7 p.m. Eastern. That game can be viewed on TSN in Canada and NESN in the United States. American viewers also should check their local listings to see if the game is being carried on other regional sports networks.


What Does it All Mean?

Toronto was the only team to clinch a playoff berth last week. Montreal beat Minnesota, 4-3, at home April 18, rallying from a 3-2 deficit after 40 minutes thanks to late goals by Laura Stacey and Kristin O’Neill.

That win, paired with the overtime loss to Toronto Saturday, gave Montréal four points for the week, while Minnesota dropped both of its games. Minnesota also fell to Ottawa, 4-0, on the road Saturday.

Ottawa got a hat trick from Brianne Jenner in that win, with Tereza Vaniáova dishing out a pair of assists and Emerance Mashmeyer notching a 35-save shutout to earn first-star honors. It’s not every day that a player records a hatty and isn’t named the No. 1 star.

When all the dust settled, Minnesota and Montreal each had played 21 games and earned 35 standings points, with both teams having three games left. They both trail first-place Toronto by three points and will not meet again this season.

Meanwhile, fifth-place Boston stepped up to win a pair of games to inch closer to fourth-place Ottawa for the final postseason spot. In addition to the win at New York, Boston beat Toronto at home, 2-1, April 18 and picked up a huge six points during the week.

Ottawa, which still has a game in hand, has 30 points as the two teams prepare for perhaps the season’s most important game Wednesday. Boston has 28 points, and New York sits in last place with 20.

Toronto, Montreal, Minnesota and Boston each have three games remaining, while Ottawa and New York will play four more times apiece.

CLICK HERE for the remaining PWHL schedule.


Three Stars of the Week

  1. Erin Ambrose – Montreal D
  2. Brianne Jenner – Ottawa RW/C
  3. Aerin Frankel – Boston G

A steady defender, Ambrose had a big offensive week, recording a goal and four assists in two games. That included a four-assist effort vs. Minnesota April 18, the first time any PWHL player had dished out four helpers in a game. She led the league in points and assists for the week and now leads all PWHL defenders scoring with 4-11-15 in 21 games.

Jenner earned one of the league’s weekly stars for the third time in four weeks. In her lone game of the week, Ottawa’s captain notched a hat trick in a 4-0 victory against Minnesota. After notching three-consecutive multi-point games and scoring multiple points in five of her last six outings, Jenner ranks fourth in the league with 18 points in 20 contests.

Frankel led Boston to two important wins last week, posting a 1.00 goals-against average and a .959 save percentage. Those victories left her team within two points of the final playoff spot. She is second in the league with a 1.94 goals-against average ad third in the league with seven wins and a .936 save percentage.


Standings Through April 24

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 loss and no points for a regulation loss.

  1. Toronto 10W 4OTW 7L – 38 pts
  2. Montréal 8W 3OTW 5OTL 5L – 35 pts
  3. Minnesota 8W 4OTW 3OTL 6L – 35 pts
  4. Ottawa 8W 6OTL 6L – 30 pts
  5. Boston 6W 4OTW 2OTL 9L – 28 pts
  6. New York 3W 4OTW 3OTL 10L – 20 pts


Goals Leaders

Natalie Spooner TOR – 15

Grace Zumwinkle MIN – 10

Marie-Philip Poulin MON – 9

Alex Carpenter NY – 8

Brianne Jenner OTT – 8

Daryl Watts OTT – 8

Laura Stacey MON – 8


Assist Leaders

Marie-Philip Poulin MON – 12

Alex Carpenter NY – 12

Emma Maltais TOR – 12

Katerina Mrázová OTT – 11

Alina Müller BOS – 11


Points Leaders

Natalie Spooner TOR – 21

Marie-Philip Poulin MON – 21

Alex Carpenter NY – 20

Brianne Jenner OTT – 18

Katerina Mrázová OTT – 17

Grace Zumwinkle MIN – 17

Sarah Nurse TOR – 17


Save Percentage Leaders

Elaine Chuli MTL – .949

Corinne Schroeder NY – .936

Aerin Frankel BOS – .931

Nicole Hensley MIN – .925

Kristen Campbell TOR – .922



This Week’s PWHL Viewing Guide

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

7:00 p.m. ET – New York at Montréal
Streaming: TSN+, Women’s Sports Network, YouTube
French: RDS

7:00 p.m. ET – Boston at Ottawa
Streaming: YouTube


Saturday, April 27, 2024

12:30 p.m. ET – Montréal at Ottawa
TV: Sportsnet Pittsburgh
Streaming: CBC Gem, YouTube
French: RDS

2:00 p.m. ET – Boston at Minnesota
TV: Bally Sports North/Detroit/San Diego/Southern California/Sun/Wisconsin, NESN+, Sportsnet Pittsburgh Plus
Streaming: Women’s Sports Network, YouTube


Sunday, April 28, 2024

1:00 p.m. ET – Toronto at New York
Streaming: 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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