In Premier Hockey Federation action, the Boston Pride and Metropolitan Riveters split their weekend series, while the Minnesota Whitecaps swept a pair of games against the Buffalo Beauts. The scheduled series between the Connecticut Whale and Toronto Six was postponed.
Note: The ESPN+/Hulu archived video of Saturday's game is missing most of the first period. As a result, this recap does not include any details of the scoreless opening frame.
The Pride, playing their first game since December 5 after a string of postponements and the holiday break, extended their winning streak to four games with a 3-1 win on Saturday, thanks to three (!) shorthanded goals. The following afternoon, the Riveters snapped a five-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory.
After a scoreless first period that saw each team register 12 shots on goal, the Pride dominated much of the middle frame but still couldn't beat Brooke Wolejko.
Captain Jillian Dempsey eventually broke the seal very, very late in the second. Boston was shorthanded, with Mallory Souliotis off on a tripping call. Dempsey, on a 2-on-1 with McKenna Brand, picked up a pass from the winger. In attempting to pass it back to Brand, she was instead able to bank it in.
The Riveters tied the game 4:20 into the third period on Emily Janiga's third goal of the season. Janiga scored from right in front of the net off a backhand pass from Madison Packer in the corner, shooting it past a Pride defender and the netminder. With the assist, Packer recorded her 100th PHF point.
The two teams remain locked at one until the final minute of play, when the Pride scored two shorthanded goals, including one empty-netter, to snag the late win. The Riveters simply took their foot off the gas, and Boston capitalized.
Dempsey tallied her second of the game with 47 seconds to play, hustling to the front of the net and getting her stick down to redirect McKenna Brand's pass. Kaleigh Fratkin potted the empty-net goal with 11 seconds remaining to double the lead and give Boston the 3-1 win.
Katie Burt registered 34 saves on 35 shots faced, while Wolejko made 32 saves.
The Pride tried to ride the win into Sunday's game and scored early, with a goal just 2:26 in. That goal, however, was reviewed and called back, which seemed to really power the Riveters and rejuvenate them. Metro went on to score three times in a span of 4:06 later in the opening frame to take a commanding lead.
Theresa Knutson opened the scoring with 6:36 to play in the first period. After Kelly Babstock threw a big shot on net, she picked up her own rebound off Lovisa Selander's pad. Babstock then swung it back to Knutson in front, who held onto it for just long enough and shot it in on the goalie's right side.
Janiga notched her second of the weekend just 44 seconds later, tipping in a point shot from Rachael Ade. Janiga and Madison Packer were both in front of the net, and Janiga was able to get her stick on it to help put the puck past Selander.
Kendall Cornine made it a 3-0 game later in the first period with her first of two goals on Sunday afternoon. Fresh out of the penalty box, Cornine rejoined the play as the Pride went into their zone and had a solid chance. The play turned around, and Cornine eventually picked up a pass from Knutson from behind the net.
Cornine initially mishandled the puck and whiffed on the shot, but was able to regain control amidst a Pride stick in front. Her second shot didn't miss, putting the Riveters up by three heading into the first intermssion.
The Pride shook things up to start the second period, pulling Selander in favor of Victoria Hanson. It did seem to spark something for them, as she made a few good saves early on and Boston finally got on the board 7:20 into the period. After great end-to-end action, Tori Sullivan backhanded a sliding puck in the crease into an open side of the net.
Despite the momentum shift, the Riveters held strong through the rest of second period and prevented Boston from getting any closer – at least initially. Things looked good, and got even better when Cornine scored her second of the game early in the third period.
You can never quite count the Pride out, however, and they scored twice later in the final frame but ultimately couldn't complete the comeback. Meghan Rickard and Taylor Wenczkowski potted the goals for Boston. Rickard's goal was the first of her PHF career in just her second game of the season when she tipped in a shot from Souliotis in front of the net. Wenczkowski found herself in the right spot for a rebound and took a hard shot to beat Wolejko.
Although Boston did what they could, the Riveters held on for the win. Wolejko recorded 39 saves; her counterparts combined for 30 saves, with Hanson recording 17 saves and Selander 13.
The Whitecaps have had their fair share of struggles this season, but they capitalized on facing a weak Buffalo team to grab six points and two wins to maintain their hold on fourth place.
