PHF Roundup: Season Eight, Week Ten
- 5 min read

PHF Roundup: Season Eight, Week Ten

Recapping a game between the Connecticut Whale and Montreal Force as well as the PHF's All-Star Game in Toronto.

PHF Roundup: Season Eight, Week Ten by Melissa Burgess

Game of the Week

Connecticut Whale 4, Montreal Force 1

Friday's meeting between the Force and Whale was the only regular-season action in the PHF this week, the rare Friday game just two days before the league's All-Star Game in Toronto.

The Whale were really dominant from the get-go, and outshot the Force 12-6 in the first period but were unable to solve Marie-Soleil Deschênes. They similarly outshot Montreal again in the second period, by a 12-4 differential, and were finally able to get on the board with a pair of goals.

The first goal of the night came from Melissa Samoskevich amid a two-player advantage, exactly eight minutes into the second period. With Kaity Howarth already in the penalty box, Brigitte Laganière was handed a boarding major just seconds later. Laganière pushed Kennedy Marchment from behind, forcing her head-first into the boards.

Marchment appeared to be fine on the play, staying on the ice for the ensuing power play. She won the offensive zone draw, and her team cycled the puck around the zone a bit before Samoskevich finally scored. Alyssa Wohlfeiler at the point go the puck down low to Marchment, who slid it across the crease to a waiting Samoskevich on Deschênes' left side. Their quick, crisp passes were too fast for the goaltender to keep up.


The Force nearly responded soon after with a shorthanded break at the other end of the ice, but couldn't finish the play. The Whale then took their own penalty, evening things out a bit and creating some 4-on-4 play before Montreal finished killing the major.

Montreal's tendency to play a physical game caught up to them again later in the period, as Deziray De Sousa took the second boarding major of the night. De Sousa was battling with Connecticut's Emma Keenan in the corner, then gave her enough of a push into the boards that it was considered a five-minute penalty.

Once again, the Whale capitalized on the power play. This time, it was Lenka Serdar who tallied, giving Connecticut a 2-o lead. With 2:44 left in the second period, Serdar received a pass from Kateřina Mrázová behind the net, then let a shot rip from the slot for her first PHF goal.


Connecticut did a good job of stifling the Force as the third period began, despite being shorthanded to start the frame. Montreal was finally able to get on the board nearly halfway through on a goal by Alexandra Labelle, her fourth of the season, on a high shot. Autumn MacDougall, who just recently joined the Force, found Labelle in front with a short pass.


Montreal certainly appeared to be knocking at the door now, down by only one goal and forcing Abbie Ives to make multiple big saves. Even in the last five minutes, the game still could've gone either way, including a huge chance from Caitrin Lonergan. The play underwent a video review, but the puck ultimately bounced between the post and the goaltender's skate and stayed out of the net.

Lonergan and Mrázová added empty-netters in the final minute to seal the 4-1 win. Eight different Whale players recorded at least a point, but the final score really wasn't fully indicative of the Force's efforts in this one. Montreal really needs to find a way to balance the physical side of their play to avoid taking so many penalties – especially majors, which played a big role in Friday's game.

Ives had 21 saves, while Deschênes stopped 29 of 31 shots faced in 58 minutes.

The Force were without Ann-Sophie Bettez for an undisclosed reason. Bettez also did not participate in the All-Star Showcase.

All-Stars Hit Toronto

Many of the top players in the PHF hit the ice at Mattamy Athletic Centre on Sunday night to participate in the league's annual All-Star Game. Players were split among three teams – Canada, USA and World – and competed in a round-robin style tournament before Canada ultimately took the title.

Canada opened the mini-tournament with a 2-1 shootout win over the USA. Brittany Howard had the winning goal, while Loren Gabel and Patti Marshall scored in the regulation period. Teams played 4-on-4. When the shootout began, there was some confusion. It was initially announce as a sudden-death, three-round shootout on the broadcast, but once Howard scored, it suddenly really became sudden-death: Albers needed to score in order to keep the game going. Are we making up the rules as we go?

Next up, World took on Canada and won 2-1. Gabel scored again for Canada, but Leah Lum and Denisa Křížová scored for World. Lum tied it with 2:11 to play, while Křížová's go-ahead goal came with just 1:02 left.

USA then faced off against World, losing by a 3-2 margin. This was the Fanni Garát-Gasparics show, as she had all three goals in the win and overall had a spectacular evening. Taylor Girard and Jillian Dempsey had the goals for USA as their night ended due to the points system in place, sending Canada and World to the final game.

Finally, Canada topped World, getting a bit of revenge in the championship game with a 3-2 win. Garát-Gasparics had her fourth goal of the evening, while Anna Kilponen also scored. Loren Gabel and Brittany Howard scored for Canada, while Jade Downie-Landry had the championship-winning tally.

Gabel was named MVP, while Corinne Schroeder earned the most outstanding goaltender award. The championship game was 18 minutes long, while the other games were 14 minutes each.

Coaches included Kim St-Pierre and Geraldine Heaney (Canada); Kacey Bellamy and Colleen Coyne (USA); and Erika Holst and Venla Hovi (World).

Here's a compilation of highlights from the championship game:

My quick notes:

  • It was great to see the PHF get airtime on ESPN2. The game actually ended up starting on ESPN News due to a basketball game that went over its time slot on the main channel, but regardless: watching women's hockey on cable television is a joy and can only help bring the game to a wider audience.
  • There certainly seemed to be a bit of a lack of communication from the beginning. Teams were ready to go at center ice for the opening puck drop when the public address announcer introduced a moment of silence for former Mississauga, Ontario mayor Hazel McCallion, resulting in an awkward moment where everyone was just kind of... waiting.
  • Each team only had one goaltender representative, so only three goalies total participated. While I understand, especially given the shortened format, there are definitely some netminders on the fringe who were deserving of spots. (As an aside, how cool to see PHF alum Brianne McLaughlin-Bittle behind the bench as a goaltending coach!)
  • The format was certainly interesting, but I still stand by the fact that not doing some sort of skills competition is a mistake. Let the players showcase some of their skills in a lighter, more relaxed, non-game format. Give us some of those hardest shots or trick shots, even. How fast can "insert player name here" skate down the ice? It's something I'd like to see the league return to in future years.

League Standings

  1. Boston (12-2-1), 34 points
  2. Toronto (10-2-2), 30 points
  3. Minnesota (8-4-2), 26 points
  4. Connecticut (8-6-1), 25 points
  5. Montreal (6-7-1), 16 points
  6. Metropolitan (5-11-0), 14 points
  7. Buffalo (2-10-2), 8 points

League Leaders

  • Goals: Brittany Howard (15)
  • Assists: Allie Munroe, Taylor Girard (12)
  • Points: Loren Gabel (24)
  • Shots: Loren Gabel (82)
  • PIM: Olivia Zafuto (25)
  • GAA: Corinne Schroeder (1.73)
  • Save Percentage: Corinne Schroeder (.952)

Upcoming Games

  • Friday, February 3: Connecticut at Metropolitan, 7:00 PM Eastern
  • Saturday, February 4: Buffalo at Toronto, 2:00 PM Eastern
  • Saturday, February 4: Minnesota at Montreal, 2:00 PM Eastern
  • Saturday, February 4: Metropolitan at Boston, 7:00 PM Eastern
  • Sunday, February 5: Minnesota at Montreal, 1:00 PM Eastern
  • Sunday, February 5: Buffalo at Toronto, 2:00 PM Eastern
  • Sunday, February 5: Connecticut at Boston, 2:00 PM Eastern

(Photo: Lori Bolliger)