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8-game win streak: Spooner leads PWHL Toronto past Boston 3-1

Toronto head coach Troy Ryan wants his team to send a clearer message to its opponents going forward.

Natalie Spooner had a goal and an assist as Toronto won its eighth straight game, defeating Boston 3-1 in a Professional Women’s Hockey League game Wednesday.

Toronto held a 4-0 edge before giving up two unanswered goals and eventually taking a 5-2 win over Ottawa on Saturday. On Wednesday, Toronto took a 3-0 lead into the third period.

“I think the big thing is just when you do get those leads late in the game, not giving anybody any life,” Ryan said. “You always want to be able to send a message to your group but also to the opposition.

“I think we could be clearer with that message.”

On the other hand, Ryan finds it encouraging that his group still has plenty to improve upon in the middle of such a win streak.

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“It’s nice to be able to make comments and still have things to fix when you’re winning hockey games,” he said. “They deserve a lot of credit for sticking with it.

“Even the message in the dressing room, I didn’t really speak a whole lot. The players spoke. They’re not necessarily fully satisfied with where they’re at, so they’ll just continue to get better.”

Toronto goaltender Kristen Campbell (50) makes a save on Boston’s Hilary Knight (21) as Toronto Allie Munroe (12) joins in during first period PWHL action in Toronto on Wednesday March 6, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Allie Munroe and Maggie Connors also scored for Toronto (10-5-0), which has also won nine of its last 10 games. Kristen Campbell made 22 saves in front a sellout crowd of 2,479 at Mattamy Athletic Centre.

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The victory moved Toronto into second in the PWHL, just three points back of Montreal which they will face Friday.

It was Toronto’s second straight victory over Boston, following up a 5-3 win Feb. 14. Toronto leads the season series 2-1 with Boston taking the first game 3-2 on Jan. 17.

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“I think rivalries are brewing everywhere around this league because every game is really so important now,” Spooner said. “You could tell they weren’t happy at the end of (the third) period so I’m sure the next time we play them, it could be spicy right off the hop.”

Jess Healey scored for Boston (6-6-2), which dropped its second in a row.

Goaltender Aerin Frankel stopped 15 shots over in two periods. Emma Soderberg turned away all 11 shots she faced in relief in the third period.

“I think we’re seeing the same thing over and over again,” Boston head coach Courtney Kessel said. “We’re waiting until we’re down until we want to play with urgency and it’s not going to work in this league.

“We fought hard in the third but it’s not enough.”

Munroe scored her first of the season at 3:25 of the first period when she buried a rebound on a Sarah Nurse shot.

Spooner doubled the lead with 2:23 remaining in the period on a breakaway. She got Frankel to bite on a deke and went to her backhand to score her PWHL-leading 12th goal.

Connors scored with 3:26 remaining in the second period, beating Frankel glove side just 30 seconds after killing a Boston power play.

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Healey finally got Boston on the board with 5:35 left in the contest when she whipped a shot off the post and in.

Things got heated in the final three minutes.

Spooner was driving forward to score into an empty net but was taken down by Healey. Jamie Lee Rattray then checked Spooner into the net and a scuffle ensued by the end boards.

Munroe and Rattray went to the penalty box for roughing for their part in the scuffle, and Healey for hooking.

“I don’t shy away from it, just try to be hard to play against and they were frustrated, I get it,” Munroe said. “We’re always up for the fight.”

Nurse was later taken down in Boston’s zone by Boston defender Megan Keller, who was penalized for interference. Nurse took exception to Keller’s antics while she was down and waved goodbye to Keller as she headed to the penalty box.

UP NEXT

Toronto is set to host Montreal on Friday.

Boston is at home to New York on Sunday.

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