The PWHL this week: Ottawa again in playoff image after busy commerce deadline

Taking a look at his roster after 17 video games and sitting one level out of the playoff image, PWHL Ottawa GM Mike Hirshfeld felt like his crew was near firing on all cylinders.

Ottawa has misplaced six video games in additional time this season; greater than some other crew. Three regulation losses have been determined by one objective.

Regardless of what the standings have proven, there have been issues to love about Ottawa’s play. That features two balanced power-play models clicking at almost 27 per cent — the most effective within the league.

“I believe that we’re proper there and we simply should be slightly extra centered,” Hirshfeld stated on Tuesday, declaring that his crew has made some “premature errors.”

Hirshfeld was essentially the most lively GM on commerce deadline day, buying a top-six ahead in Tereza Vanišová and a bottom-six veteran centre in Shiann Darkangelo. They’re gamers Hirshfeld feels may put his crew over the sting within the shut video games that have not been going Ottawa’s approach.

An enormous 3-0 win Wednesday over New York, mixed with a Boston regulation loss, vaulted Ottawa into the ultimate playoff spot. The regulation win additionally took factors away from New York, making it tougher to catch Ottawa.

To get the win, Ottawa weathered being down two gamers for 2 minutes within the third interval.

PWHL Ottawa captain Brianne Jenner scored a objective in her crew’s 3-0 win over New York on Wednesday. (Nala Burton/PWHL)

“I believe it was an enormous second for us,” head coach Carla MacLeod stated in regards to the lengthy penalty kill. “As a result of it was carried out so effectively with all these blocked photographs, it actually does rally a bunch. I believe it gave us slightly little bit of our vitality again.”

Subsequent up for Ottawa is a sport towards Toronto on Saturday. The league will break for the world championship subsequent Tuesday and resume on April 18.

Grant-Mentis earns huge alternative

On the second day of the PWHL season, in entrance of greater than 8,000 followers inside TD Place, it appeared like Mikyla Grant-Mentis had scored the primary objective in Ottawa franchise historical past.

The objective was overturned after it grew to become obvious the puck went below the web. Nevertheless it’s a second Grant-Mentis will not quickly neglect.

“It was thoughts blowing,” she stated. “I truthfully could not even hear myself assume as a result of they have been so loud.”

Although the objective was overturned, Grant-Mentis left an impression on the Montreal bench that night time.

After her launch from Ottawa final month, Montreal received in contact. Grant-Mentis was added to the crew’s reserve record earlier this month, signing a 10-day contract earlier than final Sunday’s sport in Pittsburgh.

A female hockey player in a white PWHL jersey appears on the ice.
Mikyla Grant-Mentis was added to Montreal as a reserve participant earlier this month, and signed a 10-day contract final week. (Arianne Bergeron/PWHL Montreal through X)

Her play in that first sport on Jan. 2 got here up in conversations Grant-Mentis had with Montreal’s management.

“[Montreal head coach Kori Cheverie] was speaking about how briskly I used to be,” Grant-Mentis stated final week, after her first two practices along with her new crew.

“She noticed the potential in me in that sport. She was actually excited for me to hop on board with them and use my pace towards different groups.”

Grant-Mentis performed 11 minutes, 15 seconds in her debut with Montreal on Sunday. One has to assume having Grant-Mentis and reserve participant Mélodie Daoust within the fold made it a bit simpler to let go of Vanišová within the commerce with Ottawa.

A former Premier Hockey Federation MVP, Grant-Mentis indicated she would not know why she was launched in Ottawa, although she stated the expertise was “a very good one.” She had three factors in six video games earlier than being scratched for 3 video games previous to her launch.

Ottawa’s GM stated it was a hockey determination.

“She did not fairly match what we have been in search of in our third and fourth traces, and so we needed to present her the chance to search out one other crew,” Hirshfeld stated. “I am glad she’s landed in Montreal and I want her all the most effective.”

