PWHL Toronto Team Clinches First Place in Win Over Minnesota at Pride Night

6 May 2024 / by Zoha Naghar
PWHL Toronto

The PWHL Toronto team returned to home ice on May 1st after some of the players traveled to compete in the IIHF Women’s World Championship in April. After Canada secured the gold medal, the Toronto players didn’t waste any time to uphold their top position in the league as they clinched first place, allowing the team to now choose their semi-final playoff opponent.


Being back on the ice after winning a gold medal isn’t the only thing that made this game so special. May 1st was the PWHL Toronto’s first-ever Pride Night. To celebrate this night, the Mattamy Athletic Centre was shining with rainbows. Pride flags wrapped around fans’ backs, hanging over railings, and pride stripes marked fans’ clothing. The team walked in wearing rainbow PWHL shirts and had pride tape wrapped around their sticks during practice. 


PWHL Hockey


Goaltender, Carly Jackson, was the backup goalie for this game for the first time this season, and during intermissions, there was a special appearance by DJ D.W. Waterson who had the crowd on their feet with their flashlights on under the rainbow lights of the MAC.


Although it was a very upbeat night, the game started off slower than usual for Toronto. Minnesota’s Michela Cava tipped a goal within the first five minutes of the game, giving Minnesota a 1-0 lead. Soon after, Toronto earned a power play due to Minnesota high sticking, and during this period, Toronto forward, Hannah Miller, was able to tie the game 1-1 assisted by forwards Sarah Nurse and Emma Maltais.


The penalties seemed to be coming in quickly for this game, as Renata Fast entered the box before the end of the first period and was joined by Emma Maltais at the beginning of the second period. 


Almost 11 minutes into the second period, Natalie Spooner tipped in a shot by Renata Fast changing the scoreboard to a 2-1 Toronto lead. This setup from Fast was something Coach Ryan must’ve been proud of. Fast said after the first period, Coach pulled her aside and said “Shoot the puck,” and she did just that, setting up Spooner for the tip. 


Of course, that wasn’t enough for the hockey legend that Spooner is – in the third period the forward scored her 18th goal of the season, an unassisted shot making it 3-1 Toronto. With under three minutes left in the game, number 27, Emma Maltais scored a beautiful empty netter, giving Toronto a 4-1 win.


After the game, Spooner talked about Maltais and said she’s a strong player on the team. “Not to compare her to a Boston Bruin, but Brad Marchand; he never gives up on pucks, he’s so hard to play against but also [is] so skilled and I feel like that’s her [Maltais’] game. She’s everywhere on the ice, she hunts pucks, she uses her body (…) she’s probably terrible to play against and I’m glad she’s on our team.” 


Coach Troy Ryan says even though the team has come in first place, there is still much to do. “Everyone has their things they have to tidy up,” he said as he was asked about the postseason. 


It’s safe to say that Toronto and its roster are unlike any team we’ve seen before, and as playoff season is among us, it’s going to leave fans at the edge of their seats. 


Toronto will be competing in the first game of the semi-finals on Wednesday, May 8th at the Coca-Cola Coliseum.