PWHL Power Rankings: Week 4 (01/22-01/28)

There's a new number one in town, and an iconic Queen song reigns supreme in this week's Power Rankings.

PWHL Power Rankings: Week 4 (01/22-01/28)
Montréal celebrates their win over Ottawa with the home crowd. Photo courtesy of the PWHL.

Welcome to The Ice Garden’s weekly PWHL power rankings! Check back for new installments every Monday and remember: if you think your team is ranked too low, it’s definitely totally 100% because we hate them.

This week saw a lot of teams leap-frog each other in the standings after some statement wins. There were some close calls in the rankings this week, but ultimately, each team has earned their spot. Things should calm down a bit starting next week, as once Ottawa and New York face off, every team will have played each other at least once, so it’s going to get harder to leapfrog after just one game. Plus, there are no PWHL games until next weekend, and each team only plays once as the league takes a brief break to send some of its top players to the NHL All-Star showcase on Thursday.

Queen’s "Bohemian Rhapsody" is one of the most iconic and beloved songs of all time. It also happens to have been stuck in my head for much of this week. So, for this week’s theme, I’ve picked Bohemian Rhapsody lyrics to describe how things are going. Now you get to have it stuck in your head too. You’re welcome!

#1. Montréal (3-2-2-1, 15 points)

Laure Stacey celebrates her goal against Ottawa with her teammates, all wearing their maroon home uniforms..
Laure Stacey celebrates her goal against Ottawa with her teammates. Photo courtesy of the PWHL.

Last Week’s Ranking: 2 (+1)

This Week’s Results:

  • Weds, Jan 24 @ MIN- 2-1 W
  • Sat, Jan 27 vs OTT- 2-1 OTW

Upcoming Schedule:

  • Sun, Feb 4 @ BOS- 3:30 p.m. EST, Tsongas Center, Lowell, MA (TSN, NESN, RDS, PWHL Youtube Channel)


Is this real life? Is this just fantasy?

Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality

Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see

Is this real life? Is there finally a new #1 in town after Minnesota spent three weeks there? It’s true: I’ve opened my eyes and looked up to see this isn’t just fantasy: Montréal has officially taken over as the best team in the league.

Montréal continues to show that they are the deepest team in the league. Playing a matchup game with them is nearly impossible because they have so many weapons. Only three of their skaters remain without a point, and all three of them are defenders. The only other team with less than five pointless skaters is Boston, who also has three. Both of Montréal’s goaltenders have also been unreal. Ann-Renée Desbiens has a 2.11 GAA and 0.930 SV% through six games. Meanwhile, backup Elaine Chuli has a 1.50 GAA and 0.962 SV% through two games and made a league-record 45 saves in Montréal’s 2-1 win over Minnesota this week. This team is simply a treat to watch night in and night out, and they show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. They’ve earned the right to be called the best team in the league.

#2: Minnesota (3-2-2-1, 15 points)

Kendall Coyne Schofield, wearing a purple home uniform, takes a shot against Montréal.
Kendall Coyne Schofield takes a shot against Montréal. Photo by Kelly Hagenson/PWHL.

Last Week’s Ranking: 1 (-1)

This Week’s Results:

  • Weds, Jan 24 vs MTL- 2-1 L
  • Sat, Jan 27 @ BOS- 4-3 OTL
  • Sun, Jan 28 @ NYC- 2-1 OTW

Upcoming Schedule:

  • Sat, Feb 3 @ TOR- 12 p.m. EST, Mattamy Athletic Centre, Toronto, ON (Bally Sports North Extra, CBC, PWHL Youtube Channel, GEM)


Too late, my time has come

Send shivers down my spine, body’s aching all the time

Goodbye, everybody, I’ve got to go

Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth

It’s time to face the truth: Minnesota’s time at #1 has ended. They’ve said their goodbyes and left behind their status as the best team in the league (at least temporarily), which surely sends shivers down their spine.

