The Toronto Six started this game looking for redemption and that’s exactly what they got. In their previous matchup with the Minnesota Whitecaps they went from what looked like a sure win, to an overtime loss. As the puck dropped for tonight’s game, The Six were fast, focused, and ready to win.
With Brooke Boquist, Emma Woods, and Kristen Barbara out of the lineup, there were shoes to fill, and the rest of the team had to step up. And, guess what? They did just that.
From an early lead, to a game filled with lots of goals and penalties, the Toronto Six came out with a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Whitecaps, to extend their winning streak to three games.
for a full play by play recap of the game.
The Good (and Great)
This game was as speedy as they come. The Toronto Six dominated the first period, more than doubling the shots of the Whitecaps at 15-7 (and a final tally of 45-31), that included a lot of good looks and scoring chances. Elaine Chuli started in net and played a strong and solid game for The Six. Chuli denied the Whitecaps of getting anything past her in the first period, helping The Six build momentum and confidence as the game continued.
Mikyla Grant-Mentis opened the scoring for The Six just over seven minutes into the game, and also tallied the game winning goal with 23 seconds left in the third period. Grant-Mentis is now the league wide leader in goals
, with Taylor Woods, Breanne Wilson-Bennett, and Brooke Boquist rounding out the rest of the top 5 in the NWHL.
To add to the excitement of tonight’s game, Sarah-Eve Coutu Godbout scored her first ever goal in the NWHL as she helped the Toronto Six take their third (yes, third) lead of the game.
The Six have only continued to improve their game since the beginning of the NWHL’s season. They’re making plays, shooting the puck, and playing a physical game. Maybe they’re realizing that the chances of winning the Isobel Cup are becoming more realistic and clear, but they’ve been playing a fairly steady game, day in and day out. It looks like the nervous ‘first-day’ jitters have worn off, and they’re ready to show the rest of the league what they’ve been working on.
And just in case you missed it earlier – but also because I like saying it, the Toronto Six are currently on a three game winning streak, with one more game determining seeding, before the Semifinals begin.
The Not so Good
Alright, let’s get into it. Yes, the Toronto Six won, but they took far too many penalties in this game, and almost gave up a short-handed goal in the first period which could have drastically changed the energy of the game. Their first period of play is what you want to see for a full 60 minutes on the ice. Instead, The Six racked up a total of six penalties, while the Whitecaps were called for four. The Whitecaps managed to score 2 of their 3 goals on The Six’s penalties, which means that they need to either stay out of the box, or work on their Penalty Kill …or preferably both.
The Whitecaps also managed to tie the game up at 2-2, with less than a minute left in the second period of play. Again, the Toronto Six need to play their full 60. As proven in this game with goals from both teams in the last minutes play, those final minutes are important, and can make all the difference.
In the post-game presser, Digit Murphy noted that yes, the Toronto Six is still learning. It’s still their first year in the NWHL, after all. With some of their top line out tonight, it gave the team a chance to try different looks and positions to find what works. Murphy also noted that going forward, The Six need to take less penalties, but that doesn’t mean that she wants them to change the physicality to their play. This team is strong, and a force to be reckoned with, they just need to stay out of the box.
The Isobel Cup Finals are near! With the Metropolitan Riveters withdrawing from the tournament, the NWHL has had to revamp their schedules to determine seeding
and play. Seeds 1, 2, and 3 for the Semifinals will be determined after the Toronto Six, Minnesota Whitecaps, and Connecticut Whale have all played each other once more. After tonight’s game, the Toronto Six have one more game to play before their seeding is determined. The fourth seed will be determined between play of the Boston Pride and Buffalo Beauts. Once seeding for the top four teams are determined, the Semifinals will be played on February 4th, and the Isobel Cup Final will be played on February 5th.
But, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Seeing as this is Toronto Six’s first year in the NWHL, supporters and fans of The Six are excited and want to see their team win. During the post-game presser, Murphy noted that the Toronto Six is enjoying their experience in the league and taking it one game at a time. When asked what their thoughts are on the rest of the tournament, Murphy noted that they only want to make Toronto proud, and no matter what the outcome, they’re here to stay.
Check out the Toronto Six as they take on the Connecticut Whale, on Sunday, January 31st at 6pm on twitch.tv/nwhl.