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2021 PWHPA Dream Gap Tour Preview: Calgary

The three Canadian teams are finally (!) taking the ice

HOCKEY: DEC 28 PWHPA Pro Challenge - Minnesota at Montreal Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After only being able to watch their US counterparts play, the Canadian PWHPA players finally get their turn for a Dream Gap Tour.

Montreal, Toronto, and Calgary have converged on Calgary to play a week-long, round robin tournament to determine the winner of the Canadian Secret Cup.

Each team will play the others twice, for a total of six round robin games. The top two teams in the standings will go to the Championship game from there. The games will be played in a “quarantined environment” with no fans.

Like the US games, the special scoring system will be in place for these games. Extra standings points will be awarded for a hat trick, a shutout, a short handed goal, or a team scoring five or more goals in the game. However, if teams are tied after the round robin, those extra points will not be counted to break the tie.

Schedule and How to Watch

  • Monday, May 24 - Toronto vs Montreal at 5 p.m. eastern
  • Tuesday, May 25 - Montreal vs Calgary at 5 p.m. eastern
  • Wednesday, May 26 - Calgary vs Toronto at 5 p.m. eastern
  • Thursday, May 27 - Montreal vs Toronto at 5 p.m. eastern
  • Friday, May 28 - Calgary vs Montreal at 3:30 p.m. eastern*
  • Saturday, May 29 - Toronto vs Calgary at 1 p.m. eastern*
  • Sunday, May 30 - Final at 4:30 p.m. eastern*

The PWHPA tweeted that the games will be viewable for free everywhere.

Sportsnet is the exclusive English-language broadcast for the week. Every game will be on streamed globally via SN NOW and on sportsnet.ca while the last three games will be televised on Sportsnet (as well as streamed).

Leah Hextall will have the play-by-play with Cassie Campbell-Pascall as the analysis in Calgary. Brendan Parker will also be in Calgary as host. Pre, post, and midgame coverage will be from Caroline Cameron, Jeff Marek, Caroline Ouellette, and Blake Bolden.

This is a top tier broadcast team for the week. Hextall brings a breadth of coverage experience and professionalism to learn the players names and stories well. Former player Campbell-Pascall should compliment Hextall well. Bringing Ouellette and Bolden into the mix via the pre, post, and intermission coverage is great to see. Both have played alongside or against many of the players on the ice which will provide fun and interesting insights.

The Teams

With only four games to get points and quick turnarounds between games, these teams will have get up to game speed - after months without games - quickly. All three teams have strong veteran cores who have played for years in most cases, which will definitely help. But it also doesn’t give one team an edge over another.

Montreal - Team Bauer

Forwards: Laura Stacey, Jessie Eldridge, Samantha Isbell, Jill Saulnier, Alexandra Labelle, Sarah Lefort, Rebecca Leslie, Kristin O’Neill, Emily Clark, Catherine Dubois, Marie-Philip Poulin, Ann-Sophie Bettez, Karell Emard
Defenders: Lauriane Rougeau, Catherine Daoust, Erin Ambrose, Jaime Bourbonnais
Goaltenders: Ann-Renee Desbiens, Genevieve Lacasse, Emerance Maschmeyer
Injured: Melodie Daoust
Not Traveling: Melanie Desrouchers, Kim Poirier, Marie-Soleil Deschênes, Maude Gelinas, Tracy-Ann Lavigne

Bourbonnais is one of four on Montreal making their PWHPA debuts. But, she no stranger to playing with some of her new teammates thanks to her time with Team Canada. An offensively-minded defender, Bourbonnais racked 41 points in 31 games her senior of college.

Between her injuries and the cancelation/postponement of tournaments due to COVID, I can’t remember when the last time we got to watch Marie-Philip Poulin play was. When it takes this much effort, it means it has been too long (I think it was December 2019, for what its worth). So put me down as ‘extremely excited’ to watch her return.

Montreal’s goaltending line up is stacked. Its basically Hockey Canada vs everyone else. Have fun scoring on them, rest of the PWHPA.

Toronto - Team Sonnet

Forwards: Nicole Kosta, Kristen Richards, Shannon Stewart, Kayla Vespa, Victoria Bach, Brianne Jenner, Sarah Nurse, Madison Field, Natalie Spooner, Loren Gabel, Brittany Howard, Jamie Lee Rattray
Defenders: Jocelyne Larocque, Claire Thompson, Laura Fortino, Renata Fast, Ella Shelton, Ella Matteucci
Goaltenders: Amanda Makela, Shea Tiley
Not Traveling: Carolyne Prevost, Tess Bracken, Erica Howe, Christina Ieradi

The other teams better be on the look out for Loren Gabel. If I was her, I’d come out with something to prove after shockingly being left off Canada’s centralization - and therefore Olympic - roster.

Rookie defender Claire Thompson will be fun to watch to see how she slots in at the next level. The Princeton alumna had 23 points in 31 games her senior season and will centralize with Team Canada and some of her Team Sonnet teammates in the fall.

Toronto is the only team not bringing three goaltenders, as Howe is not traveling. Both Makela and Tiley have a lot of experience against the two other teams, both from last season in the PWHPA and previously in the CWHL.

Calgary - Team Scotiabank

Forwards: Erica Kromm, Hanna Bunton, Samantha Cogan, Laura Dostaler, Iya Gavrilova, Rebecca Johnston, Rhianna Kurio, MacKenzie Ebel, Sarah Potomak, Alexandra Poznikoff, Blayre Turnbull, Kaitlin Willoughby
Defenders: Megan Grenon, Katelyn Gosling, Brigette Lacquette, Meaghan Mikkelson, Alexis Woloschuk
Goaltenders: Marlène Boissonnault, Kristen Campbell, Kassidy Sauvé
Injured: Micah Zandee-Hart
Not Traveling: Halli Krzyzaniak, Amanda Pelkey, Jordyn Zacharias

Potomak is making her PWHPA debut and is one to watch on Calgary. The former Minnesota Gopher forward had 46 points in her senior year. Other newcomers in Calgary include Ebel, Poznikoff, and Campbell.

Speaking of Campbell, she’s the third goaltender centralized with Team Canada, and, as Gabriella Fundaro pointed out about the centralization roster, the only one without senior team experience. This will be a great chance to see what she has to offer after college.