Toronto hosts Minnesota in Game 1 of the 2024 PWHL Playoffs


TORONTO, ON (May 8, 2024) – The Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) Playoffs begin tonight with Game 1 of the best-of-five semifinal series between Toronto and Minnesota at 7:00 p.m. ET at Coca-Cola Coliseum.




Fans across Canada can watch the game live on TSN 4/5 channels,, and the TSN app. Fans in the United States can watch the game live on Bally Sports North Extra, the Bally Sports app on mobile and tablet devices (including iOS and Android), when authenticated using pay-TV credentials, and on Bally Sports+, the standalone streaming subscription service available from Bally Sports. The game will also stream live on the league’s YouTube channel. Daniella Ponticelli will have the play-by-play call alongside analyst Becky Kellar and Rob Pizzo reporting rinkside.




City of Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow has officially declared May 8, 2024, to be PWHL Team Toronto Day in recognition of the team’s first game in the inaugural PWHL Playoffs. The announcement was posted to her social media feed in a letter of congratulations. A PWHL Toronto flag has been raised at City Hall in celebration, and the Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square will light up in the team’s blue. The iconic CN Tower lights will also be lit in blue tonight to celebrate the start of the team’s playoff run.




It’s time to drop the puck on the inaugural PWHL Playoffs with the start of a semifinal matchup that features first place Toronto (13-4-0-7) against fourth place Minnesota (8-4-3-9). Toronto finished with 47 points, 12 ahead of Minnesota’s 35 points, and earned the opportunity to select Minnesota as its opponent. Toronto finished the season on a four-game winning streak and have won three straight games against Minnesota, including a 4-1 victory last Wednesday to clinch top spot. They also finished the season on a high note by spoiling Ottawa’s postseason bid with a 5-2 victory at home on Sunday night. Minnesota’s eyes were locked on that matchup with their playoff fate hanging in the balance. Minnesota had five straight opportunities to punch their own playoff ticket after returning from the break. Instead, they ended the campaign on a season-high five-game losing streak, including a devastating 5-2 loss to New York on Saturday. Even though it’s a new venue, Toronto has been red hot on home ice where they’ve won nine straight games before their fans. They finished the season as the league’s top team on home ice with nine wins and 26 points. Minnesota tied for last in road efficiency, winning five times and earning just 14 points outside the State of Hockey. Toronto finished the season with the best goals-for and goals-against averages, while Minnesota averaged the most shots for and fewest against which should make for an interesting clash offensively.




Toronto won the four-game season series with Minnesota 8-4 in points and outscored them 13-6. Minnesota won the first game 3-1 at Xcel Energy Center on Jan. 10, followed by three straight Toronto victories including 4-1 at Mattamy Athletic Center on Feb. 3, 4-3 in overtime at SM Arena at Mariucci on Feb. 27, and most recently by a score of 4-1 on May 1. In that contest, Minnesota opened the scoring at 4:14 of the first period and Toronto responded with four unanswered goals including two on the powerplay. Natalie Spooner finished with two goals and Emma Maltais scored once with two assists. Maltais (1G 5A) led the season series with six points, followed by Spooner (4G 1A) and Sarah Nurse (3G 2A) with five points each, and Renata Fast (1G 3A) with four points. Minnesota’s Kendall Coyne Schofield (2G 2A) and Taylor Heise (2G 2A) led the team with four points against Toronto. Kristen Campbell started all four games for Toronto, posting three wins with a goals-against-average of 1.99 and save percentage of .927. Nicole Hensley earned one win in three starts for Minnesota, with a 2.96 GAA and .893 SV% against Toronto. Minnesota outshot Toronto 110-107 overall, including two three-shot spreads the last two games. Toronto was 4/10 on the powerplay in the series, with Minnesota 0/9.




Toronto’s Natalie Spooner stole the show offensively throughout the regular season and finished atop the scoring race with 27 points, including a league-high 20 goals in 24 games. She ended the campaign on a three-game goal streak and four-game point streak, scoring five times with seven total points in that stretch. Teammate Sarah Nurse finished tied for second overall in goals with 11 and points with 23 while riding a four-game point streak into the playoffs. She’s scored six goals and eight points during the team’s winning streak. Emma Maltais tied for the overall lead with 15 assists and points lead among rookies with 19. She had a six-game point streak headed into Sunday’s finale with a goal and seven assists. Hannah Miller (7G 7A) is fourth in Toronto scoring with 14 points and is riding a three-game streak, followed by defender Renata Fast (3G 10A) with 13 points. She was held off the scoresheet just four times in the second half of the season. For Minnesota, Grace Zumwinkle (11G 8A) leads the way offensively and tied Maltais for the lead in rookie scoring with 19 points and two ‘jailbreak’ goals. She scored shorthanded and added an assist in Saturday’s finale. Kelly Pannek (4G 12A) also finished the regular season with a two-point performance with a pair of helpers to bring her point total to 16 and tied with captain Kendall Coyne Schofield (6G 10A). Rookies Taylor Heise (4G 9A) and Sophie Jaques (2G 8A) round out the team’s top-five with 13 and 10 points respectively. Minnesota will get a boost in the lineup with the return of Abby Boreen for the semifinal series. She has five points in nine games amassed over two 10-Day contracts and is slotted into the second line.




Several PWHL Toronto players have previously celebrated playoff success at Coca-Cola Coliseum. Back on March 24, 2019, the CWHL’s Clarkson Cup was won for the last time by the Calgary Inferno featuring Blayre Turnbull, Rebecca Leslie, and Kaitlin Willoughby. They defeated Lauriane Rougeau and Les Canadiennes de Montréal by a score of 5-2. One year earlier, on March 25, 2018, goaltender Erica Howe was named Clarkson Cup MVP for the champion Markham Thunder following a 2-1 overtime victory over the Kunlun Red Star. The Thunder were captained by Jocelyne Larocque.



