PWHL Toronto tightens their skates gearing up for tense Game 5

May 16, 2024 | Sports

Minnesota native and forward Claire Butorac scored a sneaky low shot in double overtime in Game 4 of the PWHL playoffs against Toronto.

Toronto and Minnesota battled to a standstill for four long periods at the Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday night until Toronto goaltender Kristen “Soupy” Campbell was rushed early in the fifth period.

The winner of the series’ final game on Friday at Toronto’s Coca-Cola Coliseum will play PWHL Boston — who swept PWHL Montreal earlier this week — for the Walter Cup.

In a post-game press conference Wednesday night, Toronto’s head coach Troy Ryan predicted the outcome of the overtime periods. It was just a matter of who.

“We said in between periods before the last overtime it’s probably going to be an ugly goal, someone throwing it to the blue paint and wacking at it,” said Ryan, announced as Toronto’s head coach in September and is also nominated to be the first-ever PWHL Coach of the Year. “So obviously they got to it before we did.”

Emma Maltais, one of Toronto’s forwards, wants more shots — pretty or otherwise — on the net in Game 5.

“We all saw. There were no snipe goals,” Maltais said. “We are just going to have to bury our shoulders and take the pucks in more.”

Maltais has scored four goals in the 2024 regular season, with one goal and one assist in playoffs.

Toronto also faces a disadvantage for the rest of the playoffs as Natalie Spooner, arguably one of their best forwards, took a detrimental blow to the knee.

Minnesota forward Grace Zumwinkle slammed into Spooner in Game 3, placing her on the Long Term Injured Reserve and forcing her to sit on the sidelines for the rest of the season.

“I won’t be hitting the ice with the ladies tonight, but I’m going to be their biggest supporter and be there with them the rest of the way,” Spooner told

Although Spooner’s absence was felt heavily in Game 4, Ryan still thinks the momentum was up to snuff.

“I think it was a good battle,” Ryan said. “It was physical, it was competitive, and good goal-tending on both sides.”

Renata Fast, one of Toronto’s lead defence, also found the physicality to result from playoff fever.

“The hockey is physical, you can tell that everyone has ramped it up a bit for playoffs and you have to expect that,” Fast said. “I think we’ve done a really good job initiating it, especially in the second period, and I think as soon as we do that our style of game is successful.”

Torontonians can expect a nail-biting Game 5 against Minnesota back on home turf at the Coca-Cola Coliseum on Friday, May 17.