PHF Fantasy Trends: The End of the Line

Find out who did well in fantasy last weekend, and who you should consider adding for this weekend. 

By J Gray

The last weekend of the regular season for the Premier Hockey Federation will determine the seeding for two three-game playoff series starting later in the week. This weekend will also determine the champions of She Plays PHF Fantasy. Your league is down to its final two teams;  let’s see what we can do to make you the last GM standing.

Last week’s stars

Last weekend was a roller coaster, with two games going to OT, one going to a shootout, and two games with a two-goal differential seeing goals scored in the final minute.

With all that excitement, it should come as no surprise that goaltenders topped the fantasy list. Abbie Ives led the pack with 21.68 fantasy points after her Whale swept the Buffalo Beauts. She allowed 3 goals on 42 shots. Corinne Schroeder was close behind with 19.32 fantasy points. The pride of the Pride allowed 5 goals on 66 shots. Both netminders posted a regulation win and and OT/SO win.

With 3 assists, 18 SOG, and a single faceoff taken and won, Boston’s Loren Gabel earned the most fantasy points among skaters last week. Catherine Dubois of la Force followed with 16.25 fantasy points from her first goal of the season… and another goal as well! Pride captain Jillian Dempsey rounded out the top three with 15.5 fantasy points after a 2G, 1A weekend performance.

Among defenders, Connecticut led with two left-side D both contributing 6.5 fantasy points. Allie Munroe had 2 assists and 5 SOG, while Tori Howran produced a goal, an assist, and 7 SOG. Three defenders earned 5.5 fantasy points, including the third Connecticut leftie, Emma Keenan with a goal and 6 SOG. Metropolitan’s Minttu Tuominen had a goal and 3 SOG, and teammate Ebba Berglund scored her first PHF goal alongside 5 SOG on the weekend.

Sleeper picks

Montréal’s Dubois was an unusual addition to the top fantasy scorers this week, and two other middle-six forwards cracked the top 10 for skaters this week. Boston’s Taylor Wenczkowski had 2 assists, 6 SOG, and won 18-10 of her draws versus Minnesota. Opposing her, Liz Schepers came up clutch, scoring the first of the Whitecaps’ two comeback goals in the final minute of regulation and assisting on the other, sending her team to OT against Boston. She also had 5 SOG and went 18-14 on the faceoff dot. Each of those skaters was worth 12.5 fantasy points.

Kendall Cornine of the Riveters also came up shiny, scoring her third goal of the season, taking 5 shots on goal, and winning 3-1 on faceoffs for 10 fantasy points.

Upcoming schedule and fantasy strategy

The expansion Montréal Force are the only team not playing this weekend. Their inaugural season is done, and it was one for the books! They didn’t make the playoffs, but they showed why La Belle Province is a force to be reckoned with in the hockey world. Watch out for them next season, and in the meantime, make sure any and all Force players are on your fantasy bench.

The first series of the final weekend will be between the two non-playoff teams, the Buffalo Beauts and the Metropolitan Riveters. Dropping the puck on Friday night at 7pm, we’ll see either Katie Burt or Rachel McQuigge in the net. It sounds as though Eveliina Mäkinen is dealing with an injury not bad enough to keep her off the roster, but with two healthy and capable goalies, there’s no need to force anything. The Beauts have been riding Lovisa Berndtsson and Samantha Ridgewell lately, but may opt to play former Riveter Tera Hoffman in one game. Buffalo tends to split weekends unless the first game goes very well, so keep that in mind when you’re selecting players.

Elaine Chuli of the Toronto Six. Source: PHF

On Saturday afternoon, the Rivs and Beauts will play the last game of their seasons at the same time as Boston and Toronto take the ice for a potential Isobel Cup Final preview. Undoubtedly, Corinne Schroeder and Elaine Chuli will be between the pipes for these teams who seek not only to prove they have what it takes to beat the other, but sharpen themselves for their respective playoff series, which will start on Thursday and Friday. 

The third and fourth seeds will face off on Saturday evening at 7pm EST, 6pm CST in Minnesota. Although the Whitecaps gave newly signed backup Chantal Burke some time in the net against Boston, it’s more likely that we’ll see Jenna Brenneman starting both of these games. However, there is another possibility if we look at our history. Last season, starting netminder Amanda Leveille sustained an injury in the latter half of the season, and the team did not win many games without her while burning through backup goalies. She returned dramatically for the team’s single-elimination game in the playoffs, but was unable to steal the game for her team. Leveille’s injury this season came at a similar time. While the Caps have performed better without her this season than they did last season, if there’s a chance she’ll be able to return soon, they may want to see her take a few shots in a game before their three-game series against one of the top two seeds.

