All six teams in the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) were in action this past weekend, with the Toronto Six snagging a pair of wins over the Connecticut Whale to maintain their perfect record. Elsewhere, the Boston Pride and Minnesota Whitecaps and the Buffalo Beauts and Metropolitan Riveters split their respective series.
Whale vs. Six
The Toronto Six continue to look like a strong team early into their season after capturing six points from two regulation wins against the Connecticut Whale this weekend. The weekend series consisted of the first PHF games ever played in Canada.
In their first meeting, the Six scored four times in the second period en route to a 5-1 win.
Both teams had chances early on in decent end-to-end action, but it was Kennedy Marchment – one of Connecticut's most dangerous players – who opened the scoring midway through the first period. The Six got caught in their own end, and the Whale cycled the puck to Shannon Turner at the point. Turner's shot was tipped in front of the net by Marchment, which would end up being the Whale's sole offensive output of the day.
Michela Cava scored her first of two just over six minutes into the second period, shortly before Brooke Boquist gave Toronto the lead. The Six were all over the puck and had a few opportunities before Cava's goal, where she capitalized on a rebound as the team peppered Abbie Ives with shots. Boquist then scored shorthanded on a snipe from the slot, off a great pass from Cava.
Cava, along with Mikyla Grant-Mentis, added a goal in the second half of the middle frame. Grant-Mentis kept the puck in the zone after it bounced off a Whale stick; Lindsay Eastwood eventually shot it towards the net, and Cava tipped it for Toronto's third goal of the game.
Although the Whale controlled the puck for a bit and had several chances, it was Toronto taking a 4-1 lead with just two seconds left in the middle frame. Grant-Mentis, on a 2-on-1 with Cava against Taylor Marchin, carried the puck into the zone, blew past the defender and tucked it in behind Ives.
Maegan Beres scored on the advantage late in the third period to seal the win. Elaine Chuli stopped 24 of 25 shots faced, while Abbie Ives made 25 saves. Grant-Mentis and Cava were each credited with three points.
Sunday's rematch started off more even-footed, with each team registering seven shots on goal in the first period and entering intermission scoreless. The Six nearly scored, beating Ives, but the play was reviewed and the puck never crossed the line.
Toronto scored three times in just over 11 minutes late in the second period, with goals from captain Shiann Darkangelo, Taylor Davison, and Grant-Mentis. Darkangelo scored from in front of the net, off a pass from Taylor Woods behind the net. Minutes later, Davison similarly doubled the lead with a quick wrister. Grant-Mentis then shot a bottle-popper through three Whale players to give her team a 3-0 lead heading into the final twenty.
Connecticut attempted to rally back in the third period, as Catherine Crawley and Marchment scored, but they ultimately couldn't find a tying goal. Ives stopped 13 of 16 shots faced in 40 minutes played for Connecticut, and Jessica Strack stopped all five shots she faced. (Strack had previously been in camp for the Whale but was never announced on their roster.)
On the other end of the rink, it was Chuli in goal once again, stopped 27 of 29.
Beauts vs. Riveters
The Metropolitan Riveters snagged four of a possible six points this weekend, suffering an overtime loss to the Buffalo Beauts before rebounding for a close win on Sunday evening. (As a note, the Beauts have played just three games & now have a few weeks off, so expect them to stay at the bottom of the standings for awhile.)
After a scoreless first period Saturday, Metro took a quick 3-0 lead with a trio of goals in just 2:11 midway through the game. The Beauts had a few very good chances, but Kendall Cornine broke things open after a miscue led to a 3-on-1 for the Riveters. Madison Packer sauced a pass to Cornine for an easy redirect in front of the net.
Minutes later, Nora Maclaine backhanded the puck on a rebound into the net behind Carly Jackson as the Riveters found their momentum. Rebecca Russo made it 3-0 a short time later.
Finding themselves in quite a hole, the Beauts worked hard to dig their way out over the final 24 minutes of play. Anjelica Diffendal got Buffalo on the board; she was left alone on the right side of the net and capitalized on a quick pass from Taylor Accursi in front.
Dominique Kremer then scored early in the third period, and Diffendal added another to force the game into overtime. Just 1:12 into the extra frame, Cassidy Vinkle notched the game-winning goal, giving Buffalo the extra point on a shot that found its way into the net through the five-hole.
Per the scoresheet, Kelly Babstock was served with three minor penalties over the course of the game, while Cassidy MacPherson received a ten-minute misconduct for "use of profane or abusive language."
