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 Professional Women's Hockey League

Professional Women's Hockey League Pregame Primer - New York at Toronto

February 23, 2024 - Professional Women's Hockey League (PWHL) News Release


TORONTO, ON - The Professional Women's Hockey League (PWHL) schedule continues this week with a Friday night game between Toronto and New York, at 7:00 p.m. ET at Mattamy Athletic Centre. Tonight's game will be a Black History Month celebration.

WHERE TO WATCH

Fans in Canada can watch the game live on TSN4, TSN.ca, and the TSN app. Viewers in the United States can tune-in on MSG/MSGHD and stream on the league's YouTube channel. Daniella Ponticelli has the play-by-play call alongside analyst Cheryl Pounder.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH CELEBRATION

Tonight will be a celebration of Black History Month at Mattamy Athletic Centre with a number of different activations throughout the game. Staff and players will be wearing PWHL Black History Month shirts designed by Black artist Dana Mclean. Anthems will be performed by Scarborough-born, Jamaican-raised singer Christina Smith, who also performed during for the team's Feb. 3 game at MAC. The team will celebrate the success of the first-ever 'Nursey Night' held at Scotiabank Arena on Feb. 16. The initiative, which will continue tonight and throughout the season, is led by Sarah Nurse in support of Black Girl Hockey Club as a way to introduce more young girls to hockey and to help make the sport a more inclusive space. Throughout the month, PWHL Toronto has donated tickets to several local programs that serve under-represented communities with a commitment to accessibility and inspiring a new and diverse generation of hockey players and fans. Groups include Black Girl Hockey Club Canada, Hockey Diversity Alliance, Hockey Equality, Hockey 4 Youth, and Seaside Hockey. PWHL Toronto will also welcome members of the 2023 Isobel Cup champion Toronto Six to tonight's game - a team that notably included BIPOC ownership in Bernice Carnegie, Angela James, Bryant McBride, and Ted Nolan. Saroya Tinker, the PWHL's Manager of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives & Community Engagement was a T6 defender. Members of the former Toronto Six, along with honored guests and women's hockey trailblazers, gathered Thursday night at the Weston Golf and Country Club for a championship ring ceremony. In addition to Tinker, players from tonight's game who collected championship rings are Toronto's Brittany Howard and Carly Jackson, and New York's Emma Woods.

SETTING THE STAGE

The two hottest teams in the PWHL meet for the fourth time to wrap up their first-half schedules. Toronto (5-1-0-5) is in third place with 17 points, just four points back of first place Minnesota and Montréal, while New York (2-4-1-4) is in a fourth-place tie with Boston with 15 points. A lot has changed for both teams since they last met four weeks ago at Mattamy Athletic Centre. Toronto's 2-0 win over New York on Jan. 26 was their first at home and the first of four straight in regulation - a season-high streak they continue to ride. The stretch has also included a 4-1 win over Minnesota on Feb. 3, a 5-3 win in Boston on Feb. 14, and a 3-0 shutout over Montréal in last Friday's historic Battle on Bay Street before a record crowd of 19,285 at Scotiabank Arena. New York has collected seven of a possible 12 points since then in four straight overtime games, including three straight victories. They dropped a 2-1 decision to Minnesota on Jan. 28, then beat Ottawa 4-3 on Feb. 4, Boston 2-1 on Feb. 17, and Montréal 3-2 in a shootout on Wednesday at UBS Arena for their first win on home ice. Toronto has won three straight games at home since losing their first three. New York has won five of its seven road games. Don't be surprised if this game has lots of third period scoring. Both New York and Toronto are tied for the league-lead with 12 third period goals which exceeds the 12 and 13 they have respectively produced in first and second periods combined. The teams will play one more time after tonight, Apr. 24 at Bridgeport's Total Mortgage Arena.

