Boston Pride 5, Minnesota Whitecaps 4 (SO)
The Minnesota Whitecaps scored two goals in the final minute of play on Friday to force overtime, stealing a point in an eventual 5-4 shootout loss to the Boston Pride.
Friday's game started off even-keeled through the first ten minutes, with both teams getting good chances. The Whitecaps took the lead when an attempted dump-in ricocheted off the end wall. Although Pride goalie Corinne Schroeder tried to get her stick on it to deflect the puck, it instead found Natalie Snodgrass in the right place at the right time, making it 1-0.
To their credit, the Pride responded with a great follow-up shift, forcing netminder Jenna Brenneman to fly around across the crease to stop chance after chance. The rest of the period saw end-to-end action, but Minnesota came out on top after the opening twenty minutes.
The Pride came out swarming to start the second period, and it paid off when captain Jillian Dempsey tied the game just 4:16 in. The Whitecaps struggled to get out of their zone. Kali Flanagan threw a point shot on net, and while that didn't go in, Dempsey found the loose puck and swept it in far-side from just inside the faceoff circle to Brenneman's left.
Well aware of how dangerous the Pride are once you give them an inch, the Whitecaps really stayed on top of things after the tying goal. They soon regained the lead less than three minutes later, as a turnover behind the net put the puck on Brooke Madsen's stick behind the net. She made a short pass to Taylor Wente in front, who slammed it home.
Boston scored the next three goals, including two in the second half of the third period, to take a commanding lead.
First, Christina Putigna tied the game at two on a rebound with 8:07 to play in the second period. Brenneman made the initial save after a give-and-go from Becca Gilmour and Taylor Wenczkowski, but Putigna was waiting and shot the puck far-side to beat the goaltender.
The Pride continued to swarm, and their top line gave them their first lead midway through the third. Although Brenneman went down to make an initial save on a wraparound chance, she couldn't get over quick enough to make the final save, which allowed Allie Thunstrom to execute the tap-in on the far post.
Just 1:04 later, McKenna Brand tipped in a Sammy Davis shot in front to make it 4-2 Boston.
The Whitecaps never gave up, pulling their goaltender for the extra attacker as time wound down. This time, it paid off – first on a goal by Liz Schepers, then on one by Sydney Baldwin. Minnesota scored twice in a span of 27 seconds to tie it at four.
Schepers tipped a shot from Jonna Albers down low, putting the puck in top shelf before Baldwin scored on a shot from the high slot.
After a scoreless overtime period, Dempsey and Loren Gabel scored in the shootout to give the Pride the victory. Minnesota's Denisa Křížová and Sidney Morin were both stopped, as was Boston's Élizabeth Giguère.
Other Weekend Action
- Although Friday's game may have been close, Saturday's rematch between Boston and Minnesota was not as the Pride won 5-1. Aneta Tejralová and Taylor House added goals, as did Dempsey, Thunstrom and Putigna. Albers had the lone goal for the Whitecaps, with under four to play. Schroeder finished the weekend with 61 saves over two games.
- The Montreal Force finished their inaugural PHF season with a pair of losses to the Metropolitan Riveters, falling 2-1 in overtime before giving up a 4-3 loss. Ebba Berglund and Kristina Shanahan scored in regulation Saturday before Sarah Bujold tallied the game-winner just 47 seconds into OT. Sunday's game was back-and-forth, with Bujold again notching the eventual game-winner. Amanda Pelkey had four assists across the pair of games.
- The Connecticut Whale doubled up the Buffalo Beauts with a 2-1 overtime win Saturday and a 4-2 win Sunday. Kennedy Marchment scored the game-winner Saturday 2:45 into overtime, while Justine Reyes and Claudia Kepler had the goals in regulation. The Whale outshot Buffalo 48-20. Sunday's game was more even-keeled, but saw Tori Howran, Marchment, Caitrin Loergan, and former Beaut Emma Keenan tally for Connecticut. Kepler scored again, while rookie Summer-Rae Dobson had the other Buffalo goal.
News & Notes
- All four Isobel Cup playoff spots are secured, but there's still a little wiggle room when it comes to the seeding. This weekend will be particularly interesting, as Boston and Toronto – the top two teams – square off to determine who finishes first. Connecticut and Minnesota also face off, with third- and fourth-place still to be determined.
- The Montreal Force's inaugural season has ended with a record of 8-14-2. They'll finish in either sixth or seventh place, depending on what the Beauts do this weekend in New Jersey. Safe to say this wasn't the start they were hoping for in their first season in the PHF; they never strung together two consecutive wins.
- It is March 9, and the PHF has finally announced the neutral-site location for the Isobel Cup Championship game on March 26. The game will take place at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Arizona on March 26 at 6:00 PM Mountain Time. Mullett Arena is the home of the Arizona Coyotes through 2025, and is on the campus of Arizona State University, where it is the permanent home of the ASU Sun Devils hockey teams. The arena has a seating capacity of 4,600 for NHL games, and that will likely be the capacity for the PHF championship, which follows an afternoon Coyotes game against the Colorado Avalanche. Tickets go on sale on March 13, per the PHF. Considering the distance from PHF home rinks, this announcement comes rather late for anyone who may have hoped to make arrangements to attend the games as fans or as press. This continues the trend of late announcements by the PHF this season; both players and the public did not even know the playoff format until mid-February, less than a month before the announced playoff game dates.
- *Boston (18-3-1), 51 points
- *Toronto (16-4-2), 48 points
- *Connecticut (12-8-2), 37 points
- *Minnesota (10-9-3), 33 points
- Metropolitan (9-13-0), 24 points
- Montreal (8-14-2), 23 points
- Buffalo (5-14-3), 18 points
*clinched Isobel Cup playoff spot