The Beauts similarly got themselves in a quick 2-0 hole on Sunday – something they'll certainly hope to stop doing going forward. A Riveters goal less than three minutes in was disallowed, as the net was knocked off, but Metro absolutely dominated play early on. Madison Packer opened the scoring on a power-play goal on a wraparound, before Russo made it 2-0.
This time, Buffalo rebounded a bit faster, exchanging goals with the Riveters over the course of the rest of the game. Kremer scored her second of the weekend with a redirection in front of the net after jumping up into the play, but Packer struck again – this time, shorthanded – late in the first with a top-shelf backhand.
Emilie Harley and Theresa Knutson each scored early in the second and third periods, respectively, but the Beauts still found themselves down by a pair late in the game. They pulled their netminder and scored with the extra attacker, closing the gap to one. They kept Jackson out of the net looking for the tying goal, but instead, the Riveters snagged an empty-netter for the victory.
Pride vs. Whitecaps
Jonna Curtis scored twice for the Minnesota Whitecaps in a 2-0 win over the federation-leading Boston Pride on Saturday, while the Pride roared back for a narrow overtime victory on Sunday.
Despite being outshot 15-8 in the first period and by a 43-30 margin overall, the Whitecaps were able to hold off the Pride for sixty minutes. Curtis finally opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal late in the second period. Alex Woken was given a five-minute major penalty for elbowing, but the disadvantage was no problem for Minnesota. Curtis poked the puck off a Pride player's stick, got past the defenders, drew a penalty on her way through and managed to get the puck into the net. What a play.
Curtis then added an empty-netter with 59 seconds left in regulation to make it a 2-0 win for the Whitecaps.
The Pride continued to plaster shots at the net on Sunday – they'd end up with 87 shots over the course of the two weekend games – and this time, it paid off. Boston snagged a 2-1 overtime win to finish out their time in Minnesota, capturing two of a possible six points on the weekend.
Christina Putigna, who had multiple chances early on, finally found the back of the net on a wraparound with just over two minutes left in the first period. Haley Mack tied the game while the teams were 4-0n-4, capitalizing on a backhand after getting Victoria Hanson to go down early.
Amanda Boulier scored against her former team in overtime to give Boston the victory. Minnesota nearly had a nice chance at the other end, but McKenna Brand and Boulier came away with the puck after a turnover and carried it into Boston's zone. Boulier took a pass from Brand and tucked it in under Leveille's arm.
Overall, Leveille stopped 85 of 87 shots faced on the weekend – another stellar performance from one of the PHF's longest-tenured goaltenders. Katie Burt had 28 saves, while Lovisa Selander stopped 25 of 26 shots faced in Sunday's win for the Pride.
1. Boston Pride (4-2, 10 points)
2. Toronto Six (3-0, 9 points)
3. Metropolitan Riveters (2-1-1, 7 points)
4. Connecticut Whale (2-3-1, 7 points)
5. Minnesota Whitecaps (1-2-1, 3 points)
6. Buffalo Beauts (1-2, 2 points)
News & Notes
- PHF teams have, regrettably, continued to break league COVID-19 protocols, largely when it comes to fan interaction. Both the Pride and Riveters were issued organizational fines in early November, and there have been other recent instances in both Buffalo and Minnesota where unmasked fans were allowed near the team tunnels and interacted with their respective teams.
- The Riveters unveiled a new red third jersey this past weekend. (It's gorgeous.)
- The Riveters have been without Romana Košecká and Lenka Čurmová, who were both overseas representing Slovakia in Olympic qualifiers. They both should be back in the lineup in mid-December when Metro returns to action.
- As an FYI and a word of caution, the PHF's website has multiple errors in their statistics and rosters – so be advised when using their data for anything.
- We still saw a lot of Sailun Tire commercials on the PHF broadcasts, but there were a few ads for Athleta sprinkled into the broadcasts, which was a refreshing and much-needed change.
The Premier Hockey Federation returns the weekend of December 4-5, taking a week off for American Thanksgiving. The Whitecaps and Whale will face off in a pair of games (3:00 PM Eastern Saturday, 1:00 PM Eastern Sunday) while the Six and Pride square off (7:00 PM Eastern Saturday, 1:00 PM Eastern Sunday).
The Beauts and Riveters are off from game action until December 11.
(Photo: Kate Frese/Riveters)