Game of the Week
Boston Pride 7, Buffalo Beauts 5
After the Beauts failed to score in Saturday's 3-0 loss – and their Teddy Bear Toss game – Sunday's rematch looked like a completely different game. While both teams had their struggles, the Pride came out on top after a thrilling back-and-forth game.
Aneta Tejralová opened the scoring just 5:12 in, notching her first career PHF goal. After the Beauts failed to clear the zone, Kali Flanagan made a quick pass across to Tejralová, who blasted a shot from the point that went over Kassidy Sauvé's right shoulder and in.
Buffalo did a good job of keeping pace with the Pride and tied the game about nine minutes later. Antonia Matzka's low shot from outside the circle to Corinne Schroeder's right found its way through a crowd. Boston challenged the play for offsides, but it was deemed a good goal.
Watching the replay back, it's very difficult to tell at first glance – but after watching & pausing it probably 20 times, from what I could see, Maddie Truax's body was outside the zone, but neither her stick nor the puck ever crossed outside the blue line as she executed the pass across to Matzka.
Before the first period had ended, the Pride took a 3-1 lead on quick goals from Loren Gabel and Jillian Dempsey. Gabel broke up an attempted clear, was left uncovered and allowed to skate in on the doorstep before blasting off a top-shelf shot. Dempsey's first goal of the afternoon came on the power play with just under a minute left in the opening frame, as she tipped in a shot from Gabel right in front.
Buffalo opened the second period with an early power play, but couldn't make anything happen and negated it with a penalty of their own soon after. Things went from bad to worse when Dempsey scored her second of the game. As the play made its way down the ice, Dempsey followed the puck and got to the front of the ice just in time to shovel in the pass from Gabel.
The Beauts started to climb back with a goal from Jenna Suokko, but then immediately took another penalty. This time, they were able to hold off the Pride and skated into the third period down by only a pair.
Just 3:35 in, Élizabeth Giguère made it 5-2 Boston. Sauvé made several saves on the play, but couldn't stay with it and was in some discomfort. She would stay in for the next sequence of action before head coach Rhea Coad called her over to the bench and gave her some relief. Lovisa Berndtsson came in to finish the game.
This was a bit of a turning point for the Beauts, it seems. With a fresh goalie in net, and as the Pride took their foot off the gas, the Beauts soon found themselves on the advantage after Autumn MacDougall got crunched along the boards. They needed just six seconds to break through, as Matzka scored her second of the game from the point.
The Pride went right back to the penalty kill, and once again, the Beauts capitalized. This time, it was Summer-Rae Dobson scoring her first PHF goal on the doorstep. A pass across the front of the net from Mikyla Grant-Mentis found Dobson, who jammed the puck in.
Finally, Emma Nuutinen got the much-anticipated tying goal, making it a 5-5 game with just 10:35 left to play in regulation. Nuutinen tipped in a shot from Jess Healey at the point as the Beauts completed a comeback from being down by three goals.
Dempsey, however, was determined to get those points for her team. With less than four minutes remaining in regulation, she completed her first career PHF hat trick and regained the Boston lead. An initial shot from Gabel led to a rebound amid a crowd in front, and Dempsey was able to get the last touch to put it in the net.
Gabel added an empty-netter with 33.2 seconds left to provide a bit of insurance for the Pride, who have now won seven of eight games on the season.
Boston's top line of Gabel, Dempsey & Giguère combined for 15 points (6G, 9A), 16 shots on goal, and a plus-12 rating. The incredibly dangerous and productive line had a really impressive game. Schroeder stopped 28 of 33 shots faced.
P.S. When picking my "Game of the Week," I'm looking at each week's results on their own to find a notable game to highlight, but I'm also trying to make sure there's some parity in my coverage. (As in, I'm not highlighting the same teams every week!) If you're reading this, I hope you're enjoying my new approach, and I look forward to keeping it going all season long.
Other Weekend Action
- The Connecticut Whale and Minnesota Whitecaps split their weekend series. The Whale came out on top 2-0 Friday, but Minnesota rallied back for a 4-3 win on Saturday.
- Powered by a strong performance by Katie Burt in net and a game-winning shootout tally by Minttu Tuominen, the Riveters beat the Six 3-2 on Saturday. The Six came out strong on Sunday to split the weekend with a 5-2 victory, including this beautiful coast-to-coast goal from Brittany Howard:
- Boston (7-1-0), 19 points
- Toronto (5-1-2), 16 points
- Minnesota (3-3-2), 11 points
- Metropolitan (3-6-0), 8 points
- Connecticut (2-2-1), 7 points
- Montreal (3-3-0), 7 points
- Buffalo (1-2-1), 4 points
- Goals: Brittany Howard (11)
- Assists: Anna Kilponen (6)
- Points: Brittany Howard (12)
- Shots: Sarah Bujold (43)
- PIM: Sarah Lefort (19)
- GAA: Corinne Schroeder (1.91)
- Save Percentage: Corinne Schroeder (.944)
News & Notes
- The Riveters announced the signing of goaltender Katie Burt. Burt comes in to add a bit of needed relief for the Riveters, as goaltender Rachel McQuigge is sidelined with injury.
- Whitecaps forward Meaghan Pezon is on long-term injured reserve. Goaltender Jenna Brenneman was apparently scratched, leading Minnesota to sign Hannah Insuik to two PTOs for this past weekend.
- Pride goaltender Corinne Schroeder is having a phenomenal season, having set the PHF/NWHL record already with four shutouts on the season – in just seven starts. Could she chase Amanda Leveille's all-time record of eight career shutouts?
- With Boston already having used eight of their 10 allotted PTO slots, I wouldn't be surprised if the PHF decides to increase the number each team gets. It's only December, after all.
- The PHF needs to get its teams and officials together and figure out, once and for all, when a media timeout is allowed and when it isn't. I've seen this happen multiple times this season where there's clear confusion, including this past weekend in Buffalo and a few weeks ago in New Jersey.
- Speaking of, the league may also want to re-clarify its rules regarding coaches' challenges. Per the rules that were released in 2021, a failed coaches' challenge results in a minor penalty for the challenging team. It didn't seem like the officials – or Pride head coach Paul Mara – knew that was the case, until Beauts GM Nate Oliver stepped up to speak to the officials. (Or, perhaps Mara was well aware, but hoping since the officials didn't seem to know, that they'd get away with it.) In all honesty, the league probably needs to put out an up-to-date rule book with all of these guidelines. It would be helpful for teams, officials and media.
- Sydney Brodt (MIN) has received a one-game suspension as supplemental discipline for a major penalty for boarding from December 10. She will serve the suspension on December 17.
- Friday, December 16: Toronto at Buffalo, 7:00 PM Eastern (Buffalo Believes Classic)
- Saturday, December 17: Metropolitan at Connecticut, 2:00 PM Eastern
- Saturday, December 17: Toronto at Buffalo, 7:00 PM Eastern
- Saturday, December 17: Montreal at Minnesota, 7:00 PM Eastern
- Sunday, December 18: Boston at Connecticut, 2:00 PM Eastern
- Sunday, December 18: Montreal at Minnesota, 2:00 PM Eastern
These will be the last PHF games until 2023.
(Photo: Michael Hetzel/PHF)