PHF Weekend Primer 3/5–3/6

The final month of the PHF season is here beginning with four games this weekend. 

By Spencer Hoagland

The month of March provides some of the greatest moments in sports. It’s known for postseason tournaments and the crowning of champions, and that’s no different in the Premier Hockey Federation. We kick off the final month of this PHF season with four teams squaring off with a chance at improving their seeding for the Isobel Cup Playoffs which commence just 20 days from now. 

Each team has a heightened sense of urgency to get themselves together this weekend. For Minnesota and Metropolitan, this is their second-to-last time playing together before the regular season ends. Both the Whitecaps and Riveters sit in the middle of the standings and look like they’ll be playing in the preliminary games to start their cup run. Connecticut and Boston are competing for the No. 2 seed in the PHF, which would give either a first-round bye and move them automatically to the semi-finals. Regardless of where each team stands, learning to win in March is an important recipe for success and a precursor for who might come out on top when it’s all over. Let’s dive into this weekend’s action. 

Boston Pride vs Metropolitan Riveters

There’s no hiding it, the Metropolitan Riveters aren’t in the best of places heading into this matchup. It was a brutal month of February for a Rivs team who went 1–5 in their last six games. Momentum is not quite on their side to say the least. Hopefully, Metropolitan has gotten the kinks out and there’s something of a breakthrough coming. With struggling teams, leadership is important to bring the group together and rally the troops, so to speak. Madison Packer could be the best in this league at being a team leader. Not only does she lead the team in points, but Packer is a league veteran who teammates look up to. 

Madison Packer in a game versus the Boston Pride. (Photo Credit: Michelle Jay/The Ice Garden)

I think Metropolitan can still turn things around considering their depth of talent in Kendall Corrinne and Rebecca Russo, who are almost point-per-game players. Both contribute to a constant scoring threat which is why the sky is not yet falling in New Jersey. In January, they were able to split their matchup with Boston which shows they’re not outmatched here. Boston will likely play Katie Burt in game one, and although she’s been on fire lately, don’t count the Rivs out yet. 

Speaking of Boston, they’ve got to feel pretty comfortable where they’re at. The Beauts sit in third currently but still trail Connecticut by 7 points. It’s possible to move up but it’s more likely they’re going to finish here. This weekend’s games versus Metropolitan might be a preview of their first playoff game, so I’m interested to see how Boston attacks the Riveters. We could see a bit of deception if Boston doesn’t want to show all of their cards to Metropolitan and vice versa. I like the defensive brand of hockey Boston plays, and the team looks ready for playoff action after sweeping Buffalo last time out. There’s no problem with riding a hot goaltender the entire way, and it will be interesting to see just how far the aforementioned Katie Burt can take them. 

Connecticut Whale vs Minnesota Whitecaps

If you like a ton of offense, do yourself a favor and turn these games on—you can thank me later. In terms of sheer goal-scoring ability, the Whale and Whitecaps bring it all and might need net reinforcements when it’s all over. Connecticut has been filling opponents’ goals all season long and they’re the hottest team in the PHF right now. There’s no better time to win 8 games in a row than leading up to the playoffs, and it looks like there’s nothing holding the Whale back now. This team has four players with more than six goals scored which is enough to give defenses nightmares. 

While the Whale obviously want to keep the good times rolling on offense, they’ll need goaltender Abbie Ives to fine-tune her game to be successful in the playoffs. Ives sports just a .909 save percentage but was elite in her rookie season last year. If she returns to that form, look out, because that’s their final key to truly being a wagon. 

Minnesota Whitecaps celebrate a goal scored versus Abbie Ives. (Photo Credit: Star Tribune)

The Minnesota Whitecaps play their final home games of the season this weekend. It’s been an up and down campaign by a team who is really good on paper but hasn’t seen results to match. Minnesota displays their talent with a 20% power play success rate and 85% penalty kill success. Playing so well on special teams could be key to ending Connecticut’s streak and maybe even taking both games this weekend. If they get on the 5-on-4 advantage often, they should be in a good position to win games. 

Allie Thunstrom was named PHF player of the month for February, already tallying 15 goals this year. She’s a contender for league MVP and powers this Whitecaps offense every game. I’ll look for her to provide the spark and pull off an upset versus Connecticut. 

There’s no better time for these teams to get on a roll than right now. Some of the matchups we see this weekend could very likely be playoff matchups later this month, so it’s a huge opportunity for the squad to both scout and work on picking up some momentum. On individual terms, both Minnesota’s Allie Thunstrom and Connecticut’s Kennedy Marchment continue their MVP campaigns, and it will be fantastic to see them on the same sheet of ice. Hopefully all of the action lives up to the hype and it’s another great weekend of PHF hockey. 

Share this story:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.