Requested about Grant-Mentis final week, GM Danièle Sauvageau recommended it is about discovering the fitting function for gamers. She used a flower metaphor: typically flowers aren’t in the fitting pots and different instances they want extra water or daylight.

Grant-Mentis stated she did not assume she was capable of present her full potential within the time she was in Ottawa.

“Form of simply to show myself, to actually get myself going right here,” Grant-Mentis stated in regards to the alternative with Montreal. “If I will get within the lineup, simply to ensure I am persevering with mainly what I began in Ottawa to just about produce and do issues for this crew.”

Toronto retains profitable

Toronto’s win streak seemed to be in peril over the primary 40 minutes of Wednesday’s sport towards Boston. 

Toronto wasn’t shifting the puck successfully out of its personal zone, getting outshot 21-9 over the primary two frames. Stellar goaltending from backup Erica Howe stored the crew afloat.

However Toronto got here out for the third interval a unique crew. Two Boston penalties despatched Toronto to the ability play twice, and so they capitalized each instances on targets by Renata Quick and Natalie Spooner.

WATCH | Toronto defender Renata Quick mic’d up:

’Soupy’s too good’: Toronto’s Renata Quick in PWHL Mic’d Up

Be part of the 29-year-old defender from Burlington, Ont., on the ice towards Boston as CBC Sports activities presents Mic’d Up.

Chatting with Rob Pizzo on Hockey North this week, Toronto ahead Sarah Nurse stated the crew went right into a sport on the finish of January feeling prefer it was a must-win after dropping 5 of their first seven video games.

“Not essentially a mindset shift, nevertheless it was slightly bit extra give attention to execution, the little issues that have been going to make us profitable,” Nurse stated.

“As soon as we began executing, clearly that perception grows in your self and in your teammates. It is simply been nice. We have been having enjoyable.”

WATCH | Siblings Sarah, Isaac Nurse are one another’s largest followers:

Nurse siblings Sarah and Isaac are one another’s largest followers

Host Rob Pizzo is joined by PWHL Toronto’s Sarah Nurse and her brother Isaac Nurse, contemporary off his UNB Reds historic undefeated run to a 2nd-straight U Sports activities males’s hockey championship.

The following problem can be returning Toronto’s roster wholesome after the world championships. Seven Toronto gamers will compete at worlds starting April 3 in Utica, N.Y.

After that, Toronto will play all three of its April video games on the street.

Draft prospects on show

The winner of the 2024 Patty Kazmaier Award, given yearly to the most effective participant in girls’s school hockey, can be introduced Saturday.

A few of the greatest gamers within the league, together with Sophie Jaques, Taylor Heise and Alex Carpenter, are former recipients of the award.

This 12 months, the race has been narrowed down to 3 forwards, all of whom might be future stars within the PWHL: Cornell’s Izzy Daniel and Wisconsin’s Kirsten Simms and Casey O’Brien. All three have been invited to USA Hockey’s analysis camp forward of the world championship.

A female hockey player in a white jersey with a W on the sweater handles the puck during a game.
Wisconsin Badgers ahead Kirsten Simms is one in every of three gamers in competition for the Patty Kazmaier Award, given yearly to the most effective feminine school hockey participant. The winner can be introduced on Saturday. (Samantha Madar/Wisconsin State Journal through AP)

Simms, the youngest of the three, racked up 74 factors in 37 video games with Wisconsin in her second 12 months of faculty and was named participant of the 12 months within the Western Collegiate Hockey Affiliation. She scored a objective in her debut with the U.S. senior nationwide crew on the Rivalry Collection in December.

She and O’Brien, who has 71 factors in 39 video games, will tackle Colgate College on Friday for a spot within the NCAA championship sport. Clarkson and Ohio State will play within the different semifinal.

Daniel posted 59 factors in 34 video games with Cornell and was named the participant of the 12 months within the Japanese Faculty Athletic Convention.

O’Brien and Daniel are each seniors and will hear their names referred to as early on this summer season’s PWHL draft, ought to they determine to declare.

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