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Photo Credit: Nick Barden

PHF Weekend Update: Toronto Six drop into second place at the finish line

After leading the league for about the whole season, the Toronto Six lost their 1st place spot to their weekend opponent, the Connecticut Whale.

The Six were faced with a tough challenge, tied in standings points with the Whale going into the weekend, with 2 games and 6 points on the table. The PHF uses the 3 points per game system, 3 for a regulation win, 2 for an overtime win, and 1 for an overtime win or loss. Much, much better than the NHL’s system, in my opinion.

Anyway, with such an important meeting, the Six were surely psyched up and as prepared as they could be for the challenge.

Saturday March 19th

Here was the Six’s lineup for the weekend. They were without Amy Curlew, and Randi Marcon’s try-out appears to have finished. As such, they went with just 10 forwards and 7 defenders.

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The Six got off to a leading start with an Emma Woods goal off a great feed from Brooke Boquist:

Things were looking good for Toronto when the first period ended with this 1-goal lead. However, early in the second, the Whale’s rookie Taylor Girard got off on a breakaway to tie the game up:

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The Six got their lead back quickly though, as just a few minutes later Natalie Marcuzzi cleaned up in front of the net, sneaking the puck in while getting knocked over:

The Whale got the game tied back up on another slick breakaway, this time by Amanda Conway:

At the start of the 3rd period, the Whale took the lead by an Emma Vlasic goal. Breanne Wilson-Bennett tipped home a Lindsay Eastwood shot to retake the lead. The scorefest continued with the Whale’s star Kennedy Marchment walked in on another breakaway and beat Elaine Chuli to get the coveted 3rd period lead back:

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We don’t have the highlight but it was then Breanne Wilson-Bennett scoring after to tied the game up, which eventually sent it to OT. She has been insanely clutch for Toronto since rejoining them a month ago.

In overtime, it was no other than Mikyla Grant-Mentis scoring the game winner, as she banked the puck in off the Whale defender.

Sunday March 20th

The Six went with the exact same lineup for Sunday’s contest, so we can get straight into the highlights. Or at least, we would get straight into the highlights, if there were any (from the Six’s perspective anyway).

In part, they were shutout by a terrific performance by Mariah ‘Fuji’ Fujimigari, including stellar saves like this one:

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Partially, the Whale were on fire, executing skilled passing plays like this one, finished off by Alyssa Wohlfeiler:

Another big reason the Six lost so badly, 5-0 in the end, was because they took 8 minor penalties, and drew 0. That’s 8 powerplays for the Whale, that gave them control of the momentum for most of the game. Interestingly, the Six’s penalty kill was great, killing 7 of those 8 powerplays and only giving up the one in the latter half of the 3rd period, the Whale’s 5th and final goal, at which point the game was pretty well over.

Final Thoughts

Because the Whale’s win was in regulation, while the Six won in OT, Connecticut took the top of the table, crowning themselves regular season champions. They really had a fantastic season, led by PHF newcomer Kennedy Marchment, and proper rookie Taylor Girard, who each ended up in the top 5 for scoring leaders. Marchment even won the league scoring title, beating out Grant-Mentis by 3 points, after a 5-point final weekend.

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Both teams will get a bye in the first round of the Isobel Cup playoffs, meaning that the Six’s next game will be on Sunday March 27th at 4:30pm Eastern. They will play the highest ranked team who survives out of the weekend, which could be anyone but the Buffalo Beauts. Even if the Beauts upset the Boston Pride to advance to the semi-finals, whoever wins of the Metropolitan Riveters/Minnesota Whitecaps contest would play Toronto. Interestingly, Buffalo beat Boston twice this weekend, although nothing was on the line for either team.

The Whitecaps and Riveters split their season series, with two wins and 15 goals for each side in the 4 games they played against each other, so that series is a real coin toss.

I hope you’re as excited as I am for Isobel Cup weekend, as the Six shoot for their first ever championship in just their 2nd season in the league. The game will be on ESPN+ and TSN Direct’s bonus streaming content. It will not air on TSN on television. It’s not yet clear whether the game will also be broadcast on the league’s Twitch page (they have two of them for some reason, this is the first one and this is the second one). Anyway, I hope I’ll see you next weekend as the 2022 Isobel Cup Playoffs get underway!