After a red-hot start to the season, Minnesota has cooled off a bit. They dropped two of three this week, and have lost three of their past five games. They’re still an excellent team, and they continue to give themselves a chance to win every night. But, their thin defense is beginning to catch up to them, and they’ve been losing close games. They remain tied for #1 in the standings with Montréal, but that won’t last long if they don’t get back on track and start winning in regulation again.

#3: Boston (2-2-0-2, 10 points)

An elated Hilary Knight, wearing a green home uniform, celebrates her game-winning goal in overtime.
An elated Hilary Knight celebrates her game-winning goal in overtime. Photo by Michelle Jay/The Ice Garden.

Last Week’s Ranking: 5 (+2)

This Week’s Results:

  • Weds, Jan 24 @ OTT- 3-2 W
  • Sat, Jan 27 vs MIN- 4-3 OTW

Upcoming Schedule:

  • Sun, Feb 4 vs MTL- 3:30 p.m. EST, Tsongas Center, Lowell, MA (NESN, TSN, PWHL Youtube Channel, RDS)


Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening me

(Galileo) Galileo, (Galileo) Galileo, Galileo Figaro magnifico

Galileo was an astronomer. Astronomers study celestial objects such as stars. Stars come out at Knight. Hilary Knight is a star, and she’s finally emerged from a season-opening five-game pointless drought, scoring the overtime winner on Saturday and assisting on an earlier goal. Much like thunderbolts and lightning, that should frighten the rest of the PWHL. 

Terrible puns aside, Boston is finally starting to show us the offense we’ve been expecting. Much like the Galileo call and response, Courtney Kessel called out her offense after they only scored one goal against New York, and they responded by scoring seven in two games. Their top players are coming alive, and the team as a whole is figuring out how to play a more complete game. Kessel called Saturday’s game against Minnesota their most complete yet, and it’s true. There have still been a few lapses here and there, but this is the Boston team we expected to see at the beginning of the season. If they at least keep up their current level of play, they’ll continue to be a problem in the PWHL.

#4: Ottawa (2-0-3-1, 9 points)

Wearing their red home uniforms, Emerance Maschmeyer makes a save as Ashton Bell tries to defend against a Toronto player.
Emerance Maschmeyer makes a save as Ashton Bell tries to defend against a Toronto player. Photo by Andrea Cardin/Freestyle Photography/PWHL.

Last Week’s Ranking: 4 (-)

This Week’s Results:

  • Tues, Jan 23 vs TOR- 3-1 W
  • Weds, Jan 24 vs BOS- 3-2 L
  • Sat, Jan 27 @ MTL- 2-1 OTL

Upcoming Schedule:

  • Sun, Feb 4 vs NYC- 1 p.m. EST, TD Place, Ottawa, ON (Sportsnet, MSG, SN+, PWHL Youtube Channel)


Mama, just killed a man. 

Put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger, now he’s dead. 

Mama, life had just begun. 

But now I’ve gone and thrown it all away.

Oh, Ottawa. They're playing good hockey and keeping every game close, but they're shooting themselves in the foot with the lack of finish. Plus, Mama Overtime is killing them. Just when you think they have it figured out and are going to pull off a win against a good team, they find a way to throw it all away. Keep it up, and they'll be dead before long.

Ottawa has been one of the more frustrating teams in the PWHL this season. They are playing good hockey. Emerance Maschmeyer is a star. But the only team they’ve been able to beat is Toronto. That’s not a recipe for long-term success. They’ve also gone to overtime in three of their six games, and have lost all three. Sure, there will be no 3v3 overtime in the playoffs if Ottawa manages to make it, but their playoff hopes are in serious jeopardy if they keep losing in overtime like this. One point a night except against Toronto is not enough. They’re tied with New York for fourth place with two games in hand, and they simply need to find a way to win those games. If they can’t, they’re in trouble. They play New York this week in a pivotal moment for the team.

#5 Toronto (2-1-0-5, 8 points)

Natalie Spooner celebrates her goal with her teammates, all wearing blue home uniforms.
Natalie Spooner celebrates her goal with her teammates. Photo courtesy of the PWHL.

