Justin Levine
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Monday, March 13, 2023

Toronto scores four goals in first period, fuelling Six to 5-4 victory over first-place Pride

On March 12, at Canlan Sports - York, the Toronto Six (women’s pro hockey team) defeated the Boston Pride by a final score of 5-4 in the fourth and final meeting on the 2022-23 PHF calendar.

“Obviously, the first period I really liked,” said Geraldine Heaney, Head Coach of the Toronto Six. “I think in the second and third, we got away from our game plan a little bit and it was wide-open hockey. I think it was very entertaining for the fans, but as a coach, you don’t like to see so many four-on-one’s and four-on-two’s, as many as we did today, so we need to clean that up for next weekend. It was nice for the girls to get the big win at the end of the season, especially after losing yesterday.”

Trailing 1-0 early after Kayla Friesen broke open the scoring for the Pride, captain Shiann Darkangelo beat Lovisa Selander five-hole from the middle of the slot, tallying her 12th goal of the season to even the score in the opening period.

“Daryl Watts came out of the box there, got the puck and hit me for a breakaway, and it was just one of those that you know you have to put in the back of the net to try to change the momentum swing,” explained Darkangelo after the game.

Being just the first of four first period goals for the hometown Six, forward Dominika Laskova connected with Daryl Watts flying down the left wing, who buried the puck top shelf past Lovisa Selander to put her team up by two with her third goal of the season.

“I got the puck from [Saroya] Tinker, and then I think it was a two-on-one with Laska [Dominika Laskova], she was yelling for the pass, but the top corner was open, so I just shot it, and thankfully, it went in,” recalled Watts, reflecting on her first period tally.

Continuing to apply pressure on the first-place Pride in the ensuing minutes of the regular season finale, Shiann Darkangelo found forward Brittany Howard housed up the middle of the high slot, who beat Selander five-hole to extend Toronto’s lead with a third tally for her 16th of the season.

“It was just on a zone entry, Shi [Darkangelo] was able to dish it over, she was coming through the middle and drove to the net, and she was able to back their defense up, give me a little time and space, and I was able to shoot it farside,” Howard explained after the game.

Setting the tone for what quickly became a busy opening period, Michela Cava followed in Howard’s footsteps four minutes later, potting the team’s fourth goal with a power play marker top shelf for her ninth goal of the season to put Toronto in the driver’s seat.

“I knew there was only like 20 seconds left, and I kind of just picked up the puck in the middle and thought I’d rush it in for either a shot on net or a faceoff late in the period, so that was my idea, and then I saw good screens from the defense, so I took a shot and it went in,” recalled Cava after the game.

Representing four of the game’s first five goals through the first 20 minutes, the Pride didn’t waste much time finding their legs in the middle frame, as defender Olivia Zafuto made a dash down the right wing before gliding into the offensive zone, netting her fifth goal of the season to bring her team back within a goal.

Itching to get more going offensively and stave off a loss to their Canadian counterparts, Elizabeth Giguère fed Sammy Davis with a cross-ice pass from the left circle, who buried a trickling puck behind the left pad of Carly Jackson for her sixth goal of the season to pull the Pride within a goal of the second-place Six.

Ensuring that her team wouldn’t go down without a fight in front of the Toronto faithful, defender Kali Flanagan tacked on one more to cut into Toronto’s lead at the 2:41 mark, going top shelf over the left shoulder of Jackson for her third goal of the season.

Resuming their efforts to keep the Pride at a distance as the contest neared a conclusion, Dominika Laskova found the stick of Breanne Wilson-Bennett a mere 45 seconds later during a second power play opportunity, who beat Selander five hole on the doorstep to put Toronto up 5-3 with her seventh goal of the season, which capped off a big afternoon and propelled the Toronto Six en route to a triumphant 5-4 victory.

“It was on a power play with maybe 10 seconds left in the period, and Laska [Dominika Laskova] had a battle in the corner, so I just picked it up and threw it to the net,” reflected Wilson-Bennett after the game. “It bounced off one of Boston’s players and went in, so it was a lucky goal there. That’s why you put pucks on the net.”

“I think we had a good game today to end off the season and get us ready to go into playoffs,” remarked Cava of the way Toronto performed in the season series finale. “It was definitely a little bit better than yesterday, but we still need to tighten up some things, but it definitely felt better.”

“We have an awesome group in the locker room, and it [the season] goes by so quick. Every year does, but I’m really proud of the girls, and ending it off there with a win was exciting,” commented Darkangelo of her team’s fight to the final buzzer. “It’s a good way to build momentum into the playoffs coming up here. It should be good and we’re excited for the next step.”

Making her fifth start of the regular season in the series finale, Carly Jackson made 36 saves between the pipes in the winning effort.

The Toronto Six exit the PHF regular season finishing in second place with 51 points, and now head into the PHF Isobel Cup Semifinals, which they will host on home soil next weekend at Toronto’s Mattamy Athletic Centre. All games will be available for viewing on ESPN+ in the United States, and on TSN Direct for viewers tuning in across Canada.