(Photo: Melissa Burgess)
The final two weeks of the NWHL regular season are ahead, and there's still some openings in the standings. The Metropolitan Riveters continue to hold first place, but the red-hot Buffalo Beauts can still catch them, just four points behind.
The Boston Pride are third in the league with 10 points, a spot they can clinch this coming weekend, while the Connecticut Whale (eight points) are at the bottom of the league. Each team has just two games remaining in the regular season before the Isobel Cup playoffs begin March 17.
Boston Shuts Out Connecticut
The Pride already know they'll finish either third or fourth in the league, but they're still fighting to claim third-place. That was helped by their 3-0 win over the Whale on Sunday.
The opening twenty minutes of action saw no goals, but a slew of penalties, three to each team. Boston's Emily Field finally put her team on the board just 2:40 into the second period, her first of two goals on the afternoon.
After Jillian Dempsey won the faceoff to the right of Sydney Rossman, she fought for the puck in the corner, broke loose and passed it right to Field, who was waiting and not covered in front of the net.
The Pride clung to their 1-0 lead for the rest of the second, then added to it in the third. Sydney Daniels potted a power-play tally early in the period after Sam Faber took a tripping penalty. Boston was able to cycle the puck around the ice before Daniels made it 2-0.
Later, with just 1:23 to play in regulation, Field potted her second of the game. Alyssa Gagliardi had the initial shot from the point, which Field tipped.
Rossman had 23 saves in the loss, while Brittany Ott stopped all 25 shots faced in her second shutout of the season.
Buffalo Wins Eighth Straight Game
Thanks to a third period collapse by the Riveters, the Beauts extended their winning streak to eight games with a 4-3 victory over Metropolitan.
Kristin Lewicki had perhaps Buffalo's best chance of the opening period on a breakaway, but was unable to put the puck past netminder Katie Fitzgerald.
The Riveters took a 2-0 lead late in the first period on goals by Kelsey Koelzer and Rebecca Morse. Koelzer's goal came on a slapshot from in between the faceoff circles after back-and-forth passes with teammate Kiira Dosdall.
With just 30 seconds left in the period, Morse shot it over the shoulder of Buffalo netminder Amanda Leveille.
The Riveters broke out of their own zone and nabbed a three-on-two, with the puck eventually heading to Morse's stick. She shot it through two Beauts players and over Leveille's shoulder to make it 2-0.
Buffalo got on the board just over halfway through the game on Jess Jones' fourth goal of the season. After Rebecca Vint slid the puck away from a Riveters player near center ice, the Beauts rushed the puck down the ice and Jones scored bardown to make it 2-1.
After Metro went up 3-1 early in the third, it was Buffalo's time to shine.
Hayley Scamurra made it a one-goal game with just over 13 minutes to play. A giveaway in the Riveters' end put the puck in the Beauts' possession on the stick of Maddie Elia, who passed it to Scamurra for the shot and goal.
The Beauts later scored twice in a span of 2:01 to tie the game and take the lead.
Maddie Elia scored on the power-play after being fed by the puck by Kourtney Kunichika. Elia sniped the puck from between the faceoff circles – kind of similar to Morse's first-period goal -– to even the score.
Minutes later, Kunichika potted the game-winner on a wrist shot. Kunichika was fed the shot from a Beauts player halfway down the ice, then came in on the right side of the ice to wrist it into the net behind Fitzgerald.
Amanda Leveille had 22 saves in the win, while her counterpart Fitzgerald stopped 14 of 18 shots faced.
News & Notes
- The Riveters have signed Hillary Crowe for the remainder of the season. The Eden Prairie, Minnesota native made her debut this past weekend.
- The NWHL deadline for signing players is Tuesday, March 6. This opens the door for the potential return of Olympic players to the league for the playoff push, and also for the signing of college players who could join a team after their NCAA schedules have ended.
Coming Up Next
Connecticut and Boston face off at 7:30 PM Eastern Saturday at Warrior Ice Arena, while the Beauts and Riveters rematch Sunday at 3:00 PM Eastern at Barnabas Health Hockey House.