Friday, May 24, 2024

PWHL Minnesota earns final playoff spot when Ottawa loses in season finale

Must read

What do you give a team that pulled you into the playoffs on the last day of the regular season? Flowers? Champagne? A box of chocolate pucks?

PWHL Minnesota surely owes Toronto a little something, as a thank-you for the favor it received Sunday night. Toronto’s 5-2 home victory over Ottawa allowed Minnesota to claim the last available berth in the PWHL playoffs.

If Ottawa had won the game in regulation — the teams were tied 2-2 with six minutes left in the third period before Toronto scored a power-play goal from Natalie Spooner, then added two empty-netters — it would have pulled even with Minnesota for fourth place in the standings and earned the playoff spot via tiebreaker.

Minnesota will be the No. 4 seed for the league semifinals, and it could face the team that held the door open. As the league’s top seed, Toronto gets to choose either Minnesota or third-seeded Boston as its opponent for the best-of-five first round. Montreal is the No. 2 seed. The matchups will be finalized Monday.

Toronto plays host to semifinal games Wednesday and Friday, while Montreal hosts games Thursday and Saturday. The rest of the playoff schedule has not been announced.

Minnesota spent much of the PWHL’s inaugural season in first or second place, but it ended the regular season with five consecutive losses to finish fourth. It had multiple opportunities to clinch a playoff berth but could not seal the deal without assistance, failing to earn any points in those five games, including a 5-2 loss at last-place New York on Saturday.

Latest article