"We worked hard all season, and we deserved this win," said Boston Pride netminder Brittany Ott on the ice after her team won the first-ever NWHL Isobel Cup on March 12.
The Pride swept the Buffalo Beauts in a pair of wins on Friday and Saturday at the Hockey House in Newark, New Jersey to capture the league title.
Boston came out running with a solid first period, outshooting Buffalo by a margin of 12-2. What the scoreboard didn't show: multiple good chances for the Beauts that resulted in either missed or blocked shots.
The Pride went up 1-0 when Brianna Decker, who would eventually be named Most Valuable Player, had a breakaway. With a pair of Beauts chasing her, Decker potted the first of the night to put her team up.
With less than half of the third period remaining, Buffalo remained down by a goal despite several chances to tie it. Boston played a strong, defensive game to keep the Beauts fairly tame.
Decker made it a two-goal game with a shorthanded tally later in the third. She picked up a rebound off Beauts goaltender Brianne McLaughlin to send it in after McLaughlin made a save on a tremendous play by Hilary Knight.
Knight herself then tallied one with a nifty backhander to put the Pride up 3-0.
Buffalo was able to get one back and break Ott's shutout bid with 37 seconds to go, but it wouldn't be enough. Erin Zach notched the Beauts' lone goal of the night, while Megan Bozek and Shelby Bram were credited with assists.
As the final buzzer sounded, the inaugural NWHL season came to a close with the Pride's victory -- and a short time later, players were awarded with the Isobel Cup itself.
The Cup, which is named after Lord Stanley's daughter Isobel, weighs about 15 pounds. It currently has enough space on the base to accommodate 15 years of winning teams. All of the Founding Four's team names are engraved in the base as well.
The Isobel Cup also features an engraved quote:
“This Cup shall be awarded annually to the greatest professional woman’s hockey team in North America. All who pursue this Cup, pursue a dream; a dream born with Isobel, that shall never die.”
With Saturday's win, the Pride not only captured the regular season NWHL title, but sealed the deal with the Isobel Cup victory as well.
Congratulations to all four teams on an incredible inaugural season; be sure to stay tuned to The Victory Press for more photo recaps and a more in-depth analysis of the Isobel Cup Final.