Toronto's Eleven: Toronto 2, Boston 1
- 3 min read

Toronto's Eleven: Toronto 2, Boston 1

Toronto's Eleven: Toronto 2, Boston 1 by Melissa Burgess

Natalie Spooner extended her lead in the PWHL's scoring race, notching her 13th goal and third game-winning tally of the season as PWHL Toronto bested Boston 2-1 in front of a sold-out crowd at Mattamy Athletic Centre on Wednesday night.

What happened?

Toronto, coming into the night on a 10-game winning streak, quickly commanded control of the game as they dominated puck possession and zone time early on. Despite the quick jump, however, Toronto soon found itself in penalty trouble, with Jocelyne Larocque and Sarah Nurse called in quick succession.

Boston capitalized on the two-player advantage, as Sidney Morin blasted a rocket from the edge of the faceoff circle to Howe's right and beat the goalie low. That goal would stand through the next 30 minutes of game time, but things began to unravel for Boston in the third period.

After Sophie Shirley was called for a trip early in the third, Toronto quickly tied the game at one. A pass from Miller down low found Fast at the point, and she cut to the middle of the ice and found a shooting lane. With a crowd in front, Fast's shot beat the goaltender on the far side.

Toronto's second power play goal, and the eventual game-winning tally, came at 7:05 of the third period. Boston's Shirley was sent to the penalty box yet again, this time for contact to the head, giving Toronto the advantage once more. Natalie Spooner scored her 13th of the season, going bar-down after capitalizing on a turnover.

Boston was unable to overcome the deficit and has now lost two of its last three and four of its last six. Meanwhile, Toronto has extended its impressive streak, which is one of the longest in North American pro hockey this season.

Three up, three down

↑ Back-up goalies – Nice to see both teams give their back-up goalie a chance on Wednesday night, as Emma Söderberg and Erica Howe took their places in their respective nets. Söderberg is 3-2 on the season with a 2.81 GAA and .884 save percentage, while Howe is 0-1 with a 1.91 GAA and .919 save percentage.

↓ A sleepy start for Boston – Boston was absolutely dominated in the early stage of the game, with Toronto holding onto the puck and sticking around in the zone for most of the first half of the opening period. Lucky for them, the game remained scoreless at that point and many of Toronto's chances were blocked or missed the net, but it's certainly not the start you're looking for against an opponent that had won 10 straight.

↑ Sole possession – With the win, Toronto currently holds sole possession of first place in the PWHL. All teams now have six games remaining in the regular season. The top team will get to choose its semifinal opponent, selecting between the third and fourth seeds.

↓ Accuracy – At least some of the stats from Wednesday's game are inaccurate. One example: the Boston penalty early in the third period was called on Sophie Shirley, but the stats page currently shows it on Lexie Adzija.

↑ Toronto dominates season series – Through four games between the two teams, Toronto is 3-1 against Boston this season. Although Boston won the first meeting between the teams 3-2, Toronto has since outscored Boston 10-5. They'll meet once more in the regular season, capping off the series in Boston on April 18.

 Out of a playoff spot, for now – Boston's loss on Wednesday, combined with Ottawa's win, has pushed Boston out of a playoff spot, at least for now. The race for that fourth and final spot is still on, but every point is going to be critical.

VP's Player of the Game

Sarah Nurse – Nurse assisted on both of the Toronto goals and was second among Toronto skaters with 16:25 ice time. She also registered three shots on goal and won 57.9 percent of faceoffs drawn.

  • Game replay link (YouTube) – The PWHL has started posting "condensed game archive" video, after taking their videos private after broadcast as of late. Check their video uploads page for the game archive content as it becomes available. (This game is not yet as of press time.)
  • Game data

(Photo: PWHL)