Can't Go Anywhere From Here: Toronto 6, New York 2
- 5 min read

Can't Go Anywhere From Here: Toronto 6, New York 2

Can't Go Anywhere From Here: Toronto 6, New York 2 by Zoë Hayden

At UBS Arena on Sunday afternoon, Toronto re-claimed their #1 spot in the standings, and New York failed to secure any draft order points. I realized as I was writing this recap that I was basically focused on what New York was doing, because they were playing desperate (though they weren't getting anywhere) – meanwhile, Toronto scored six goals seemingly without breaking a sweat. On one hand, this is what often happens when the best team in a league meets the worst team in the league late in the season. But it also really highlighted for me that New York's misfortunes this season have been a stunning combination of poor defense and some pure, simple bad luck – they had plenty of both in this game.

What happened?

Toronto got going early, with Sarah Nurse batting home a rebound that bounced around in traffic, beating Abbey Levy at just 1:05. It took some time for New York to settle back in, but they generated several opportunities and forced several faceoffs in front of Kristen Campbell.

That pressure by New York didn't bear any fruit, and then Toronto ended up on the power play. A shot by Renata Fast went in off of... something... in front of the net. It was reviewed extensively for a high stick, but ultimately called a good goal, again credited to Sarah Nurse. A few minutes later Toronto was back to the advantage again. It was a better kill for New York and featured some aggressive forechecking by Jill Saulnier and Alex Carpenter, but New York wasn't able to push the puck to the front of the net. The period was more even than the score suggested, but NY was still in the hole 2-0.

Early in the second, New York was back to the penalty kill, and Levy had to make several big saves. After the PK, Alexa Vasko hopped on a loose puck and backhanded it through Levy to make it 3-0. Then, Natalie Spooner ripped a shot from high in the zone, beating Levy to score her 16th goal of the season and make it 4-0.

At this point, New York just looked frustrated. While they finally got a power play opportunity, they weren't able to generate much, and things went from bad to worse when Allie Munroe wrecked Jessie Eldridge at center ice with a high hit. This gave New York another power play, but also sent Eldridge to the locker room for the rest of the game.

New York's power play wasn't their best, but momentum shifted a bit and they continued to push at even strength. Jill Saulnier very nearly buried a wraparound chance, but Campbell held the line. With under a minute to go, Natalie Spooner had a point-blank chance off the rush, but Levy made the save. By the end of the middle frame, New York was actually leading in shots, but it didn't feel like it since their periods of possession didn't often have much cohesion. Meanwhile, Toronto had managed to create a 4-0 lead without much of a fight.

The third period saw Toronto add two more quick goals to go up 6-0. Sarah Nurse completed her hat trick less than a minute into the period by picking up her own rebound after she and Spooner forced a turnover near New York's blueline. A few minutes later, Rebecca Leslie also poked home a rebound off a shot by Brittany Howard. That finally chased Abbey Levy and gave Lindsey Post her first game action of the season as NY's number three goaltender.

New York got on the board like a Band-Aid being ripped off just after a TV timeout, with Abby Roque redirecting a knuckling shot by Ella Shelton into the back of the net to spoil Kristen Campbell's shutout. The crowd at UBS started chanting Roque's name after the goal, and the New York skaters looked visibly relieved.

Leslie got whistled for hooking and New York went back to the advantage, but the best chance came for Kaitlin Willoughby shorthanded. New York was awarded another power play with 2:49 remaining, and Brooke Hobson scored to make it 6-2 towards the end of the penalty with a big blast from center point. The goal was Hobson's first in the PWHL.

New York forced the issue until the buzzer, but 6-2 Toronto would be the final.

Three up, three down

↑ Toronto, as usual – Toronto keeps rolling and moves back into the #1 overall spot in the league. They play Minnesota and Ottawa to close out their season.

↓ New York's Gold Plan results – New York had a chance to lock up the first overall pick in the 2024 draft with a regulation win today. They'll have another chance on Tuesday versus Ottawa, but may have an even taller task since Ottawa is still fighting to hang on to their playoff berth. No one else has been eliminated, so New York getting any points out of their last two games would go a long way towards securing that pick.

↑ Lindsey Post – Stopped 5 of 5 after entering the game and gave her team a chance to get going on offense. Corinne Schroeder was a scratch on Sunday and it was nice to see Post on the ice and looking comfortable in the action. This is the first time a team's third-string goalie has gotten into a game in the PHWL.

↑ Sarah Nurse – With a hat trick in this game, Nurse moves into second on her team in goal scoring, behind Natalie Spooner (16), and second overall in the league, tied with Laura Stacey and Grace Zumwinkle, all with 10 goals on the season.

↓ ↓ Making shots count – Toronto was actually out-shot in this game, 29 to 33, but scored six goals on those 29 shots. New York didn't do much to help out Abbey Levy in their own end, and at the other, many of their chances were one-and-done or got disrupted in front and didn't really test Campbell – whether it was a shot getting deadened by a block in front, or Campbell making a glove save and holding for a faceoff. It was a Toronto performance that showed them executing as a well-oiled machine, while New York struggled to create any opportunities for themselves and didn't get on the board until it was too little, too late.

VP's Player of the Game

Rebecca Leslie – Leslie had an assist on Vasko's goal and added a goal of her own in the third period, her second of the season. Toronto's bottom six lifted them a bit in this game, making the game not just tough, but totally out of reach for New York, and Leslie's play was a huge part of that.

  • 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)