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PWHPA wraps up in Ottawa, heads to Washington D.C.

PWHPA action continues this weekend in Washington, D.C.

Dave Holland/PWHPA

Team Harvey’s from Montreal reigned victorious at the Ottawa Sonnet Showcase, much to the crowd’s delight.

The weekend featured four PWHPA teams from Boston (Bauer), Minnesota (adidas), Toronto (Sonnet), and Montreal (Harvey’s). The players from Calgary joined the group, and many were split between the American sides.

The weekend opened with a matchup between teams Sonnet and Adidas. Like in previous games, Sonnet pounded their opponent with shots totalling 50 on goal over the four periods of play. Victoria Bach opened the scoring with a power-play goal 10 minutes into the period. Sonnet would grow their lead in the second and head into the 3rd frame up 3- 1. Adidas made it 3-2 early in the third, but great goaltending at both ends kept the game close. It seemed as if Sonnet would book their ticket to the championship game until Sarah Potomak scored a game-tying goal with 9 seconds remaining. In overtime, Sonnet dominated and pinned play in the adidas end until a game-winner finally broke through.

The afternoon game was a blowout 7-1 win for the crowd favourite Harvey’s. The game featured hometown players like Rebecca Leslie of Harvey’s and Sam Cogan, a member of team Scotiabank joining Bauer for the weekend. The game was tight to start, but Harvey’s showed their strength in the second and third periods. Leslie had two, and Ann-Sophie Bettez completed a hat-trick.

Sunday’s games were less accessible to viewers but exciting to watch. Sportsnet broadcast the Championship game online and on their premium channel as well as another TikTok simulcast. Unlike the previous TikTok stream, where presenters only joined viewers at intermission, Sportsnet personalities Jillian Fisher and Ailish Forfar we on screen for the entire game sharing stories and thoughts on the game.

The game was as tight as you might expect between two strong teams. Through 25 minutes, the game was tied at zero with goaltenders Erica Howe and Marie-Soleil Deschênes matching each other save for save. The deadly Harvey’s offence struck first with a weekend fourth for Bettez. Minutes later, Loren Gabel responded for Sonnet. The Toronto star picked a pass out of mid-air in her own end and took off up the ice. She streaked in along and roofed a shot glove side to tie the game.

The game returned to a tense stalemate until a late game-winner. Hometown player Rebecca Leslie danced around two players before sending a shot on net that made it through the legs of Howe. With just five minutes left, Team Harvey’s held on to win the third dream gap tour stop of the year.

Unlike other weekends, the consolation game was not streamed, nor was it in the main rink with spectators. It was an overtime thrilled adidas won 3-2, but unfortunately, PWHPA fans didn’t have the opportunity to watch. It marks the first win for an adidas team that has been great in their two showcase appearances. It was a fourth consecutive loss for team Bauer who hasn’t found the means to get it done just yet.

The crowd at all three games was lively and engaged. The stands were full of young girls in their minor hockey jerseys, many of the same T=teams played for by PWHPA players like Leslie and Cogan. “It’s really special,” said Leslie. “Growing up, I didn’t have women’s hockey coming to Ottawa to watch.” It was important for her to make pro women’s hockey visible to players from her hometown.

The teams now head south for the first Dream Gap Tour stop of the season in the United States. Teams Sonnet, Scotiabank, Bauer, and adidas, will compete in a weekend showcase of the same format. Like in Ottawa, the odd team out will loan many of their players to the American sides. Certain members of Harvey’s will join Bauer and Adidas, but rosters have yet to be confirmed. Watch for Scotiabank trying to extend their unbeaten streak and Bauer looking to snap a losing streak.

You can watch the games live-streamed on the Washington Capitals Facebook and Twitter pages. All games will also be streamed on the Monumental Sports Network website.