Professional Women’s Hockey League
Ottawa’s Lexie Adzija scored an empty-net goal with 42.5 seconds remaining to give Ottawa’s Professional Women’s Hockey League team a 3-1 victory over Toronto on Tuesday night for its first home ice victory at TD Place.
Canadian Brianne Jenner’s 1st career goal hands Ottawa 1st home win
Lisa Wallace · The Canadian Press
· Posted: Jan 23, 2024 10:21 PM EST | Last Updated: January 24
Ottawa’s Natalie Snodgrass, right, attempts to get the puck from Toronto’s Lauriane Rougeau, left, as Toronto’s Alexa Vasko, centre, falls to the ice during the second period of Ottawa’s 3-1 win on Tuesday. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)Ottawa’s Professional Women’s Hockey League players practised their victory celebration a few weeks ago, but it wasn’t until Tuesday night’s 3-1 win over Toronto that they could finally put it in action.
The “Ottawa thunderclap” was unveiled to the delight of the 6,316 on hand at TD Place.
“That celebration at the end, just to be in that moment with the fans was incredible,” said Emerance Maschmeyer, who made 30 saves.
“We just feel so much passion from [the fans] and we wanted to get our first win for the fans.”
WATCH | Jenner’s winner lifts Ottawa over Toronto:
Ottawa defeats Toronto for 1st-ever PWHL home victoryCaptain Brianne Jenner scores the game-winning goal in Ottawa’s 3-1 win over Toronto.
Ottawa held a one-goal lead with 2:16 remaining in regulation when Emily Clark, who scored the first goal, was called for slashing. Toronto pulled goalie Erica Howe for a two-player advantage, but Maschmeyer was solid and Lexie Adzija sealed the win with an empty-net goal.
“It’s a challenging game when it’s six-on-four but I thought, you know, we managed it well,” said Ottawa coach Carla MacLeod. “We stayed in lanes. We played a strong sort of final couple minutes there to earn that opportunity.”
Erica Howe, who played part of her minor hockey with the Ottawa Lady Senators, stopped 17 shots for her first hometown appearance.
“I feel bad for her to be honest,” said Toronto coach Troy Ryan. “I think a team needs a much greater effort when someone is playing their first start in their hometown.”
This marked the second of five meetings between the two teams. Ottawa took the first game 5-1 on Jan. 13. Despite the game being close and his team having the edge in shots, Ryan was critical of his team.
When asked what he liked about its performance he was blunt.
“Not a lot to be honest,” he said. “I liked at times our penalty kill. I thought we executed a little bit on some faceoffs, some sub plays on faceoffs, but five-on-five play I thought we gave up the middle of the ice too much.”
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Trailing 2-1 in the second Toronto failed to capitalize on its two power-play chances. Ottawa had two great chances but Howe was solid keeping the game within reach for her teammates.
“Obviously we’ve got to find the back of the net, we had a ton of chances,” said Howard. “We’ve got to make sure we capitalize. We had a couple [power plays] thrown in there and we definitely want to capitalize on those.”
This wasn’t Ottawa’s best effort, but in the end the squad found a way to win.
Ottawa opened the scoring, for the fourth straight time, at the five-minute mark when Clark beat Howe with a shot along the goal line. Toronto tied the game at 11:08 when Howard came across the blue line and wristed a shot past Maschmeyer.
Before Tuesday’s game, Ottawa was the only team that had not given up a first-period goal.
Jenner regained the lead less than a minute later taking a drop pass from Amanda Boulier for her first of the season.
The full schedule of PWHL games airing on CBC Sports this season is available here.
With files from CBC Sports