Ottawa 3, Toronto 1; Boston 3, Ottawa 2

A week of firsts for PWHL Ottawa, for better and worse.

When the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) had its first game in Ottawa, advisory board member for the league, Stan Kasten, made it clear this reality was never in their cards early.

“This wasn’t necessarily on our opening list for cities,” Kasten said. He explained it was Gary Bettman, the National Hockey League’s commissioner, who encouraged him to build a team in Canada’s capital.

“I’m really happy I was smart enough to take his advice,” Kasten said.

Now, Ottawa has been making history in strides. Their back-to-back games this week proved as much.

Tuesday was the team’s first home, where they defended their dominance (so far) in the Battle of Ontario, beating Toronto in overtime.

“It’s exciting to have those conversations about the Battle of Ontario,” said Ottawa Captain Brianne Jenner. “Next time we face them they’re certainly going to be hungry, we have to expect that.”

Up until then, Ottawa had walked away from every game played with at least a point. Head coach for the team, Carla MacLeod, talked about how they have been consistent.

“Just building every day,” MacLeod said. “It wasn’t a perfect game by any means so it’s just a matter of getting better. We’ll analyse this game with the coaching staff and make sure when we drop the puck tomorrow there’s something we’ve learned from it.”

And much to learn there still is. When the puck dropped on Wednesday against Boston, it was another night of firsts for Ottawa — though not as positive. Ottawa would finally finish a game without any points.

“It wasn’t a great start,” MacLeod said after the loss to Boston. “It’s been a couple of games in a row. We’ll keep working on that.”

The support from Ottawa fans has been a real boost for the team, said Head Coach Carla Macleod. [Photo @ Devon Tredinnick]

Still, MacLeod had some positives, highlighting Emerance Maschmeyer in goal. She wasn’t supposed to play Wednesday, but an unlucky injury to Sandra Abstreiter put her back between the pipes late into the first frame.

“[Maschmeyer] has been around the game so long that she knows: when you’re back-up, you’re always ready to go. She was for us tonight.”

As well the Ottawa power play leads the league, converting more than 30 per cent of the time including against Boston on Wednesday.

MacLeod also noted how much of an impact Ottawa’s fanbase has had so far.

“When you feel the emotion of the game and its resonating through the crowd, obviously it impacts the bench too. And it gets exciting.”

The PWHL is a tight league. Of 18 games so far, nine have ended in a 3-2 score. Ottawa now sits fourth with eight points after five games. They are tied with Boston and New York.

Next up, they head down the 417 to face off against league-leaders Montreal on Saturday.