Dream Gap Tour updates — PHF splits — Is Connecticut the state of hockey?

The IX: Hockey Friday with Eleni Demestihas, Jan. 27, 2023

Happy Friday everyone, and thanks for being with us. In the wake of SB Nation cutting its hockey coverage, particularly The Ice Garden, I just want to say I really appreciate you for subscribing to this newsletter and supporting women’s sports. It’s more important than you might realize.

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In the PHF, we had some wild matchups last week. In the last newsletter I mentioned that the Six signed standout NCAA alum Daryl Watts—she made an immediate impact, registering her first pro point in her first pro game when she assisted Toronto’s first goal in a 7-4 win over Connecticut. Brianne Wilson-Bennett, Brittany Howard and Tereza Vanišová each had two goals in that romp. 

After getting beaten soundly on Saturday, the Whale turned around and beat Toronto 4-1 on Sunday, off of a two-goal game from Kennedy Marchment and an impressive performance from Abbie Ives, who ended the game with a .969 save percentage (SV%).

The struggling Beauts finally pulled out a win on Saturday against the visiting Riveters to the tune of a 4-1 scoreline. This was netminder Lovisa Berndtsson’s first PHF win, and it was a doozy with a .976 SV% and first-star honors.

The most exciting thing about this win, to me, is that the Beauts had four different goal-scorers, and 10 different Beauts recorded a point. It was definitely a step in the right direction, even if it was against a struggling Riveters team. Unfortunately, on Sunday, the Beauts relapsed into chaos, falling 8-1. Kelly Babstock had two goals and an assist, and former Beaut Kennedy Ganser had two assists.

The Boston Pride split their series as well, winning their first game against Montreal 5-0 before losing in overtime on Sunday. Loren Gabel scored four (four!) goals on Saturday, Élizabeth Giguère and Kali Flanagan each had three assists, and yes, Corinne Schroeder got another shutout—but she also assisted on one of Gabel’s goals. Schroeder had to make 50 saves to get that shutout, too. It’s not like she had an easy night.

The second game of that series was much closer. Gabel scored again, because why not? In overtime, the Pride’s Sammy Davis collided with Montreal’s Christine Deaudelin. Deaudelin was pretty badly injured and needed to be stretchered off the ice, and Davis was assessed a tripping penalty (I personally think it was probably interference, not tripping). On the ensuing powerplay in OT, Montreal pulled out a gutsy, passionate win thanks to Jade Downie-Landry’s goal. Montreal goalie Marie-Soleil Deschênes ended the game with a .973 SV%.

After that weekend, the Pride are atop the standings, followed by Toronto. Connecticut was able to keep Toronto out of first place, but the series split means they didn’t gain as much ground on the third-place Whitecaps as they would have liked. Montreal has leapfrogged the Riveters after the Beauts were able to steal one at home. If, as has been rumored, only the top four teams go to the playoffs this year, that would include Boston, Toronto, Minnesota and Connecticut.

Later this week, newcomer Daryl Watts revealed the size of her PHF deal, which will be a record $150,000 next season–exactly 10% of the expanded cap.

Last weekend, the PWHPA played a series of games in Ontario. Both Team Harvey’s—at the top of the standings—and Team Scotiabank won both of their games. It was a big weekend for Team Scotiabank, who has struggled more than one might have expected looking at their roster. Rebecca Johnston had an impressive weekend, but the real story for Team Scotiabank was their goalies. Both Emereance Maschmeyer and Kristen Campbell played incredibly well, especially against Team adidas, where they combined for a 3-0 shutout.

Although Team Sonnet was able to hang in close with the dominant Team Harvey’s, one thing that Team Sonnet doesn’t have is Marie-Philip Poulin. She scored a late game-winner to win the game 3-2 for Team Harvey’s. Bet you’ve never seen a 3-2 scoreline with a Poulin game-winner before.

This weekend was Amanda Kessel’s debut in the 2022-2023 Dream Gap Tour season, which was ultimately the main highlight for Team Sonnet. She broke Team Harvey’s shutout bid on Sunday, but Team Sonnet, like Team adidas, lost both of their games last weekend. You can read a more in-depth recap of the weekend here.

Taking a moment to check in on the NCAA and ask the question we’re all thinking: is Connecticut the state of hockey?

There are three Connecticut teams in the NCAA rankings currently: Yale (3), Quinnipiac (4), and UConn (14). Minnesota (3) may still be in the top five, but three of the top five teams are outside the WCHA with Colgate taking the number five spot. Yes, Ohio State is still dominating with a 22-2-2 record, but Yale is 19-1-1 and just beat Quinnipiac last weekend. 

Meanwhile, UConn got a fancy new rink and broke it in with two back to back wins against Merrimack and UVM. Last weekend, they beat Boston College last weekend and tied with Providence (13). Keep an eye on the Connecticut schools and particularly on the ECAC as a conference. They may be stronger than the rankings are making them appear.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Eleni Demestihas