Rivalry Series update — PHF standings shakeup — Must-click women’s hockey links

The IX: Hockey Friday with Eleni Demestihas, Dec. 23, 2022

Happy Friday and happy holidays! This week I’ll update you on last week’s PHF slate and the Rivalry Series, then send you into the weekend with some fun links.

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(Editor’s note: This is the last Hockey Friday of 2022. The IX is off next week, and Hockey Friday returns Jan. 6, 2023.)

Last weekend in the PHF, we saw a series between the Force and the Whitecaps in Minnesota, a series between the Six and the Beauts in Buffalo, and the Pride and Riveters each played a game in Connecticut against the Whale. This is the first weekend of the season where Boston has not topped the PHF standings. Today, Toronto is on top of the table with 22 points, having displaced Boston, who sits at 19.

Toronto was helped massively by a weekend sweep of the Beauts, who have stalled out at the bottom of the table. The first of those two games last weekend was the Buffalo Believes Classic outdoor game at Riverworks in Buffalo, which is always a great time, even if it’s cold. Toronto opened the scoring in that game courtesy of Brittany Howard, who continues to lead the league in goals and points. Buffalo tied the game up in the second period thanks to Claudia Kepler, but Lexi Templeman won the game for Toronto with a goal in the third period after assisting Howard’s first-period goal as well.

The two teams opened the game wide up on Saturday, scoring a total of 10 goals in a 6-4 win for Toronto. Four different Beauts scored (Summer-Rae Dobson, Claudia Kepler, Mikyla Grant-Mentis and captain Dominique Kremer), but it wasn’t enough to put the game away. Toronto captain Shiann Darkangelo had four points (three assists and a goal of her own).

Unfortunately for Buffalo, goalie Kassidy Sauvé was injured in Friday’s game. We don’t know the extent of the injury and she may be good to go by their next game in January, but it was enough for the Beauts to sign Tera Hofmann to another PTO to back up Lovisa Berndtsson on Saturday. A real bummer, because Sauvé was playing quite well behind a Buffalo team that was struggling to help her out.

The Montreal-Minnesota series ended in a split. After a convincing 5-2 win on Saturday, the Whitecaps dropped the Sunday game to Montreal, 4-1. Saturday’s game was all about Natalie Snodgrass. The rookie recorded her first-ever professional hat trick, on her birthday, in Minnesota’s amazing Christmas jerseys:

Sam Isbell assisted both Force goals on Saturday, assisted another on Sunday, and scored her own on Sunday as well, making it her best weekend yet in the league. Goalie Marie-Soleil Deschênes was the star on Sunday, though, with a truly ridiculous .976 SV%. A third Montreal player I want to shout out is Jade Downie-Landry, who is now tied with Kati Tabin (TOR) and Patti Marshall (MIN) for the league lead in assists with seven. 

Finally, both the Riveters and the Pride got a shot at the Whale this weekend. On Saturday the Riveters beat the Whale 5-2 on the back of a huge, three-goal second period performance. Mäkinen made forty saves, Amanda Pelkey had two goals, multiple Riveters had two assists (Fanni Garát-Gasparics, Madison Packer, and Kennedy Ganser) and ultimately the Whale just couldn’t keep up. We did see a pretty sweet shorthanded goal from Taylor Girard, though.

On Sunday the Whale turned their weekend around massively with a huge 6-4 win over Boston that helped Toronto bump the Pride into second place. Both Caitrin Lonergan (CT) and Olivia Zafuto (BOS) scored their first professional goals during this game, and Loren Gabel scored two goals herself. Corinne Schroeder may have allowed five goals, but she faced 52 shots and still ended up with a SV% above .900. Taylor Girard had three assists, Kennedy Marchment had two goals, Kateřina Mrázová chipped in with a goal and an assist; it was all around absolutely the kind of game we’ve expected from the Whale all along. If they can keep up that level, they’ll soon join Toronto and Boston at the top of the table.

After Team USA won the first three games of the Rivalry series, they’ve lost two straight to Canada, this time in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

In Vegas, USA captain Kendall Coyne Schofield connected with Amanda Kessel to open the scoring. It was a classic Coyne Schofield assist, by which I mean she hustled hard and did most of the work (this is a compliment) while her teammate got open and put the puck on the net. It’s been years and nobody has an answer to Coyne Schofield when she turns on the jets like that—I would guess that there probably is none.

In the second period, Jamie Lee Rattray and Blayre Turnbull scored to give Canada the lead going into the third period. Hilary Knight tied the game in the third with her seventh point of the series, but with less than ten minutes left in the game Sarah Nurse scored the game-winner to give Canada their first win of the series.

Then in Los Angeles, Canada won 3-2 once more, this time in overtime (a scoreline and situation that is extremely familiar to both teams, as we know). Cayla Barnes, a California native, opened the scoring and triggered the Teddy Bear Toss.

Marie-Philip Poulin appeared to be injured in the first period but returned in the second. Laura Stacey tied the game in the second period, and then, on the powerplay, Marie-Philip Poulin assisted the go-ahead goal by Sarah FIllier. With their backs against the wall in the third period, Team USA tied the game thanks to Taylor Heise.

Heise also had Team USA’s only shot on goal in overtime. Team Canada won thanks to newcomer Danielle Serdachny’s first ever senior team goal. An overtime game-winner is a great way to open your account.

There’s not a new episode quite yet (though a holiday one is coming), but one podcast I’d recommend catching up on over your holiday break is Tendy Love & Care on YouTube.

She Plays Fantasy has added the PHF to the leagues they support, so you can (and should) make a PHF fantasy team, join a league, or both, which you can do on their website here.

Dan Rice spoke with Connecticut Whale rookie Lenka Serdar recently, and you can read his article about that here.

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