THE SEASON SERIES SO FAR

Toronto leads the season series with two wins to one, with all three games settled in regulation. New York won the historic season opener 4-0 on Jan. 1 at Mattamy Athletic Centre led by a 29-save shutout by Corinne Schroeder. Ella Shelton famously scored the first goal in PWHL history, and top scorer Alex Carpenter picked up a goal and an assist. Toronto won the rematch on Jan. 5 at Total Mortgage Arena by a 3-2 score, with Natalie Spooner netting the franchise's first goal. Emma Maltais scored the first shorthanded 'jailbreak' goal in league history which held as the game-winner. Spooner scored both goals in the team's 2-0 win on Jan. 26, and Kristen Campbell earned the shutout victory with a 19-save performance. Points leaders in three head-to-head games include Spooner with three goals, Carpenter with two goals and one assist, and New York's Chloé Aurard with three assists. Campbell has two wins, including one shutout and a three-game save percentage of .923. Schroeder also has a shutout and a .966 SV% in two starts against Toronto.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Tonight's game features the league's top two scorers including New York's Alex Carpenter with 14 points and Toronto's Natalie Spooner with 11 points in 11 games. Spooner leads the league with 10 goals, followed by Carpenter with eight. Carpenter is riding an impressive stretch with points in four straight games that totals five goals and one assist and includes back-to-back overtime winners. In addition to her powerplay and shorthanded goal on Wednesday against Montréal, Carpenter scored the decisive goal in the fourth round of the shootout. Spooner was held without a point last Friday following an incredible streak of seven goals and one assist in a three-game run. Her Valentine's Day hat trick against Boston earned her PWHL First Star of the Week. Sarah Nurse (2G 4A), Emma Maltais (1G 5A), and Rebecca Leslie (6A) are all tied for second in Toronto scoring with six points. Jesse Compher is one of three players on the team with five points and has a two-game streak intact following her first PWHL goal last Friday - the game-winner over Montréal. Defender Ella Shelton (3G 6A) is second in New York scoring with nine points, followed by forwards Jessie Eldridge (4G 4A) and Abby Roque (2G 6A) with eight points each. Roque has five points in her last three games. Defender Jaime Bourbonnais has compiled four of her season's six points on a current three-game streak. Toronto goaltender Kristen Campbell was named PWHL Second Star of the Week and has five straight wins, including two shutouts, with a .947 save percentage in that stretch.

OLYMPIC MEMORIES

Yesterday marked the six-year anniversary of the United States' Olympic gold medal in women's hockey with a 3-2 shootout victory over Canada on Feb. 22, 2018, in South Korea. Playing in late February surely brings countless memories for the 17 Olympians on these two rosters with a combined 26 medals, including Toronto's Kali Flanagan who won gold in that game. Other Olympians on Toronto include Kristen Campbell (2022 Gold), Jesse Compher (2022 Silver), Renata Fast (2018 Silver, 2022 Gold), Jocelyne Larocque (2014 Gold, 2018 Silver, 2022 Gold), Emma Maltais (2022 Gold), Sarah Nurse (2018 Silver, 2022 Gold), Lauriane Rougeau (2014 Gold, 2018 Silver), Natalie Spooner (2014 Gold, 2018 Silver, 2022 Gold), Blayre Turnbull (2018 Silver, 2022 Gold). Olympians on New York include Alex Carpenter (2014 Silver, 2022 Silver), Johanna Fällman (2018, 2022), Abby Roque (2022 Silver), Jill Saulnier (2018 Silver, 2022 Gold), Ella Shelton (2022 Gold), Claire Thompson (2022 Gold), Micah Zandee-Hart (2022 Gold).

KEEPING AN EYE ON COLLEGE HOCKEY

The "second season" has arrived for three of the five conferences in NCAA Division I women's hockey. While one week of regular-season hockey remains in both Hockey East and the WCHA, conference tournaments begin this weekend in the CHA, ECAC Hockey and NEWHA. A number of PWHL New York and Toronto players will be keeping an eye on their alma mater competing in this weekend's games. The CHA Semifinals consist of two best-of-three series underway Friday, including #1 Penn State against #4 RIT - where Taylor Baker (NY) attended. In the other series, its #2 Mercyhurst, where Jess Jones (TOR) and Alexa Vasko (TOR) graduated, against #3 Robert Morris, where Brittany Howard (TOR) played. The ECAC Quarterfinals consist of four single-elimination games on Saturday that feature seeds six through 12. Quinnipiac, where Emma Woods (NY) was a former captain, is ranked #5 taking on #12 Harvard. Maggie Connors (TOR) and Claire Thompson (NY) will cheer on their #7 Princeton against #10 Dartmouth, and Alexa Gruschow (NY) will root for her former RPI squad ranked #9 against #8 Brown. The other matchup features #6 Yale against #11 Union.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

