Toronto blanks Minnesota 4-0 in PWHL’s inaugural playoffs

May 9, 2024 | Sports

The PWHL Toronto is offering post-season hope to often disappointed Toronto hockey fans.

The Professional Women’s Hockey League kicked off its Walter Cup playoffs last night with a 4-0 Toronto win for Toronto against Minnesota, just four days after the Maple Leafs were ousted from the first round of Stanley Cup playoffs.

Toronto chose Minnesota as their first opponent, who was fourth in the league, and they played the sold-out first-round game at the Coca-Cola Coliseum at Exhibition Place.

The league’s playoff matchups are dictated by the first-place team picking their opponents, instead of the rank-based structure the NHL follows.

The shutout was thanks to goaltender Kristen Cambell, named the second star of the game with 26 saves.

The first named star was 30-year-old captain Blayre Turnball who scored two goals against Minnesota. The other goal scorers were forwards Natalie Spooner, the third star of the game, and Emma Maltais.

The playoffs come only five months after the league officially began, with the first PWHL game on Jan. 1 where New York beat Toronto 4-0.

Turnbull said in her postgame interview the team is “pretty happy” about how the team is performing and can’t wait to get on the ice for Game 2.

“I think the whole season we’ve been building and building, waiting to get into playoffs and trying to find our game every week and get better, so that when players arrived, we are ready to go,” she said.

The team has the highest points in the league with 47, six points ahead of Montreal, who face off in a home game against Boston tonight.

Toronto recorded only 20 shots in the game, no period recording more than nine.

Head coach Troy Ryan said his team was not purposely selective with their shots, as it wasn’t something planned or discussed.

“We’d like those totals to be up a bit more, but we love the quality of the shots that we scored tonight, so it’s not something that was intentional, but it’s not something that we’re going to stress about either,” he said.

Minnesota head coach Ken Klee remains hopeful and said he found it a good game despite the loss.

“A couple of mental mistakes, individual mistakes, and they capitalized. If we look at the game as a whole, I think we got down and were chasing and that’s the tough part,” he said.

Toronto and Minnesota meet again at the Coca-Cola Coliseum Friday night at 7 p.m. for Game 2.