clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2021-22 PHF Season Preview: Toronto Six

Sophomore season for the Six

Michelle Jay/NWHL

The Toronto Six are still very much the new kids on the ice heading into their sophomore season. There will be new players on the ice, new coaches behind the bench and the Six will get to play their first full slate of regular season games since joining the league. The Six were a team that had visible potential in Season 6, Season 7 is their chance to live up to it.

Roster

Defenders: Emma Greco, Taylor Woods, Saroya Tinker, Lindsay Eastwood, Taylor Davison, Sarah Steele, Christine Chao, Stephanie Sucharda
Forwards: Shiann Darkangelo, Mikyla Grant-Mentis, Maegan Beres, Leah Marino, Emma Woods, Brooke Boquist, Taylor Day, Annie MacDonald, Michela Cava, Tori Charron
Goaltenders: Elaine Chuli, Sam Ridgewell, Tera Hofmann

President: Digit Murphy
General Manager: Krysti Clarke
Head Coach: Mark Joslin
Assistant Coach: Angela James

Lake Placid

Toronto had a rough start to the shortened season in Lake Placid. Turnovers, missed passes and a whole host of other errors gave the Six a lot of trouble in their first game and into the second game as well. Though they were able to clean things up and find their feet by the second game, their inexperience was pretty evident when they blew a 5-1 lead against the Minnesota Whitecaps in their second game. After their loss to the Whitecaps the Six went on to win every single one of their remaining games and claim the No. 1 seed going into the Isobel Cup semifinals.

The Six entered the league in a shortened season, which means that there’s a relatively small sample size from which to draw conclusions about what this team is capable of. Through six games in Lake Placid, Toronto averaged 3.5 goals per game while allowing 2.3 goals per game. That’s a solid goal differential that game largely in part to Toronto’s speedy style of play that heavily prioritized offense.

The only cause for concern when it comes to their Lake Placid performance is in consistency. When they took the ice against Boston in a do-or-die single elimination semi-final game, they fell flat. Scoring goals and skating fast makes for some incredibly fun and exciting hockey, but the Six will need to consistently deliver over the course of 20 games.

New Faces

The Toronto Six are heading into the 2021-22 year with a whole bunch of new and exciting faces, both on the bench and behind it. There were some impressive coaching hires, with former OJHL Head Coach and GM of the Toronto Patriots, Mark Joslin joining the team in the summer. Soon after Joslin’s hiring, the Six announced that Hockey Hall of Famer, Angela James would be joining him as an assistant coach.

In terms of players, the Six added goaltender Tera Hofman and defender Saroya Tinker from the Riveters. They also added forwards Michela Cava and Taylor Day who had been playing in the SDHL and in Germany respectively. The Six signed four of their draft picks, all of whom are forwards, Maegen Beres, Taylor Davison, Annie MacDonald and Leah Marino (all forwards). Also sign signed in free agency as was former University of Toronto defender, Christine Chao.

Left for Other Places

Sarah-Ève Coutu-Godbout had two goals and one assist in the Toronto Six’s maiden season, but she’s decided to take her talents overseas to play for AIK in the SDHL where she’s already playing games and, predictably, scoring a lot of goals.

Within the PHF, Kristen Barbara is headed south of the border to play for the Riveters. Emily Fluke is also back with the Whale.

When the Six signed players in 2020-20, they knew that a good handful of them would not be able to return for a full-length season in 2021-22. Players from the inaugural roster who will not be returning because of job commitments include Natalie Marcuzzi, Taytum Clairmont and Mackenzie MacNeil. Fan favourite Julie Allen also won’t be returning to the Six after opting to retire at the end of last season.

Spotlight Addition

The standout signing from this off-season is without a doubt, Michela Cava. With Cava, you know exactly what you’re getting. She had a strong senior year at UMD in 2015-16 and she’s only gotten better since turning pro after graduation. She’s been an offense generating machine in the SDHL for the past three seasons, scoring 66 points (29G, 37A) in 36 games in her last full season.

Signing a player with five seasons of professional hockey to their name is usually a pretty good move, especially when that player has had over a point per game for the past four years.

Rookie Radar

The Six signed four of their 2021 draft picks, and honestly, you should probably watch out for all of them. Taylor Davison is a player who we might not be able to tell what to expect from until we see her hit the ice. Davison spent four seasons with York University in the OUA (five if you count 2020-21 when she was on the team, but no games were being played) and did some pretty impressive things there.

Her best season was in 2019-20 when she scored put up 20 points (4G, 16A) in the 24 game regular season and three goals and one assist across five playoff games as a defender.

The question about Davison becomes whether her 2019-20 performance was a one off, or if her development as a player is on an upward trajectory. If I had to put money on it, I’d take the latter, and that’s really what makes her an exciting addition to this team.

Even if Davison doesn’t get top-pair minutes this season, she’s the kind of player who slots in very well on special teams. She has the potential to make a real impact on a powerplay unit, provided she adjusts well to the professional level.

How the Six Win the Cup

The Six win the cup by staying consistent. They need to turn the moments of brilliance that they saw in Lake Placid into full game performances. The Six have so much offensive talent, from Mikyla Grant-Mentis, to Shiann Darkengelo, the ability to score generate dangerous scoring chances exists up and down this roster.

Simply, the Six win the Cup by scoring, like, a lot.

How the Six lose the Cup

Consistency is going to be the key for the Six. Moments of brilliance might have been enough over six games, but a full season is an entirely different beast. Too many times in Lake Placid, the Six would score a goal, only to give away a scoring opportunity immediately after. They need to learn how to apply and maintain pressure, especially in high stakes games.