The PHF-best Toronto Six swept their weekend series against the Metropolitan Riveters to take a more decisive lead in the league standings, while the Boston Pride nabbed six points from the Buffalo Beauts.
Six vs. Riveters
The Six captured six points over the Riveters this past weekend, with 4-3 and 3-2 regulation wins, respectively.
Elaine Chuli returned to action on Saturday after missing the outdoor game versus the Beauts earlier in the week. (She served as the backup goalie, but had apparently tweaked something at some point before puck drop and couldn't play.) To no one's surprise, Chuli didn't miss a step and was right back in it, making 19 saves on 22 shots faced in Saturday's win.
The Six had an early advantage, but despite multiple shots on goal, were unable to capitalize. Toronto certainly had more zone time, forcing the Riveters to focus on their defensive game in the opening twenty minutes. What opportunities Metropolitan did have, Chuli quickly gobbled up to keep things scoreless after the first period.
The Riveters scored twice in the opening 2:35 of the second period to quickly gain momentum and take control of the game. Kendall Cornine opened the scoring, crashing into the net and pouncing on a big rebound after the initial shot by Theresa Knutson.
Less than a minute later, Kelly Babstock was sent off on a hooking penalty, sending the Riveters to the penalty kill. It didn't matter much however, when Dosdall-Arena and Emily Janiga picked a loose puck up off an unsuccessful Toronto pass. Dosdall-Arena passed it up the ice, past a Six skater, to Haley Frade who had a breakaway and deked out Chuli for the goal.
Despite those flashes of brilliance, the Riveters were vastly outplayed in the rest of second period. The Six had far more chances and outshot Metro 12-5, and the pressure eventually paid off. Just over halfway through the period, Shiann Darkangelo got her team on the board during 4-on-4 play.
A few minutes later, Breanne Wilson-Bennett, who recently joined the Six, capitalized from in front of the net. A shot from Taylor Woods at the blueline made its way through a crowd, and as Brooke Wolejko battled to keep it out, Wilson-Bennett got her out of position and slid the puck in blocker side.
Madison Packer regained the lead for the Riveters early in the third period, sending the puck on net from outside the circle to Chuli's left. The long shot beat Chuli, who was blocked by multiple players in front. Just as Metro settled into the lead again, however, Saroya Tinker recorded her first career PHF goal to tie it once more.
Tinker scored on the power play on a blast from the point that passed four players and apparently deflected off a Riveters player, going top-shelf and in. A short few minutes later, Emma Woods scored the game winner shorthanded on a breakaway.
Special teams were the name of the game on Saturday, and the same can be said of Sunday's rematch. Four of the five goals scored in the Six's 3-2 win came on the power play. The teams exchanged tallies throughout the sixty minutes, with Toronto's Taylor Woods notching the difference-maker late in the third period.
Mikyla Grant-Mentis opened the scoring on the advantage just over four minutes into the game. As the Six cycled the puck throughout the zone, one shot missed the net and came off toward Grant-Mentis, who snapped home the rebound.
Packer tied the game about three minutes later on a pass from Babstock, with a quick release from the faceoff dot to Chuli's right. To their credit, the Six responded pretty quickly, as Brooke Boquist regained the Toronto lead with a rebound from the slot.
Russo tied the game for the Riveters with under nine minutes to play in regulation. It was Taylor Woods who notched the game-winner for Toronto, beating Sonjia Shelly on the glove side with just 1:50 remaining. Despite being outshot by a 21-9 margin in the third period, the Six held on for the victory.
Pride vs. Beauts
The Pride returned to game action for the first time in almost three weeks, but they looked sharp in a pair of wins over the Beauts in Boston's home finale weekend.
On Saturday, the Beauts came out strong, but collapsed in the second half of the game and dropped a 3-0 lead en route to a 4-3 regulation loss. It was certainly a stinger, as Buffalo ended up being outshot 48-24 and gave up the deciding goal with just 1:50 to play.