A two-goal effort from Allie Thunstrom helped lead Minnesota to a 3-1 win on Saturday evening. Patti Marshall notched three assists, while Claudia Kepler scored her first PHF goal for Buffalo.
After a scoreless first period during which both teams had power play opportunities, Kepler opened the scoring early in the middle frame. The Beauts were able to get the puck deep into the zone, and Cassidy MacPherson chipped it off a Whitecaps player's stick to gain possession. She threw the shot on net, and as it bounced off, Kepler tallied on the rebound.
The Beauts were dominating play after their goal, but less than five minutes later, Thunstrom tied the game. Marshall drove into the zone, battling off defenders along the way, and backhanded it through the zone and crease to a waiting Thunstrom in front.
Teams played through good back-and-forth action for the rest of the second period and entered the final frame tied at one. Buffalo appeared to have some sparks, perhaps the best energy they've had in a long while, but Minnesota matched them on every level.
Ashleigh Brykaliuk potted the go-ahead goal just 1:52 into the third period. With Minnesota on the power play, Brykaliuk redirected a shot from Marshall at the blueline to beat Jackson on her right side.
Thunstrom then added an empty-netter in the dying seconds to seal the win.
Amanda Leveille stopped 36 of 37 shots faced, while Carly Jackson had 27 saves on 29 shots faced.
Sunday's game was a much more decisive win for Minnesota, as they overpowered the Beauts time and time again en route to a 6-1 victory that included two power play goals and a shorthanded tally.
The Whitecaps had several good chances early on, but the Beauts seemed to find their legs and had arguably their most impressive bout of sustained zone time and pressure all season. Penalties got the best of them, though, squashing any momentum they could've built, as first Cassidy MacPherson, then Emma Keenan, was sent off.
To no surprise, Thunstrom opened the scoring on the 5-on-3. After the Whitecaps cycled the puck around several times, Thunstrom tipped a shot in front from Curtis to beat Jackson five-hole.
The Beauts scraped through the rest of the period, but started the second period shorthanded. Once again, the Whitecaps capitalized quickly on a goal by Haley Mack. Taylor Turnquist dished a pass to Ashleigh Brykaliuk, who shot it into Jackson's pads. Mack jumped on the rebound coming off Jackson's pads for the goal.
A short time later, the Beauts found themselves on the advantage, but it didn't do them very much good. Jonna Curtis found the puck behind the play, came in all alone on the goaltender and beat Jackson for a shorthanded goal to make it 3-0. More penalties, and more goals, followed.
Thunstrom's second of the game came in the middle frame on a delayed penalty call, as she capitalized on a puck sliding through the crease and squeezed it between Jackson's leg and the post.
The Beauts then pulled Jackson and put Lovisa Berndtsson in net. While this seemed to help stem the flow of goals, Minnesota still got another one late in the second from Audra Morrison via the five hole.
Curtis scored the last Whitecaps goal early in the third period.
The Beauts were finally able to get on the board thanks to Autumn MacDougall, but they were lucky to get even one past Leveille at this point. (As an aside, it's wild that Leveille wasn't named to the All-Star Showcase!) Minnesota swapped Leveille for Jenna Brenneman, who made her PHF debut, after the tally.
Curtis nearly had a hat trick later in the game, but a video review was instituted and it was called off. In the end, nine Whitecaps players recorded at least a point Sunday, with five recording multi-point efforts.
Leveille stopped 23 of 24 shots faced. Per official stats (subject to change), Brenneman didn't face any shots on goal. Jackson (4 GA) and Berndtsson (2 GA) each faced 17 shots.
- Toronto Six (9-1-1, 28 points)
- Connecticut Whale (8-3-1, 25 points)
- Boston Pride (7-3-0, 18 points)
- Minnesota Whitecaps (3-6-1, 10 points)
- Metropolitan Riveters (3-6-1, 10 points)
- Buffalo Beauts (1-8-0, 2 points)
Next up for the PHF is its All-Star Showcase, held in Buffalo, New York on Saturday, January 29 at 5:30 PM. Teams will return to regular action the following weekend, with the Pride hosting the Whale and the Whitecaps hosting the Beauts.
(Photo: Michelle Jay/PHF)