It’s the final weekend of the regular season and there’s plenty on the line.
We’ve finally reached the summit—five months of Premier Hockey Federation regular season games will draw to a close at the end of March. While the last week of some seasons pass with few storylines and not much to win, this PHF campaign still has much to be determined. For starters, first place is still up for grabs, and with that comes the number one seed in the Isobel Cup Playoffs. The scoring title and possibly even MVP honors could be determined as well. All of this stacks up to be one heck of a final weekend to finish off a great season. Let’s get into the good stuff.
Now you know the best meals start with a good appetizer before the main course, and this weekend’s first plate features Boston visiting Buffalo to wrap up the Beauts home schedule. Both of these teams are set in their spot in the standings and will even play each other in the first round of the playoffs, so this will be a good chance for them to get familiar with each other before the big show. It could even breed some animosity and bad blood, which couldn’t hurt this game’s entertainment value.
Let’s face it, games of late haven’t been fun for the Buffalo Beauts. They had a nice little stretch of upsetting some better competition, but they’ve come right back to reality since then. Six straight losses don’t sit well with fans and the upcoming playoffs don’t look promising. In addition to losing a lot lately, Buffalo hasn’t beaten Boston all year. Mixing those facts together, I get the sense that both this weekend and the first round won’t be too competitive.
I won’t put the nail in Buffalo’s coffin just yet, but I’m real close. Boston just seems like the perfect match who’s built for playoff success. They’ve got strong goaltending, consistent scoring, and a punishing defense that limits opposing offenses every game. Unless I see anything to dispute these trends this weekend, Boston’s got the edge here.
Sorry I made you wait for this, but here we go. This matchup between the Six and Whale was supposed to happen in late January, but I guess good things come to those who wait. It’s fitting that the clear top-two teams will play each other to wrap up the season, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you’ve had just a glimpse at our coverage of the PHF this year, there’s no hiding the fact that we’ve gassed up Toronto and Connecticut. This praise is warranted as they’ve both dominated opponents all season long, and it’s fun to finally have them play each other. Like I said before, there’s so much on the line even though this still isn’t the postseason.
As noted in our PHF Awards Preview piece, Toronto’s Mikyla Grant-Mentis currently leads the PHF in points. Only one point behind her is Kennedy Marchment of the Whale. The scoring race of the league will be decided in this weekend’s games. I expect MGM and Marchment to put up multiple points per game, so the end of this race should be exciting. The winner might even be crowned MVP of the PHF as well.
From a team standpoint, both sides here have clinched a bye in the first round of the Isobel Cup Playoffs. Toronto sits one point ahead of Connecticut, so if the series is split, Toronto will remain in the top spot. A sweep by Connecticut will see them jump ahead to take the top seed, and they have a shot to do so on home ice.
This looks like an Isobel Cup Final preview, and I’m so excited for that. I think Toronto has a slight edge here based on how complete their team is, but if the Connecticut Whale have done anything all year, it’s surprise me. Hopefully this series is an exciting look into next week’s action and just a taste of the craziness to come.