Last Week’s Ranking: 6 (+1)

This Week’s Results:

  • Tues, Jan 23 @ OTT- 3-1 L
  • Fri, Jan 26 vs NYC- 2-0 W

Upcoming Schedule:

  • Sat, Feb 3 vs MIN- 12 p.m. EST, Mattamy Athletic Center, Toronto, ON (CBC, Bally Sports North Extra, GEM, PWHL Youtube Channel)


So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye?

So you think you can love me and leave me to die?

Oh, baby, can’t do this to me, baby!

Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here

Toronto’s bad start had many stoning them and spitting in their face, but after two weeks in the basement, they got right out of there. They came close to coming out last week after beating Montréal in a shootout, but it wasn’t quite enough. However, after beating New York, I was unable to do it to them again this week. They just barely took the #5 spot for the week considering last week’s win over Montréal and then they beat New York, who dropped both of their games this week as they continue to struggle to find a rhythm.

Toronto played a great team game on Friday against New York. Natalie Spooner continues to be unreal, and Kristen Campbell getting a shutout is massive for her confidence. This could be something for Toronto to build off of going forward. There’s still a lot for them to figure out, and they remain in the basement of the league’s standings by one point, but they have looked better lately. They take on Minnesota this week, so they unfortunately may end up right back in the basement, but who knows, they may just surprise us again.

#6 New York (2-1-1-4, 9 points)

Kayla Vespa, wearing a teal home uniform, makes a pass during a game against Minnesota.
Kayla Vespa makes a pass during a game against Minnesota. Photo by Nala Burton/PWHL.

Last Week’s Ranking: 6 (-3)

This Week’s Results:

  • Fri, Jan 26 @ TOR- 2-0 L
  • Sun, Jan 28 vs MIN- 2-1 OTL

Upcoming Schedule:

  • Sun, Feb 4 @ OTT- 1 p.m. EST, TD Place, Ottawa, ON (MSG, Sportsnet, PWHL Youtube Channel, SN+)

Lyrics: Bohemian Rhapsody (Muppet Version)

Originally, I was going to assign New York the orchestral section of Bohemian Rhapsody, because the chaos of it suits New York well. Plus, it can be difficult to understand, just like New York. However, in my Googling to make sure I had all of the lyrics correct, I discovered that there is a Muppet version of Bohemian Rhapsody. I have not been this confused by the existence of something in a long time, nor have I been this confused by a PWHL team this season. So, New York is the Bohemian Rhapsody (Muppet Version) of the PWHL. I couldn’t just pick a few lyrics. It’s one of those songs that needs to be appreciated in its entirety for the utter chaos it brings, just like New York.

New York needs to figure out how to be consistent soon, or they’re going to be in trouble. Sometimes they’re great and beat the league’s best teams, and other times, they get shut out by Toronto. It’s inexplicable. They cannot afford to drop games to the teams above them like they have been. They’re currently tied for fourth in the standings with Ottawa at nine points, but Ottawa has played two fewer games, so they have a much better points percentage.

New York has still been unable to win a game without Corinne Schroeder in goal, and that’s not because backup Abby Levy has played poorly. She sports a solid 2.68 GAA and 0.923 SV% through three games, but for some reason, the team doesn’t look as comfortable playing in front of her. Sure, they nearly beat Minnesota yesterday with her in goal, but she was also standing on her head and made 35 saves in the loss. Meanwhile, the only goal New York scored was on the power play, which they went 1-for-5 on in the game. That’s just not going to cut it in the long run. 

So far, Schroeder has had to full-on steal two out of New York’s three wins. The only one she didn’t steal was the first game against Toronto, and that’s mostly because Toronto just couldn’t get anything going so New York ran away with the game. As good as Schroeder is, relying on a goalie to steal wins every game is not a winning strategy, especially if you’re not going to play her as much as possible. They need to take this week to reset and find a way to start playing consistent hockey before it’s too late.