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‘I have not been a part of a team that’s ever witnessed this’: Ottawa loses five straight, prepares for the climb

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Five games, five losses. That’s been the story of the PWHL Ottawa team for almost the past month. They’re stuck in the league’s basement, but not for lack of trying.

Saturday’s game against Minnesota was their second loss in a row to them. Both of those were one-goal games. In fact, every one of Ottawa’s losses so far have been by a one-goal difference.

But despite the space between both Minnesota and Ottawa in the league’s standings, the teams aren’t so far apart.

For starters, Ottawa has scored 20 goals in 9 games, averaging about two goals a game. Compare that to the league leaders, who have 26 goals in 12 games, which also averages to about two goals.

Ottawa’s coach, Carla MacLeod, said her loss on Saturday comes down to a couple small mistakes.

“We can see that opportunities are being presented,” she said. “It’s just that next step of putting the puck into the net.”

When it comes to goals against, Ottawa’s doing the best here so far. They’ve let in the fewest amount of goals, at 21.

Ottawa’s Emily Clark was the only player able to slide one past Minnesota’s Nicole Hensley. It took Ottawa 18 shots on goal and about 30 minutes of play.

“I have not been a part of a team that’s ever witnessed this, in terms of ‘we can’t get a bounce,’” said MacLeod, talking about her team’s puck luck.

Ottawa outshot Minnesota 29-24 that game. It’s not uncommon for this team, as they’ve outshot their opponents in four out of these five games during their losing streak, combining for 112-79 in their last three games.

Despite not yet seeing the results, MacLeod said her and the team will get through this dry spell, in part due to their effort.

“We were the hardest working team.”

Yesterday’s game was close. So close that it was the first PWHL game to end after 60 minutes without a third period goal. Photo: Devon Tredinnick

There’s an eleven point gap between first and last placed teams. By no accident, a huge part of that comes down to regulation wins.

Minnesota coach Ken Klee spoke more about how important those wins are.

“three points for a win is huge because I don’t think anyone’s going to be out of it until the last week of the season,” he said.

Ottawa has a chance to earn themselves three points on Monday against Boston. Doing so would have them move up a spot in standings, trading places with them.

But they’ll be doing it without Mikyla Grant-Mentis, who Ottawa released and would go on to sign Rosalie Demers.

Grant-Mentis had three assists in six games for Ottawa this season. She never played a game for Ottawa in February. 

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