PHF playoffs begin — Secret Cup awarded — NCAA and ACHA Division I Tournament news — must-click women’s hockey links
The IX: Hockey Friday with Eleni Demestihas, Mar. 17, 2023
Happy Friday! Back to normal business over here as the PHF head into playoffs and the NCAA and ACHA tournaments are ongoing. I’ll give you a quick recap of the PWHPA playoffs and a rundown on where we stand with everything else.
Before we get into playoffs and companionships, on Thursday, The Athletic released an article about former NWHL (PHF) commissioner and founder, Dani Rylan. The article goes into detail about the circumstances surrounding her departure from the league, which, until now, had not been discussed in detail. You can and should read it here
I would also recommend giving this article a read, by Ian Kennedy at The Hockey News, about the Boston Pride’s attempt to three-peat this year.
You can follow along with the ACHA DI women’s hockey playoffs by following the league’s Twitter account.
On Thursday, the first day of the tournament, Maryville (6) took on Arizona (7) and beat them 2-0. McKendree (8) took on Indiana Tech (5) and Indiana Tech took that game by a score of 1-0. Then University of Michigan (9) took on the Adrian Bulldogs (4), resulting in a 4-2 win for Adrian. In the final Thursday game, Miami (10) took on Minot State (3), resulting in a 7-0 win for Minot State.
At the NCAA DI level, the Frozen Four begins now, with the championship to be played on Sunday.
The first semifinal will be at 3:30 p.m. ET between Northeastern and Ohio State.
At 7 p.m. ET, Minnesota will face Wisconsin in the second semifinal.
Wisconsin defeated Colgate to advance after a rough (by their standards) season left some questioning if the perennial competitor still had it in them to make this stage of the tournament. I still feel robbed that Yale and Northeastern played so early on, because Yale had an incredible year and I would have loved to see them play on. Quinnipiac led early but ultimately fell to Ohio State, who look more or less headed for a repeat unless Northeastern pulls off a serious upset.
After winning almost every single available award, Team Harvey’s played their way to a championship win and hoisted the Secret Cup last weekend. You can read about the PWHPA awards and Team Harvey’s’ near-sweep here thanks to Simon Hopkins at The Ice Garden.
The most exciting part of the playoffs, to me, was fourth-ranked Team Sonnet taking this dominant Harvey’s team to overtime in their semifinal. Emily Clark ended up bagging the winner, but kudos to Sonnet for pushing Harvey’s to that point after having a mostly disappointing season on their end.
The other semifinal also went to overtime, between Team Scotiabank and Team adidas, who I felt were more closely matched. Team adidas ended up giving up a 3-1 lead and losing in overtime thanks to a tremendous breakaway goal from Blayre Turnbull, who would have been my MVP vote.
The championship game itself was a barn burner, ultimately ending in controversy. A 4-4 game with barely more than 40 seconds left in the third period, and Jessie Eldridge scored, giving Team Harvey’s the lead. Team Scotiabank challenged the goal, protesting that Marie-Philip Poulin’s position in the crease interfered with Emeranfe Maschmeyer’s ability to make a save. The refs determined the goal was good, though, and Team Harvey’s ended up winning 5-4.
Finally, the PHF semifinal series began on Thursday with the first Boston vs. Minnesota game.
Perhaps shockingly, Minnesota (4) ended up beating Boston (1) by a score of 5-2, although the final two goals were empty-netters. Minnesota did not trail at all during the game, which was also their first win after an eight-game losing streak. Boston will likely be annoyed at the third period, where they took an ill advised too-many-men penalty that resulted in the game winner, and then suffered an obvious missed penalty that would have given them an opportunity to tie the game again on the powerplay. Hopefully Olivia Zafuto, who was tripped and seemed to hurt her leg, will be good to go by Saturday. She finished the game, but it didn’t look fun, and losing her would bring Boston down to 4D.
The biggest star of this game was Jonna Albers, who has a hat trick in a truly fun way: a shorthanded goal, a powerplay goal and the second of the two empty net goals. She had not recorded a goal in the playoffs before this game, which makes that hat trick even better. Plus, her celebration on the powerplay goal was adorable:
Toronto and Connecticut open up their series on Friday night, with Minnesota and Boston playing again on Saturday.
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