The Connecticut Whale have forfeited their game against the Minnesota Whitecaps and have withdrawn from the tournament in Lake Placid. As a result, tonight’s game between the Buffalo Beauts and Boston Pride, which is currently underway, will determine the third and fourth seeds.
The Whale are now the second team to pull out from Lake Placid, following the Riveters’ exit from the tournament last Thursday due to COVID-related health and safety concerns. There’s no word yet on why the Whale have decided to withdraw, but the team had several players missing from its lineup in Sunday’s night game and made four additions to fill their spots on the roster.
Obviously, there is real concern here for the safety of players on the Whale and other teams. Marisa Ingemi reported that earlier today she heard from sources inside the league that there were no “new positives” on the Whale. Ingemi is also reporting that the Whale and Riveters shared the same hotel.
I was told earlier today by multiple people within the league there were no new positives on the Whale as of earlier today, and no reason to believe there are any now unless told otherwise, but this is changing literally by the minute.— Marisa Ingemi (@Marisa_Ingemi) February 2, 2021
From the NWHL:
The NWHL has accepted the decision of the Connecticut Whale to forfeit their game scheduled for earlier tonight against Minnesota and to withdraw from the tournament.
As a result, tonight’s game between Boston and Buffalo is no longer an elimination game. Boston and Buffalo have been notified by the NWHL that they are playing for the third and fourth seeds in the playoffs.
This marks the first time in NWHL history that a team has forfeited a regular-season or postseason game. The Whale were 2–2–0 after four games in Lake Placid.
The winner of tonight’s game between Buffalo and Boston will play the Minnesota Whitecaps; the loser will face the top-seed Toronto Six. Both of the Isobel Cup Semifinal games will take place this Thursday; games will be broadcast on NBCSN.
We’ll keep you posted if there are any developments on this story.