Dominique Kremer opened the scoring for Buffalo late in the first period, sneaking in the puck top-shelf after a nice play from Taylor Accursi at the blueline to keep it in the zone. Accursi passed to Jenna Suokko in the corner who fed Kremer for the goal.
Early in the second, Accursi scored one of her own from the circle to Lovisa Selander's right side. Accursi got the puck on her stick after a back-and-forth passing session with Kennedy Ganser and Autumn MacDougall, and snuck it in on the blocker side.
Emilie Harley made it 3-0 just a few minutes later, and Buffalo appeared to be in a good position heading toward the midway point of the game. Boston also changed goalies, swapping out Lovisa Selander (3 goals on 9 shots) for Katie Burt.
The Pride rallied back with three goals in a span of 11:15, and all of a sudden it was a completely different game. Mallory Souliotis beat Carly Jackson on a tough shot through a crowd from the point; Kayla Friesen further closed the gap on a 2-on-1 with Christina Putigna. Friesen and Putigna made a few quick passes among themselves, got Jackson moving and took advantage.
McKenna Brand tied the game with under a minute left in the second period as she capitalized on an uncovered puck right in front of the net. The Pride outshot the Beauts 15-7 in the second period and 24-11 in the third period, so it came as little surprise when Mary Parker gave Boston the lead late in the game.
After Sammy Davis put a shot on net from the slot, Parker jumped on a juicy rebound to Jackson's right. As much as she tried to get over in time to make the save, she was unable to. Although the Beauts challenged the play for offside, Parker's goal stood up as the game-winning tally.
Burt finished the game with a perfect 15 saves, while Jackson had 44 saves on 48 shots faced.
While the Beauts have looked better as the season has progressed, they still have trouble stringing together victories, which isn't doing them any favors in the long run. Sunday's rematch was a close battle, but a first-period goal by Amanda Boulier was the difference-maker.
The Beauts were unable to capitalize on a few early power-play opportunities, and a potential goal was reviewed and denied. (It never went in the net, but hit the crossbar, fell straight down, and stayed out.)
Boulier, waiting in front of the net, capitalized on a wide open net off a pass from Taylor Wenczkowski through two Beauts players. That would be the lone goal of the game, despite each team having penalty kills and power-play chances. The Pride outshot the Beauts by a margin of 32-18 in the first two periods, but Buffalo came out strong in the third, outshooting Boston 19-8.
In the end, that was all moot, as the Pride took the three points with the 1-0 win. Katie Burt recorded the 37-save shutout, the second such 60-minute effort of her PHF career. On the other side, Lovisa Berndtsson had 39 saves in 58:05.
News & Notes
- The Riveters capitalized on the PHF's recent expanded roster limit and salary cap, signing standout defender Kiira Dosdall-Arena for the remainder of the season. The 34-year-old is an original NWHLer, having spent six total seasons with the New York/Metropolitan Riveters franchise.
- Tickets for the Isobel Cup playoffs in Wesley Chapel, Florida are now available for free through this link. Tickets for the preliminary round and semifinal days are valid for both games on that respective day.
- The PHF also announced a partnership extension with Discover Financial Services, which sees Discover return as the presenting sponsor of the Isobel Cup Playoffs.
- Toronto Six (13-2-1, 40 points)
- Connecticut Whale (10-3-1, 31 points)
- Boston Pride (9-5-0, 24 points)
- Metropolitan Riveters (5-10-1, 16 points)
- Minnesota Whitecaps (5-10-1, 16 points)
- Buffalo Beauts (4-12-0, 11 points)
The Riveters host the Pride for a pair of games (Saturday at 2:00 PM and Sunday at 4:00 PM Eastern), while the Whale visit the Whitecaps (Saturday at 7:00 PM and Sunday at 2:00 PM Central). The Beauts and Six are off this weekend.
(Photo: Toronto Six/PHF)