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Natalie Spooner leads Toronto to 5-2 win over Ottawa in regular-season finale

Written by on May 5, 2024

TORONTO (AP) — Natalie Spooner scored twice in Toronto’s 5-2 win over Ottawa in the league’s regular-season finale on Sunday night.

Ottawa’s playoff hopes in the PWHL’s inaugural season were crushed by the loss as the club needed a regulation win to reach the postseason.

Spooner scored a go-ahead goal for Toronto with 5:43 left in the third period.

She finished the regular season atop the PWHL leaderboard in points (27) and goals (20).

Sarah Nurse also scored for Toronto and Victoria Bach and Samantha Cogan added empty-net goals. Goalie Kristen Campbell made 41 saves in the win.

Toronto had already secured first place and has a choice of semifinal opponent between third-place Boston and fourth-place Minnesota.

Toronto opens its first-round series Wednesday at Coca-Cola Coliseum.

Montreal finished second and starts playoffs Thursday at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec.

Gabbie Hughes and Daryl Watts scored for Ottawa. Emerance Maschmeyer stopped 27 shots.

The visitors needed a regulation win to secure third place ahead of Boston, and bump Minnesota out of the playoff picture.

Ottawa was the only team to win its season series against Toronto, going 3-0-0-2 this season.

Spooner opened the scoring just 1:05 into the contest.

Maschmeyer made a diving save on Hannah Miller who picked up the rebound behind the net and sent a pass in front to Spooner who buried it home.

Hughes knotted the contest at 9:38 of the first period. Hayley Scamurra dished a centering pass to a streaking Hughes who made good on the play tapping it past Campbell.

Nurse restored Toronto’s edge at 10:48 of the frame. With Natalie Snodgrass trailing her every move, Nurse skated up the boards, spun around and drove the net to roof the puck on Maschmeyer.

Toronto was forced to kill a five-minute penalty at 12:36 after Jesse Compher was assessed a major for a check from behind and a game misconduct, served by Cogan.

Compher nailed Katerina Mrazova, causing the Ottawa forward to go head first into the end boards. Mrazova remained in the game.

Watts evened the score on a sweet play in which she capitalized on a defensive mishap from the hosts at 6:26 of the second period.

Brianne Jenner made a drop-off pass to Watts causing Cogan and Jocelyne Larocque to collide trying to switch sides.

Watts took the pass and cut across the face of Campbell whose outstretched leg couldn’t reach far enough to stop the backhand shot.


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The Associated Press