Ottawa fans have a history of needing patience with their hockey teams.

Example: rewind the clock to Oct. 8, 1992, when the modern-day Ottawa Senators debuted in the National Hockey League. That first game was a 5-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

Despite a good start, the team struggled the rest of that first season and, to this day, they have yet to win a Stanley Cup.

Meanwhile, the brand new Professional Women’s Hockey League’s Ottawa team is starting to write their own story. But it’s early days and Head Coach Carla MacLeod knows it takes time for a team’s identity to emerge. 

“The identity is constantly living and morphing,” she said. “It’s not one word. It’s not one thing, or two things. It’s a living, breathing piece of who we are.”

Three games, one win and two overtime losses, totalling five points for Ottawa in this inaugural PWHL season. The record has them tied with New York and Boston.

It appeared Ottawa might just walk away with a win Wednesday, after putting Minnesota into an early two-goal deficit with markers by Savannah Harmon and Lexie Adzija. But the league’s top team would even things out in the second. There was no scoring in the third.

Ottawa pressed but Minnesota’s netminder Nicole Hensley kept the game close and was rewarded in overtime. [Photo @ Devon Tredinnick]

Tied after regulation, Ottawa had proven themselves capable of facing off against Minnesota, despite having played half as many games as their opponents before Wednesday’s match.

But Susanna Tapani, Minnesota’s very own Finnish Flash, with her second of the game, would score the overtime winner for Minnesota, off the stick of Ottawa defender, Jincy Roese.

Unlike those 1992-93 Sens, PWHL Ottawa has yet to leave a game without a point. Still, another 3-2 overtime loss can sting, despite fans once again rising from their seats to cheer Ottawa on.

Ottawa forward, Gabbie Hughes, praised the fans’ early dedication and mused about how sweet it’ll be when the team gets its first home win.

“I think it’s going to be absolutely electric. They’ve stuck with us through both overtime games — there hasn’t been an empty seat,” said Hughes. 

“They stand with us and they’re always there for us, so when we get that win, I can’t imagine what it’s going to sound like. They cheer for us even when we lose,” Hughes chuckled.

The Sens’ win against Montreal in 1992 was the first for an NHL team in Ottawa since defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs back in early March of 1934. Here, the women do draw a parallel. 

Although not a win at home. Ottawa’s first win in the PWHL was against another rival, Toronto. And it also came with a handful of goals.

MacLeod said an Ontario rivalry is inevitable, but it won’t come for free.

“The Ontario rivalry is a fun one. I think anytime anyone’s playing Toronto, there’s always an energy there. Because they’re such a great team, it won’t be lost on us at the opportunity to create that rivalry. But you have to earn that.”

Ottawa will get another chance for the first home win on Tuesday when they once again go against Toronto at home followed by Boston also at TD Place.