PWHL's leading scorer out for Game 4 vs. Minnesota


5 days ago 13

Toronto forward Natalie Spooner was placed on injured reserve after suffering a knee injury in a collision with Minnesota's Grace Zumwinkle in Game 3.

ST PAUL, Minn. — High-scoring Toronto forward Natalie Spooner will miss the rest of the Professional Women’s Hockey League playoffs because of a knee injury.

The team put the league's regular-season leading scorer on long-term injured reserve Wednesday after Spooner was injured during a collision with Minnesota’s Grace Zumwinkle during Game 3 of the teams’ semifinal series Monday. After delivering a clean hit, Zumwinkle appeared to fall awkwardly on the right knee of Spooner, who crawled off the ice and onto the bench before limping down the tunnel in pain.

Spooner, 33, led the PWHL in its inaugural season with 20 goals and 27 points in 24 games. Her 20 goals were nine more than the next-closest player, one of the reasons she is a leading candidate to win league MVP honors. She led Toronto to the league's best record and top playoff seed.

“It’s a big loss for us," Toronto general manager Gina Kingsbury said in a statement. "Obviously, Natalie has been an important part of our success all year. We have no doubt Natalie will continue to have an impact on our team, just in a different way.”

Toronto leads Minnesota 2-1 in the best-of-five series and can move on to the PWHL final with a road win Wednesday night. Boston already advanced to play for the Walter Cup by beating Montreal in the other semifinal.

In a corresponding roster move, Toronto activated forward Jess Jones, who played five games during the regular season.

After failing to score a goal in the first two games of the series, Minnesota rebounded in Game 3 in front of a home crowd to blank Toronto 2-0 and stave off elimination. The club is determined to deliver a similar effort in Game 4 Wednesday at the 'X' and force a Game 5 in Toronto. 

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