PWHL’s first month sees three attendance records plus a visit from Canada’s Prime Minister
TORONTO, ON (January 29, 2024) – Here’s a look at highlights from the fourth week of the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) season that’s now played 22 games through January, plus a look ahead to this week’s action.
PWHL SETS A THIRD ATTENDANCE MARK – A CANADIAN RECORD FOR PRO WOMEN’S HOCKEY
When a crowd of 8,646 packed Place Bell on Saturday as Montréal hosted Ottawa, the attendance set a record for a professional women’s hockey game played in Canada — surpassing the crowd of 8,318 on Jan. 2 when these two teams met at The Arena at TD Place. The worldwide record for a pro women’s hockey game was set on Jan. 6 when Minnesota hosted Montréal before 13,316 at Xcel Energy Center. The league’s total attendance is 106,658 through 22 games for an average of 4,848.
PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU ATTENDS PWHL GAME IN OTTAWA
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended Wednesday’s PWHL game between Boston and Ottawa at The Arena at TD Place. Accompanied by his son Xavier and daughter Ella-Grace, the Prime Minister addressed the home team before the game and was presented a PWHL Ottawa jersey by captain Brianne Jenner. Trudeau watched the game in the stands, sitting alongside Canadian Minister of Sport and Physical Activity, Carla Qualtrough, and Ontario Women’s Hockey Association President, Fran Rider.
PLAYER SAFETY DIRECTIVE
Following a review by the PWHL Player Safety Committee, Boston’s Taylor Wenczkowski was suspended for Saturday’s game following an illegal hit to the head Wednesday against Ottawa. Player safety is a top priority for the PWHL. The league, in consultation with the PWHLPA, has communicated to all teams that hits to the head will not be tolerated.
MÜLLER AND CARPENTER LEAD SCORING RACE
Boston’s Alina Müller and New York’s Alex Carpenter are tied for the league lead with nine points and are the only two PWHL players with a points-per-game average over 1.00. Müller, currently on a four-game point streak, has two goals and a league-high seven assists in six games. Carpenter has three goals and six assists in eight games played. Ella Shelton (NY) leads all defenders with eight points, which includes a league-high five power-play points. She’s tied for third in league scoring with Minnesota’s Grace Zumwinkle, whose eight points include six goals. A trio of Montréal forwards have seven points including captain Marie-Philip Poulin, who has six goals and one assist, while both Maureen Murphy and Tereza Vanišová have one goal and six assists. See all points leaders here.
STANDINGS THROUGH JANUARY
Minnesota (3-2-2-1) and Montréal (3-2-2-1) share equal records with 15 points that lead the PWHL standings at month’s end. Montréal won the latest head-to-head matchup with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday that handed Minnesota its first regulation loss of the season. Montréal’s 2-1 overtime triumph on Saturday against Ottawa gave them consecutive wins for the first time all season, while Minnesota’s 2-1 overtime win against New York snapped a season-high two-game losing streak. Boston (2-2-0-2) picked up five of a possible six points in two games last week, including a regulation win in Ottawa and an overtime win over Minnesota, and rank third overall with 10 points. Ottawa (2-0-3-1) earned four of a possible nine points in last week’s three games by virtue of a regulation win against Toronto and an overtime loss to Montréal. Ottawa has nine points, tied for fifth with New York (2-1-1-4). New York salvaged one point in its overtime loss to Minnesota. Toronto (2-1-0-5) ranks sixth with eight points and picked up two points with a regulation win against New York. See the full standings here.
CHULI AND DESBIENS TOP 40 SAVES
In consecutive games last week, Montréal goaltenders Elaine Chuli and Ann-Renée Desbiens posted the season’s two highest save totals. Chuli turned aside 45 shots in Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over Minnesota, and Desbiens stopped 43 in Saturday’s 2-1 overtime win against Ottawa. Montréal was outshot by 20 in both games. Chuli’s performance earned her a second win in two starts, during which she has compiled a league-best 1.50 goals-against average and .962 save percentage. Desbiens picked up her third win in six starts and holds a .930 SV% that ranks fourth overall. See goaltender stats here.
FIRST HOME WINS FOR OTTAWA, TORONTO, BOSTON
Ottawa became the third PWHL team to win a game on home ice following a 3-1 victory over Toronto on Tuesday. The win came in their third game at The Arena at TD Place. Toronto found its first win in four games at Mattamy Athletic Centre on Friday with a 2-0 shutout over New York. It took overtime, but Boston’s third game at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell resulted in victory by a 4-3 score over Minnesota. The victories by Ottawa and Toronto were the only two of seven games played last week that weren’t one-goal differentials, and Boston’s victory was one of three settled in overtime. Through 22 games this season, 14 have been one-goal games – eight in overtime or shootout. See all results here.
FIRST PWHL GOALS
Fourteen players scored their first career PWHL goals this past week, bringing the league’s total to 60 different goal scorers. All three overtime games were won by players scoring their first PWHL goals, including Abby Boreen (MIN), Hilary Knight (BOS), and Maureen Murphy (MTL). Boreen and Murphy’s goals were their first as professionals; they join Kristin Della Rovere (OTT) and Alina Müller (BOS) as the latest from the NCAA Class of 2023 graduates to find the net. Knight was among a group of veteran pros to score their first, including Michela Cava (MIN), Emily Clark (OTT), Abby Cook (MIN), Brittyn Fleming (MIN), Kaleigh Fratkin (BOS), Brittany Howard (TOR), Brianne Jenner (OTT), Jamie Lee Rattray (BOS), and Tereza Vanišová (MTL).
CAMPBELL’S FIRST SHUTOUT, HENSLEY’S FIRST POINT
A pair of PWHL goaltenders also had milestone moments this past week, including Toronto’s Kristen Campbell and Minnesota’s Nicole Hensley. Campbell stopped 19 shots in Friday’s 2-0 victory against New York to become the third goaltender to record a shutout this season. She follows New York’s Corinne Schroeder and Minnesota’s Maddie Rooney in this category. Hensley picked up a secondary assist on Sunday’s overtime winner and is the second goaltender to record a point this season, following Ottawa’s Emerance Maschmeyer.
THE WEEK AHEAD
All eyes will be on the PWHL talent competing in the Canadian Tire PWHL 3-on-3 Showcase at Scotiabank Arena during NHL All-Star Thursday. The rosters, each comprised of 12 players (10 skaters and two goaltenders), include 17 of the 18 inaugural PWHL free-agent signings and seven of the first 12 selections from the first-ever PWHL Draft. Regular-season action resumes on Saturday afternoon, when Minnesota makes its first visit to Toronto. The weekend also includes two Sunday afternoon games as New York takes on Ottawa for the first time this season and Montréal makes its first trip to Boston.
Thursday, February 1, 2024
8:00 p.m. ET – Canadian Tire PWHL 3-on-3 Showcase
Linear TV: Sportsnet
Streaming: Sportsnet+, ESPN+
French: TVA Sports
Saturday, February 3, 2024
12:00 p.m. ET – Minnesota at Toronto (Mattamy Athletic Centre)
Linear TV: CBC, Bally Sports North
Streaming: CBC Gem, YouTube
Sunday, February 4, 2024
1:00 p.m. ET – New York at Ottawa (The Arena at TD Place)
Linear TV: Sportsnet East/Ontario/West/Pacific, MSG/MSGHD
Streaming: Sportsnet+, YouTube
3:30 p.m. ET – Montreal at Boston (Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell)
Linear TV: NESN, TSN3/5
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