Professional Women’s Hockey League·New
Natalie Spooner scored twice and set up another goal to spearhead Toronto to a 4-1 home win against Minnesota on Saturday. Her two-goal outing catapulted the Canadian national team member to the top of the heap of the fledgling PWHL’s goal-scoring list with seven in nine games.
Renata Fast, known for stingy defensive play, scores 1st PWHL goal in 4-1 home win
Tim Wharnsby · The Canadian Press
· Posted: Feb 03, 2024 3:40 PM EST | Last Updated: 13 minutes ago
Toronto forward Natalie Spooner celebrates one of her two goals in a 4-1 home victory over Minnesota in Professional Women’s Hockey League action at the Mattamy Athletic Centre on Saturday. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press)High-scoring Toronto forward Natalie Spooner did her part to set up the next meeting between Spooner and Montreal’s Marie-Philip Poulin on Feb. 16.
Spooner scored twice, set up another goal to spearhead Toronto to a 4-1 win against Minnesota on Saturday, and snatch the Professional Women’s Hockey League goal-scoring lead from Poulin.
Her two-goal outing gives Spooner four goals in two games and seven in her first nine PWHL games. Poulin has six in eight games, with an opportunity to increase her total against Boston on Sunday.
The two Canadian national team teammates communicated with each other in the season’s first six weeks.
“She sent me a text after my last game,” Spooner said. “Maybe she’ll send me another after this one.”
SIX FOR SPOONS SCORED ON A SATURDAY IN THE SIX… pure poetry. 🥄🥄🥄🥄🥄🥄 pic.twitter.com/Zlesk9l5kK
—@PWHL_TorontoOn Feb. 16, Toronto and Montreal will play at Scotiabank Arena, the Maple Leafs’ home.
Toronto hopes to set a record for the largest PWHL crowd. Minnesota has a grasp on the current record after 13,316 showed up for its home opener.
“We should take a lot of confidence into that game from this game,” Spooner said.
Toronto (4-5-0) won its second in a row and third in the last four against Minnesota (5-2-2) and avenged a 3-1 loss in Minnesota on Jan. 10.
Spooner tipped home a Jocelyne Larocque in the third period, 16 seconds after she set up captain Blayre Turnbull for Toronto’s third goal.
Toronto goalie Kristen Campbell, making her league-leading eighth start, earned her third win in three starts as Toronto outshot the visitors 28-25.
Renata Fast, known for her stingy defensive play, scored her first PWHL to put Toronto ahead for good late in the second period.
With the game even at 1-1, a loose puck squirted to Fast in the high slot, and her wrist shot found its way through several players with 2:45 remaining.
Quick release from @RenataFast for her first of the season. 😮💨 pic.twitter.com/wAhdwiZYZ8
—@PWHL_TorontoWith Toronto on the power play, Sarah Nurse slid the puck Spooner off the rush. Minnesota netminder Nicole Hensley made the initial stop, but Spooner followed her shot to knock in the rebound with 53.4 seconds left in the first period.
Spooner missed an excellent opportunity to break the ice with the game 5:45 old. But facing an open net, she fired her own rebound over the crossbar.
Minnesota drew even with a strange goal midway through the second period. With Minnesota rushing into Toronto’s end, the stick of Minesota’s Abby Boreen got tangled in the skates of Toronto defenceman Jocelyne Larocque, causing the latter to fall.
This gave Minnesota’s Kelly Pannek a path to pass the puck to Kendall Coyne Schofield, who redirected the pass for her third goal.
10-day break for Rivalry SeriesThe PWHL begins a 10-day break on Monday for three games in the Canada-United States Rivalry Series, with stops in Saskatoon on Wednesday, Regina on Friday and St. Paul, Minn. on Feb. 11.
The Canadian contingent includes Spooner, Nurse, Fast, Larocque, Turnbull and Emma Maltais (Toronto).
Playing for the U.S. will be Hensley, Pannek, Schofield, Kali Flanagan (Toronto), Jesse Compher (Toronto), Natalie Buchbinder (Minnesota), Taylor Heise (Minnesota), Grace Zumwinkle (Minnesota) and Clair DeGeorge (Minnesota).
WATCH l Harmon’s hat trick leads Team King past Team Kloss:
Harmon pots hat trick, leads Team King to victory at PWHL 3-on-3 Showcase gameSavannah Harmon had a hat trick Thursday leading Team King to a 5-3 win over Team Kloss at the PWHL 3-on-3 Showcase game in Toronto.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim has covered the hockey landscape and other sports in Canada for three decades for The Canadian Press, CBC Sports, the Globe and Mail and Toronto Sun. He has been to three Winter Olympics, 11 Stanley Cups, a world championship as well as 17 world junior championships, 13 Memorial Cups and 13 University Cups. The native of Waterloo, Ont., always has his eye out for an underdog story.