Minnesota was one of three teams to finish the PWHL season on the road, playing last Wednesday in Toronto and then Saturday afternoon in New York. Nobody accumulates more air miles than Minnesota, which makes the off days on road trips all the better for team bonding. Players took advantage of their last night together in Long Island with a dinner to celebrate Sydney Brodt’s 26th birthday and reinforce team chemistry.




“We are looking forward to the opportunities and challenges this series will present. We know that our fans will provide an unreal playoff atmosphere for us to play in. We’ve been prepping for playoffs since the start of the season, and we are extremely excited for the puck to drop so we can get to work!” – Blayre Turnbull, Toronto


“We are excited to get these playoffs started. Minnesota is a deep team, and we expect it to be an intense battle. We are proud of our regular season, but tonight is a whole new challenge. We are in a good place and excited for the opportunity we have in front of us.” – Troy Ryan, Toronto


“We just saw Toronto last week. We see each other a lot and watch each other a lot. Everyone is very familiar with each other at this point in the season. What we’re embracing is it’s a clean slate for everyone, whatever you did in the regular season got you to this point and everyone starts from scratch in the post season.” – Kendall Coyne Schofield, Minnesota


“It’s playoff time – once we drop the puck, I’m hoping our players will put the hammer down and put their best game on the ice. We have it in our room to be a top team and we know it but it’s a mental grind and we just have to fight through it.” – Ken Klee, Minnesota




During the regular season, Toronto (+19) ranked first in goal differential and Minnesota (even) ranked third…Toronto (2.88) finished first in goals-per-game average and Minnesota (2.25) ranks fourth…Toronto (2.08) allowed the fewest goals-per-game on average and Minnesota (2.25) allowed the second fewest…Toronto led the league by scoring the game’s first goal 15 times and won 13 of those games, while Minnesota scored 12 first goals and won nine of those games…Scoring by period for Toronto was 16-21-28 and for Minnesota 18-20-12…Toronto led the league with 28 third period goals and Minnesota’s 12 period goals were the lowest…Goals against by period for Toronto was 15-14-21 and for Minnesota 20-15-16…Minnesota was tied for the most goals allowed in the first period with 20 and Toronto allowed the fewest second period goals with 14…Toronto was 7/9 in one-goal games and Minnesota was 7/14…Minnesota (+105) finished first in shot differential and Toronto (+24) finished fourth…Minnesota (30.67) was first in shots-per-game average and Toronto (28.21) ranked fourth…Minnesota (26.29) allowed the fewest shots-per-game on average and Toronto (27.17) allowed the second fewest…Minnesota outshot its opponents in 15 games, Toronto outshot opponents in 13 games…Toronto (7.04) was tied for first in average penalty minutes per game and Minnesota (5.42) had the lowest average…Toronto (11/70) was fourth in powerplay efficiency at 15.7%…Minnesota (5/61) ranked fifth on the PP at 8.2%…Toronto (67/73) is first in penalty kill efficiency at 91.8%…Minnesota (41/61) ranked sixth on the PK at 67.2%…Natalie Spooner (TOR) is the league’s regular-season Points Leader with 27 and Top Goal Scorer with 20…Sarah Nurse (TOR) finished tied for second in scoring with 20 points…Nurse and Grace Zumwinkle (MIN) finished tied for second in goals with 11…Emma Maltais (TOR) tied for the league-lead in assists with 15…Maltais and Zumwinkle tied for the rookie scoring lead with 19 points each…Spooner led the league with seven power play goals and five game winning goals…Maltais and Zumwinkle tied for the league-lead with two shorthanded goals each…Kendall Coyne Schofield (MIN) finished second in the league with a plus-minus rating of plus-12…


Spooner led the league with 101 shots on goal followed by Zumwinkle with 98 shots…Alexa Vasko (85/162) led Toronto with a face-off percentage of 52.5%…Blayre Turnbull (44.4%) led the team with 354 draws…Kelly Pannek (230/431) leads Minnesota in face-offs and with a winning percentage of 53.4%…Kristen Campbell (TOR) won 16 of her 22 starts and led the league with three shutouts, also carrying a goals-against-average of 1.99 that ranked second and a save percentage of .929 that ranked third…Nicole Hensley (MIN) won seven of her 14 starts with one shutout and a 2.19 GAA and a .919 SV%…Rebecca Leslie (TOR) is celebrating her 28th birthday today…Toronto is rolling with the same forwards and defensive pairings that beat Minnesota one week ago.






Maltais | Nurse | Howard
Miller | Turnbull | Spooner
Connors | Compher | Willoughby
Bach | Vasko | Leslie


Larocque | Fast
Munroe | Flanagan
Rougeau | Knowles


Campbell | Howe


Scratches: Jackson, Poulin-Labelle




Křížová | Pannek | Zumwinkle
Coyne Schofield | Heise | Boreen
DeGeorge | Schepers | Cava
Butorac | Fleming | Kunin


Channell | Jaques
Stecklein | Buchbinder
Greco | Flaherty


Hensley | Rooney


Scratches: Bryant, Kremer




Referees: Alexandra Clarke (Griffith, SK) – #7 and Jared Cummins (Norwalk, IA) – #1.
Linespersons: Antoine Bujold-Roux (Ottawa, ON) – #72 and Laura Gutauskas (Woolwich, ON) – #68.

Follow the league on all social media platforms @thepwhlofficial plus team accounts @pwhl_toronto and @pwhl_minnesota.