"I think that we've been playing some of our best hockey so far, but I know we have a lot more to give. I think that just keeping up with the compete level that we've had, the physicality, and the speed, I mean, since the start of the year I think that we've made huge progress and we've just got to keep it up and keep playing how we are." - Jesse Compher, Toronto

"As a group we continue to trend in the right direction. New York will be a good test for us following their big win over Montréal. We had a good week of practice so we will be ready to go. We would like to thank our amazing fans for their incredible support of our organization and the PWHL." - Troy Ryan, Toronto

"It was a big moment for our group, getting our first win at home. It's something we are looking to build off of as we approach the game today. We all know how important every game is as we look forward, and tonight is no different. We plan to head back home with three points." - Emma Woods, New York

"Our on-ice team play is starting to come together of late which has translated into a few back-to-back wins. As a result, there's perhaps a higher sense of belief among the group. We'll need to lean on that a bit tonight against the tough challenge that Toronto will bring." - Howie Draper, New York

QUICK HITS

New York (+3) is tied for first in goal differential and Toronto (-1) is tied for fourth...New York (2.45) is third in goals-per-game average and Toronto (2.36) ranks fourth...New York (2.18) allows the third fewest goals-per-game and Toronto (2.45) averages the third most...New York has scored first in six of its 11 games, Toronto in five of their 11 games...Both New York and Toronto lead the league with 12 third period goals...Toronto's 12 third period goals comes despite their lowest period shot count compared to New York's highest...Toronto (+35) is second in shot differential and New York (-71) ranks sixth...Toronto (29.55) is third in shots-per-game average and New York (27.36) is fourth...Toronto (26.27) allows the fewest shots-per-game and New York (33.82) allows the most shots on average...Toronto has outshot its opponent in eight of 11 games, New York has been outshot in 10 of its 11 games...Both New York and Toronto average 7.09 penalty minutes per game which is tied for second in the league...New York (7/31) is second in powerplay efficiency at 22.6%...Toronto (3/34) ranks third on the PP at 8.8%...Toronto (34/36) is first in penalty kill efficiency at 94.4%...New York (30/34) ranks third on the PK at 88.2%...Alex Carpenter (NY) leads the league with 14 points...Natalie Spooner (TOR) leads the league with 10 goals...Ella Shelton (NY) is second in scoring among defenders with nine points...Carpenter and Spooner are tied for the lead with three powerplay goals...Carpenter leads with six powerplay points, followed by teammates Shelton (5) and Abby Roque (4)...Carpenter and Emma Maltais (TOR) are tied for the league-lead with one shorthanded goal...New York's Jade Downie-Landry and Roque are tied for the league-lead with 12 penalty minutes...Spooner is tied for the league-lead with 47 shots on goal...Carpenter is third in shots on goal with 43...Sarah Nurse (70/129) leads Toronto with a 54.3% face-off efficiency...Blayre Turnbull (44.4%) leads the team with 160 draws...Carpenter (119/200) has taken the most New York draws and leads her team with a 59.5% face-off win rate...Kristen Campbell (TOR) leads the league with six wins and two shutouts and carries a goals-against-average of 2.35 and save percentage of .913...Corinne Schroeder (NY) is tied for second with five wins and one shutout and has a 1.83 GAA and .947 SV% that both rank second...New York is rolling out the same forward lines and defensive pairings as utilized in their Wednesday night win.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

TORONTO:

Miller | Nurse | Spooner

Maltais | Turnbull | Connors

Bach | Compher | Howard

Cogan | Vasko | Leslie

Willoughby

Larocque | Fast

Munroe | Flanagan

Rougeau | Knowles

Campbell | Howe

Scratches: Jackson, Poulin-Labelle

NEW YORK:

Saulnier | Carpenter | Roque

Aurard | Downie-Landry | Eldridge

Levis | Woods | Giguère

Vespa | Labelle | Packer

Zandee-Hart | Baker

Hobson | Bourbonnais

Fällman | Shelton

Schroeder | Levy

Scratches: Norcross, Post, Zafuto

OFFICIALS:

Referees: Alexandra Clarke (Griffith, SK) and Damian Figueria (Toronto, ON).

Linespersons: Dustin McCrank (Guelph, ON) and Erin Zach (Cambridge ON).

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