PREVIEW: Boston Visits Red-Hot Toronto

Boston hopes to snap Toronto's seven-game win streak tonight

PREVIEW: Boston Visits Red-Hot Toronto
Sophie Shirley and Natalie Spooner prepare to make a play on the puck. Photo by Michael Riley/PWHL Boston.

Boston faces a tough test tonight, as they took to get back in the win column while visiting a Toronto team that has won seven straight.

The Basics: Wednesday, March 6, 2024- Boston at Toronto- 7 p.m. EST, Mattamy Athletic Centre, Toronto, ON (NESN, TSN, Bally Sports North, PWHL Youtube Channel)

What to Expect

Alina Müller and Renata Fast hunt the puck. Müller is in white and is skating with her stick at waist-height. Fast is in blue and skating a bit hunched over with her stick also at wasit-heigh.
Alina Müller and Renata Fast hunt the puck. Photo by Heather Pollock.

So far this season, Boston and Toronto have met twice. Boston took the first game in Toronto 3-2 on January 17, while Toronto won 5-3 in Lowell on February 14. Boston did not play a full 60 minutes in either game and they were lucky to squeak out a win in the first one. Meanwhile, they outplayed Toronto for most of the second game but lacked a killer instinct and made several costly defensive mistakes. They will need a more complete performance tonight if they hope to walk out with a win.

Boston is coming off a 3-1 loss to Montréal on Saturday. They reverted to their old habit of slow starts to periods, and Montréal capitalized on it. They also neglected to keep Marie-Philip Poulin in check, and she put up three points. They’ll look to bring more urgency and play 60 minutes tonight to avoid falling even further behind Toronto in the standings.

Meanwhile, Toronto is fresh off a 5-2 beatdown of Ottawa. After leading 1-0 after one, Toronto scored three goals in the first five minutes of the second period and chased Ottawa starter Emerance Maschmeyer. With a regulation win tonight, Toronto would jump into a tie for first or second place depending on the Montréal-New York result. They’ll be hungry.

Kristen Campbell prepares to make a save. She is wearing her blue Toronto mask and gear, and a blue home uniform.
Kristen Campbell prepares to make a save. Photo by Alex D'Addese/PWHL.

As for goaltenders, expect it to be Kristen Campbell in goal for Toronto. Backup Erica Howe has only appeared twice this season and only started the second one. She most recently played on January 23. Meanwhile, after a rough start to the season, Kristen Campbell has started each game of Toronto’s win streak and she is a huge reason why they’re on it. She has been brilliant lately, so there’s no reason to believe they’ll play anyone else. Campbell is 6-3-0-5 on the season, and her numbers are recovering from her rocky start. She is currently seventh in the league with a 2.24 GAA and 0.917 SV%.

Meanwhile, Boston will probably be going back to Aerin Frankel. A win tonight would be big and Courtney Kessel clearly feels Frankel gives them the best chance to get one. Also, Söderberg played the previous two games against Toronto, and it couldn’t hurt to make Toronto recalibrate a little offensively. Frankel has played a ton lately, and Söderberg needs to get in a game soon to keep sharp, but it doesn’t feel like tonight’s the night. Maybe Sunday depending on how both of tonight’s games shake out. Frankel is 3-1-2-3 on the season, with a 1.85 GAA (fourth in the league) and 0.937 SV% (third in the league).

Boston’s Key to the Game

Alex Vasko pokes the puck away from Jamie Lee Rattray. Rattray is trying to get body positioning on Vasko, as Vasko lunges forward to poke the puck. Vasko is in white, while Rattray is in green.
Alex Vasko tries to poke the puck away from Jamie Lee Rattray. Photo by Michael Riley/PWHL Boston.

Play the full 60 minutes with urgency. Boston must start every period on time, and never let their foot off the gas. Toronto is on too much of a tear right now to give them any wiggle room. Getting quality shots is also important given Campbell’s recent play, but none of that matters if they’re just going to give the game away at the start of every period. But, if Boston comes out and plays hard for the whole game, they’ll give themselves a chance.