Ottawa at Toronto – 1:00 p.m. ET – Mattamy Athletic Centre
Watch on Linear TV: CBC
Streaming: CBC Gem, YouTube
Ottawa is the most uniquely constructed PWHL team, but since they've only played one game so far, their play on the ice is still mysterious. Their second game had to be postponed due to travel problems.
They opened at home on the second day of the season and lost a tight game to Montréal in overtime, which also means they last played 11 days ago.
Their goals came from Hayley Scamurra and Kateřina Mrázová, and that tells you one of the ways the team is unique. Head coach Carla MacLeod is also the head coach of Team Czechia, and when Ottawa's roster was built, her knowledge of those players helped make them a truly international team. They have Americans, Canadians, a German goalie, two Czech players, one Japanese forward and one from Hungary.
The team is also very young. There are only three players over 30: Brianne Jenner, star of Team Canada is the captain, Mrázová is 31, and a veteran of five years of NCAA hockey, four years in Sweden, including part of this season before the PWHL started, and 15 years of Team Czechia play. Amanda Boulier on defence rounds out the trio.
After Jenner and Team USA forward Scamurra, the big name is goalie Emerance Maschmeyer, part of the current Team Canada tandem.
MacLeod has the reputation of building teams out of young players with disparate levels of experience. Her focus is team systems, and her teams are fast and usually a little better on the front end then the back. Team Czechia has been performing above expectations since she took over.
Can MacLeod make this Ottawa team more than the sum of their parts. She's done it before.
Toronto's last game was a good news/bad news event. The good news was the offensive cycle we'd all been expecting suddenly appeared. The bad news is a lot of defensive breakdowns undid the good offence. Taylor Heise is the best player in the league, and she didn't need the help Toronto gave her to get the scoring chances she got.
Toronto definitely needs to have a power play that adds value, but so far it's not good.
Sarah Nurse, Emma Maltais and Natalie Spooner (my three favourites) are leading the team in points. Eventually Blayre Turnbull is going to rocket up that list. Toronto has been goalied a little bit so far, and they've failed to shoot as much as they should as well. They will score more. Let's start today, okay.
An afternoon contest between Toronto and Ottawa, what more do you need?
Okay, how about a gamesheet link:
Let's go, Team Toronto!