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'It's a big loss': PWHL Toronto lose Natalie Spooner for rest of the playoffs with knee injury

PWHL Toronto will have another chance to move on to the Walter Cup final on Wednesday night, but the team will have to win without arguably its best player.

Natalie Spooner will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury suffered in Game 3 against Minnesota, the team announced on Wednesday morning.

Spooner took a hit from Minnesota forward Grace Zumwinkle in front of her team's bench during the third period of Toronto's 2-0 loss on Monday. She remained down on the ice for several seconds before crawling to the bench and needing help to get down the tunnel. There was no penalty on the play.

WATCH | Spooner suffers season-ending injury in Game 3 against Minnesota:

Spooner's injury is a massive loss for Toronto. The 33-year-old from Scarborough, Ont. was the league's leading scorer in the regular season, registering 27 points including 20 goals in 24 games — nine goals more than teammate Sarah Nurse and Zumwinkle, who tied for second in the goal-scoring race. Spooner also played a key role on Toronto's penalty kill.

In three playoff games, Spooner had a goal and an assist.

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

With Spooner moved to long-term injured reserve, Toronto has activated forward Jess Jones from its reserve list. Jones didn't log a point over five games with Toronto in the regular season.

Spooner spent the last few games primarily playing on a line with captain Blayre Turnbull and Hannah Miller. Combined, those three have scored four of Toronto's six playoff goals.

In her absence, the coaching staff could

Read more on cbc.ca