Meanwhile, the Whale seem determined to ride Abbie Ives out for the rest of the season, but that could change if Saturday’s game goes in a way they don’t like. 1B Meeri Räisänen will be at the ready.

As they’ve been playing significantly better as a team in the second half of the season, there are a number of Riveters to keep an eye on this weekend. Kendall Cornine’s third goal of the season last week was also her third in 7 games. She has also been taking fewer faceoffs and having greater statistical success when she does, which is a good combination for fantasy scoring. Kennedy Ganser has continued to be a beast at the faceoff dot, with a success rate just a hair under Kelly Babstock’s while taking 130 more draws on the season. She’s one of the more valuable fantasy players who may still be available in your league. New addition Hayley Lunny has had 2 assists in 6 games while playing in the bottom six: someone to keep an eye on.

The Connecticut Whale are a threatening team not only because of the combination of Kennedy Marchment and Taylor Girard, but because each of their top three lines are legitimate scoring threats. Players like Justine Reyes, Alyssa Wohlfeiler, and Caitrin Lonergan are among the league’s weapons, and their linemates Melissa Samoskevich and Katerina Mrazova shouldn’t be underestimated either. All five of those players had at least one point last weekend against Buffalo, so it’s hard to recommend a single one. The Whale’s defenders were also among the most successful in the league last week in fantasy terms, and that was because they were shooting. Basically, if you’re looking for someone to add to your roster this week, it’s hard to go wrong with one of the offensively-minded Whale skaters.

For the Whitecaps, late-season addition Taylor Wente cooled down on her previously exceptional faceoff success rate, but she also scored her first professional goal. She was in the right place—charging the net—at the right time to tuck in a pretty pass from below the red line. She has shown some promising play for a new player on the fourth line.

The Toronto Six’s last games were two weeks ago against the Minnesota Whitecaps. The Six are a little tricky to judge. They have scoring threats up and down the lineup, but between injuries, national team duties, and new players, the lines have changed constantly since the new year. Defenders have been playing at forward and wingers playing at center to cover gaps in the lineup. Very few line pairings have maintained any sort of consistency, and rookie addition Daryl Watts has only had the same linemates from weekend to weekend a few times. Although the Six came out with two regulation wins against the Caps, one a 7-1 drubbing, it’s hard to tell if they’ll be a similar threat to the Boston Pride.

Returning to the lineup after missing several games, Tereza Vanišová had the only goal, and thus the game-winner, in the first game against Minnesota, and then another goal the following day. If you want to add her to your fantasy team, make sure not to add her player entry from last season when she played for the Boston Pride. That version does not have a photograph!

Michela Cava had a goal, 2 assists, and a single faceoff draw and win. She was reunited with team-leading scorer Brittany Howard and Shiann Darkangelo on the top line, and if she’s available she’s a good one to snap up right now. Even if the Six don’t keep that line together, Cava is the team’s fourth-leading scorer and is an excellent pickup regardless.

Boston is in a different situation than Toronto. Although they have several of the league’s top scorers, those players are concentrated in their top six. For fantasy GMs looking to make good pickups, any available Pride player is a decent bet week-to-week, but there’s less consistency. The steal for the week on this team may be Becca Gilmore, who returned to the team after playing in the final Rivalry Series games and put up 2 assists against Minnesota. She has been in and out of the roster this season, so it’s likely she’s still available in your league

Vibe of the Week

The Buffalo Beauts have not had the best season. After a disappointing finish last year, the team was very enthusiastic about rebuilding, creating a winning culture, and playing elite hockey. Things didn’t come together for them this season, marking their second straight season in last place and their fourth in the bottom half of the standings. However, the players have been pretty consistent throughout the season in playing for each other, having fun, and bringing a positive attitude.

Grace Klienbach is a veteran in this league, with three seasons for the Whale under her belt going back to 2017-2018, along with the last two in Buffalo. She’s seen some tough times with both teams, but she has clearly kept up the joy for the game and for the home fans that really sets the Beauts apart. A forward, Klienbach is likely available in your league and will bring you good vibes!

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