Tonight’s game between the Connecticut Whale and the Minnesota Whitecaps has been postponed. The game was originally scheduled to take place at 5:30 p.m. ET.
The outcome of tonight’s game was moot in terms of its impact on who the Whale and Whitecaps would meet in the Isobel Cup Semifinals. Because the Toronto Six went 2–0–0 in the seeding round, they have claimed the top seed in the playoffs. The Whale and Whitecaps will play each other in the Semifinals regardless of the outcome of tonight’s postponed game or the outcome of the 8:30 p.m. ET game between the Beauts and Pride.
Matt Porter of the Boston Globe, who is on site in Lake Placid, reported that the Whale did not show up to the rink for warmups. Speculation ensued — much of it focused on the addition of four players by the Whale and other teams that have added players — as to the Whale’s absence being COVID-related. Marisa Ingemi, who is covering Lake Placid for Sportsnet, noted that the delay could be related to the blizzard, which is impacting the northeast. Per Ingemi, the league drives its COVID tests to New Haven, Conn.
Whitecaps holding a pregame “warmup,” with no opponent at the other end. pic.twitter.com/dtMRJDN4rY— Matt Porter (@mattyports) February 1, 2021
It’s worth mentioning that the Whale were missing several players from their lineup on Sunday night — all categorized as “unavailable” by Connecticut’s coaching staff — including defender Tori Howran, forward Kayla Friesen, and goaltender Brooke Wolejko. Veteran NWHLer Janine Weber also sustained an injury in last night’s game after a collision with Toronto Six defender Lindsay Eastwood.
An update from @CTWhale_NWHL assistant Jamie Goldsmith: "good news" on Janine Weber pending further evaluation, looking like she will be available going forward.— Casey Bryant (@CaseyBryant51) February 1, 2021
Friesen and Howran remain unavailable. #NWHL
This postponement could provide the Whale with some invaluable time to rest up and get healthy. But the real story here is why this game was postponed — and why the announcement came so close to the scheduled start time. On Thursday, the Riveters were forced to pull out of Lake Placid due to COVID-related concerns. The league has said it will provide an update about the postponement tomorrow.
The 8:30 p.m. ET game between the Beauts and Pride will still be taking place tonight and can be seen streaming live on twitch.tv/nwhl. The winner of tonight’s game will play the Toronto Six as the fourth seed in the Isobel Cup Semifinals.