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Toronto breaks through in PWHPA Washington Showcase

When it rains, it pours.

Team Flanagan Amanda Pelkey during a Dream Gap tour game in Hudson, NH on Oct. 06, 2019.
Michelle Jay

Team Sonnet from Toronto won the championship game of the Washington Capitals Showcase weekend in spectacular fashion.

The weekend was another demonstration of the dominance of the Canadian teams in the PWHPA. With the Olympic players absent from the PWHPA this year, I think the Canadian hubs have proved their depth. I think this has prevented the two American teams from any victory over the three Canadian hubs.

Four PWHPA teams travelled to D.C. following the showcase in Ottawa, Canada, where Harvey’s (Montreal) defeated Sonnet (Toronto) in the championship game. The weekend in Washington featured two semi-final games, the final games, and skill clinics for hockey players in the local community.

Here’s a recap of all the weekend game action:

Friday

Friday’s game was a semi-final matchup between Sonnet (Toronto) and Bauer (Boston). Sonnet dominated Bauer in the offensive zone, pounding goaltender Brittany Ott with shots. This is Sonnet’s big threat; they have an incredible ability to produce offence.

They jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period and then extended that to a 4-0 lead early in the second. Then, Bauer’s offensive weapons went to work, trying to bring the team back into contention. Bettez connected with Alexa Gruschow and Cat Quirion with a smooth passing play for Quirion’s first point. Three minutes later, Gruschow converted off a pass from Quirion. The game was quickly becoming closer, and Sonnet must have been sweating. Montreal loan Sarah Lefort scored converting on a Gruschow rebound fifty seconds into the period. There were nail-biting moments for the last 19 minutes, but with good goaltending, Sonnet held on to advance to the championship game.

Saturday

On Saturday, Scotiabank (Calgary) fell behind early to adidas (Minnesota), who opened with two goals. Determined to keep Scotiabank’s unbeaten streak alive, Iya Gavrilova responded with a goal to end the period. Sam Cogan tied the game, and Gavrilova took the lead for Scotiabank with a breakaway and snipe. Multiple teammates noted the excitement Gavrilova was feeling during the weekend hosted by her favourite NHL team, the Washington Capitals. After the goal, she dropped her hot sick in a celebration reminiscent of Alexander Ovechkin.

Amanda Pelkey doubled the lead with some silky-smooth hands, and Gavrilova completed her hattrick short-handed. After a slow start, Scotiabank bested the Minnesota side.

Sunday

In Sunday’s first game, Bauer and adidas lined up for the consolation final. The teams both scored scrappy goals leaving them tied through one. Goaltending held that number in the second period before Molly Strabley broke the tie giving Bauer the lead with 14 minutes to play. This game was the most exciting of the weekend, particularly because of the next ten minutes. Wellhausen scored a rocket to tie the game, which was nullified minutes later by a point shot from Lillian Braga, who retook the lead for Bauer. Immediately the lamp was lit again as Sophia Shaver went end to end, scoring another tying goal for adidas. Overtime, exciting as it was, saw no winner decided, which forced the shootout. Neither team has made it to the final of a showcase this year but even more shocking, Bauer hasn’t won a game this season. The shootout went to an extra fourth round where Channell scored to give adidas the advantage. Sydney Scobee saved the final attempt to give adidas another win leaving Bauer without a win.

Sonnet and Calgary played their third matchup of the season in the championship game of the showcase. Scotiabank was undefeated heading into the game, unlike Sonnet, who had yet to win despite appearing in two previous showcase finals.

Sonnet set the tone for the game with a spectacular opening goal from jess Jones who collected a pass and scored the prettiest PWHPA goal of the year.

Sonnet ended the period with another goal and took the lead into the second frame. A quick Scotiabank goal cut the advantage before it was restored for Sonnet by Jessie Eldridge. The period, much like the first, was tight back and forth play. Sonnet dominated chances, but Scotiabank battled hard. Late in the second, a lucky bounce (depending on what team you cheer for) went into the back of the net for a second Scotiabank goal.

At the second intermission, Sonnet led 3-2. I and everyone else expected a similar third period, tight and close right to the end. Team Sonnet had other ideas.

Victoria Bach added to the lead early in the period with a shot sniped top shelf. Then Sonnet scored another and another. Team Sonnet scored seven unanswered goals in the third period for a whopping 10-2 win. All year this team has been able to produce shots like no other team, but they have been bested to this point. The third period was a final breakthrough for Sonnet, who win their first showcase this season.