The single-elimination Isobel Cup Semifinals will be shown live on Friday, March. 26 at 5 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET. The winners of the semifinals will advance to the Isobel Cup Final on Saturday. March 27 at 7 p.m. ET. In addition to coverage on NBCSN, live coverage will stream exclusively on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.
• Toronto Six 4-1-1 in Lake Placid
Last time out: Defeated Connecticut 6-0 before the season pause.
Leading players: Mikyla Grant-Mentis – There’s little debate about Grant-Mentis’ stardom after her Lake Placid showing. The second-year NWHL forward, who broke records at Merrimack College, has emerged as one of the faces of the league. She scored a league-leading five goals in the Lake Placid tournament and returns expected to be the Six leader again.
According to InStats, which ran analytics in Lake Placid, Grant-Mentis averaged 3.17 individual scoring chances/GP, just insane production.
Who to watch: Brooke Boquist, Emma Woods – Both Boquist and Woods missed the last couple of games for the Six, but they’re ready to go and will be challenging for Boston to deal with in the first game.
Boquist, a rookie, notched four points in her first four games before missing the final two, while Woods, who brought over experience from the CWHL, had four assists before she similarly missed the last couple of contests. Their return should spark the Six offense even more.
Roster changes: MacKenzie MacNeil, Taytum Clairmont: The two forwards won’t make the trip to Boston, according to Six head coach Digit Murphy. Clairmont had a goal and two assists in six games in Lake Placid, while MacNeil had two tallies.
[Isobel Cup previews: Boston Pride / Connecticut Whale / Minnesota Whitecaps]
Friday, March 26
• No. 1 Toronto Six vs. No. 4 Boston Pride – 5 p.m. ET, NBCSN (livestream)
• No. 2 Minnesota Whitecaps vs. No. 3 Connecticut Whale – 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN (livestream)
Saturday, March 27
• Isobel Cup Final; higher seed is home team – 7 p.m. ET, NBCSN (livestream)
Matchup history: Toronto’s first ever franchise win came against rival Boston, a 2-1 victory following a shootout loss to Minnesota the game prior. Boston took a 1-0 lead in that game before the Six tallied the final two.
Vibe check: The Six are one of the most electric teams in all of hockey.
You read that right; all of hockey. Toronto prides itself in its high-flying nature. For a team that is so offensive focused, and has such a thin blue line, the top pair of Lindsay Eastwood and Taylor Woods has made it so the rest of the Six doesn’t have to hesitate to push the puck on offense.
For the Six, they’re grateful they had some experience in the first go-around in Lake Placid, since they can’t afford to come out of the gate cold against the Pride.
“You have to come out hard in the first period because you can’t afford to learn or watch anyone play,” said Murphy. “Originally (in Lake Placid) we were like a deer in the headlights the first game, so the good news is that’s all out of our system.”
Toronto lost its first game to the Riveters, 3-0, before nearly coming back down by four to Minnesota being an ultimate 6-5 shootout defeat. They haven’t lost a game since.
One of those wins was against Boston, and they’ll try to channel some of that same strategy.
“They’re really, really good,” said Murphy. “We’re the upstarts, we’re the rookies, I think the edge goes to their playoff experience…. We’re just going to come out with a ton of energy.”
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Marisa Ingemi is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi.