PHF Weekend Recap: 2 OT wins over the Boston Pride keep the Toronto Six in the league lead, barely
Photo credit:Nick Barden
By Ryan Hobart1 year ago
The Toronto Six faced the Boston Pride this weekend for the PHF’s Rivalry Weekend series, exemplifying that the Toronto/Boston competition exists in this league too. This was also Toronto’s last home stint of the season, as they approach the end of the season next weekend.
Going into the weekend, the Six held a 3-point lead over the Connecticut Whale for the league lead. They’ll face the Whale next weekend in what will undoubtedly be an intense pair of games to decide the regular season leader going into the Isobel Cup playoffs the weekend after. The Whale were also on a 10 game winning streak, which they extended to 12 games. The last game they lost was against Toronto and they haven’t faced Toronto since. All indications point to Toronto being the best team in the league at the end of the regular season this year, but, focusing back on this weekend, the two games against Boston were important to give the Six a chance at holding their league lead.
This weekend was the debut for a new forward for the Toronto Six, as they announced that they had signed Randi Marcon to a Professional Tryout Agreement (PTO) allowing her to play and practice with the Six but for a short just a duration. Usually, this is used for one of two reasons: a fill-in player to get past injuries, or a final test before signing a full contract. It’s not clear what path is the future for Marcon just yet. She’s a 24-year old who played at Quinnipiac University, graduating in 2019. She hadn’t played professional hockey before, but that could partly be due to the pandemic, or it could be for other unknown factors.
Saturday March 12th
Here’s how Toronto’s lineup looked for the Saturday game:
They got off to a bit of a slow start, as Boston opened the scoring on a quick faceoff shot by Christina Putigna that fooled All-Star Game MVP Elaine Chuli.
The first period ended with the Pride leading 1-0. Midway through the second, recent re-signing Breanne Wilson-Bennett created a great rush chance, and last year’s league MVP and current league scoring leader Mikyla Grant-Mentis made no mistake in finishing the chance to tie the game up:
Wilson-Bennett wasn’t done there. After the game’s score held firm until the end of the third, overtime was needed to settle this game, and Wilson-Bennett came up clutch to win the game, in her classic cleaning-up-in-front-of-the-net fashion:
Her heroics earned her the 1st star of the game, which was a pretty easy selection for a 2-point player in a 2-1 win. Grant-Mentis got the 2nd star for her goal, and Pride goaltender Katie Burt got the 3rd star for surviving the Six’s barrage of 39 shots.
Sunday March 13th
Once again, the Six went with a 7D lineup, but shifted the forward group slightly, as they were one short without Mikyla Grant-Mentis for this one:
It’s not clear what caused her absence, but regardless, it was a good opportunity for Randi Marcon to step up into a bigger role and potentially earn a contract.
Undoubtedly, that presented a challenge for Toronto, but this is a team well coached and built to face adversity. They’ve never shied away from it in their short history, and they didn’t this weekend either.
Once again, Boston got off to the scoring lead as a great rush play is finished by McKenna Brand:
Without Grant-Mentis, it was Shiann Darkangelo who stepped up in a very captain-ly fashion to lead the Six’s offense in this game. Her opening goal immediately answered Boston’s, and made this look like a potential shootout early:
That shootout suspicion was confirmed as the Pride scored again putting them up 2-1, this time by Boston’s energetic rookie Taylor Wenczkowski:
But Toronto responded, still in the 1st period, tying it up again. This time it was Brooke Boquist stepping up to do the cleanup work:
Mckenna Brand was back in the second period, continuing this offensive showcase, making it 3-2 for Boston early in the 2nd on this fantastic shot:
That lead held on for a long time, and it looked like Boston was going to split this series with Toronto, putting the Six at risk of losing the league lead. But BWB, Breanne Wilson-Bennett played hero again, getting the game-tying goal very late in the 3rd on the powerplay:
This game was then off to overtime, just like the day prior, and just like the day prior, it was Toronto who was able to get the win. This epic feed by Emma Woods set up captian Darkangelo perfectly, and she made no mistake beating Victoria Hanson high glove:
The 3 stars for this one were pretty interesting, as 3-points Emma Woods got 2nd star, game winning goal scorer Darkangelo got the 1st star, which is certainly fair, but then Taylor Wenczkowski got the 3rd star over some of her teammate who had double the goals, McKenna Brand.
This was a key weekend for the Six to maintain their top position in the league. It could be the difference between playing Boston or a lower ranked team in the semi finals (they will get a 1st round bye regardless of finishing 1st or 2nd).
Next weekend, though, is the final regular season showdown between Connecticut and Toronto to decide first place. It’ll be an exciting set of games, no doubt. Connecticut is just 1 standings point behind Toronto. With a 3 point standings format (3 for regulation win, 2 for OT/SO win, 1 for OT/SO loss), they could even end up tied at the end of the season in standings points. Toronto would have the edge in that case, by head-to-head matchups, because they already have 2 wins over Connecticut earlier in the season.
However it shakes out, it’s going to be good hockey. They’ll play on Saturday March 19th at 3pm and Sunday March 20th at 1pm (EDT for both). I look forward to seeing you there and crowning the Six the regular season champions, on their way to their first ever Isobel Cup!
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