That's All, Folks: Toronto 5, Ottawa 2
- 4 min read

That's All, Folks: Toronto 5, Ottawa 2

That's All, Folks: Toronto 5, Ottawa 2 by Melissa Burgess

It truly came down to the final game of the regular season – and even to the final six minutes – but PWHL Ottawa fell to Toronto on Sunday night, which cost them the final spot in the Walter Cup playoffs. Toronto scored three times in the third period, including two empty-netters, to snag a 5-2 win.

What happened?

If you were watching the start of this game and didn't know the circumstances, you might've thought Toronto was the team who needed a win in regulation; it certainly looked sharper to kick things off for the final regular season game of the PWHL season.

Toronto looked hungry, and it took just 1:05 for – who else? – Natalie Spooner to get on the board. After Spooner's initial chance went wide, Hannah Miller had her own attempt that popped up in the air. She regained possession and fed the puck to Spooner in front, who put it high and into the net.

Ottawa struggled early on, not getting a quality chance for almost four minutes. They did, though, and then quickly tied the game. Hayley Scamurra picked up a long pass from Emily Clark, got around a Toronto defender and sent the puck slightly wide toward Kristen Campbell's far pad. Gabbie Hughes was there for the tip-in, tying it at one less than halfway through the period.

Ever relentless, Toronto regained its lead 1:10 later on a phenomenal effort by Sarah Nurse. Nurse won a puck battle behind the net, maintained possession amid a battle in the zone and stayed with it before cutting toward the net and beating Natalie Snodgrass to get her shot up and in.

Ottawa fumbled a major opportunity later in the first period, failing to capitalize on a five-minute power play. Jesse Compher received a major penalty and a game misconduct for checking from behind on Kateřina Mrázová, but Ottawa managed just three shots on goal on the advantage.

Ottawa had plenty of chances in the final minutes of the period, including a great opportunity from Emily Clark, a rebound by Hayley Scamurra and a Savannah Harmon shot from the point, but they remained down heading into the middle frame.

Although Toronto had a sequence of quick shots on goal to start the second period, it would be Ottawa tying it up with the next goal at 6:26. Daryl Watts passed it up to Brianne Jenner across the ice, then skated her way down and got the puck back from Jenner. She went wide in toward the net, cut across and waited out Campbell before tucking the puck in low on the glove side.

Despite both sides having chances – including a Toronto goal that was immediately called off since the whistle had already blown, and power plays on either team – the game remained tied as the clock ticked down, through the second period and then the third.

Spooner's second goal of the game would be the dagger for Ottawa, as she scored on the power play with just 5:43 left in regulation. Sarah Nurse again played a huge role in the goal, as she had a great chance on the doorstep before Spooner jumped on the rebound.

Ottawa, needing a regulation win, went into desperation mode. They pulled goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer for the extra attacker with over five minutes remaining, but couldn't get it done. Victoria Bach and Samantha Cogan each scored on the empty net to seal the 5-2 win and Ottawa's fate.

Three up, three down

↑ Mrázová's okay – Good to see Mrázová return after the hit she took from Compher, which looked like it had (understandably) shaken her up a bit. That said, she didn't go to the locker room, stayed on the bench and actually returned to the ice during the resulting power play. She finished the game with one shot and five hits in 18:18.

↓ Penalties – In the end, it truly was one penalty that made the difference for Ottawa. Although they killed one off early in the third period, the later one to Natalie Snodgrass for tripping ended up costing them the game – and the season.

↑ Spooner still on fire – Natalie Spooner has consistently been one of Toronto's best players all season, and that was still true in Sunday's game - which was essentially meaningless for Toronto. She recorded two goals and seven shots in 18:56, her sixth multi-goal game of the season.

↓ Ottawa's season ends – The overtime & shootout losses cost Ottawa in the end, causing them to just narrowly miss the playoffs. The team finished the season 9-9-6 with 32 points and a minus-1 goal differential, with captain Brianne Jenner leading the charge with 20 points in 24 games.

↑ Now, the fun begins – First-place Toronto gets to pick its semifinal opponent, choosing between Boston and Minnesota. The team is expected to announce its pick via social media on Monday night at 7:30 PM Eastern. From there, Toronto hosts the first game on Wednesday, with the first game of the other series in Montreal on Thursday. It's almost like a whole new season, and anything can happen!

↓ The season series – Ottawa won three of the first four meetings with Toronto during the regular season, but when it came down to it and they needed a regulation win against them in the final game, they couldn't get it done. Overall, Ottawa played a tight game for most of it and did a good job of keeping pace with Toronto, but those final six minutes and a failed penalty kill made the difference.

VP's Player of the Game

Sarah Nurse – The Toronto forward was effective all over the ice on Sunday night. Her effort on the goal was incredible; she also assisted on the game-winning goal from Spooner. In addition to the two points, she had two shots on goal and three hits in 17:06 and is second in scoring on Toronto.

  • 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)