Saturday evening saw the Minnesota Whitecaps take on the Toronto Six for the second time in this tournament, and this time it was Toronto that took home the 4-3 win but not without a hard fought battle and a close game all the way through.
Then, the Whitecaps were set to play the Connecticut Whale in the last round robin game to solidify the standings headed into the playoffs, however the game was postponed last minute without much word of why from the league.
In the first game against Toronto, the Whitecaps had two rest days, giving Amanda Leveille a good opportunity to get fresh legs and be ready to go. Ultimately, she stopped 41 shots but was beat out by Mikyla Grant-Mentis who had a two goal game, and the rest of the Six. The Caps showed, in this game, that they’ve definitely been working on their discipline, only taking a fraction of the penalties as we’re used to seeing from them this season.
Still, special teams made all the difference in this game as Toronto’s first goal came on the power play, and Minnesota was able to give back two power play goals on the other end. Toronto got on the board first, but through the entire game, both teams gave goals back and forth to each other, no one ever leading by more than one. In the end, it was first star Grant-Mentis who put in the game winner.
Prior to the next game, the Whitecaps announced they were signing All-Star defender Amanda Boulier. It was announced days earlier that as long as players adhered to the quarantining protocol and had negative COVID test results, they were eligible to join their team in the bubble. There were reportedly taxi squad-style lists of players who were approved to do this. This is how Boulier is allowed to play.
Ultimately, we didn’t see Boulier or the Whitecaps play as the game Monday night was postponed. This game was simply to determine which of these two teams would officially be the No. 2 or 3 seed. They will meet again in the semi-finals on Thursday no matter what. In a weird turn of events, the Whitecaps were out on the ice for warmups when the game was declared canceled.
As it stands, the Whitecaps have the second seed in the league so have whatever home advantage that they can get on Thursday as they host the Whale.
The Whitecaps have a bit of staggered momentum after a tough loss and odd timing on a postponed game, however this does give them advantage of extra rest time which is well-needed in a tournament laid out like this.
They need to make sure they stay out of the penalty box, utilize what massive defensive qualities Amanda Boulier brings, and break through what Connecticut has been able to do at their blue line.
Around the League
After it was revealed that multiple players in the Riveters organization tested positive for COVID, the team pulled out of the tournament as the protocol stated they would have to. This caused a delay in games, and a restructuring of the round robin segment of the season.
The Toronto Six have had a huge turn of events, landing themselves in the No. 1 seed headed into the playoffs after defeating both the Whitecaps and the Whale in regulation. They scored six unanswered goals against the Whale on Sunday night, shutting them out.
The action will return Thursday at 5:30pm EST on NBCSN, as well as on Twitch for international viewers.