Record: 19-4-1, 54 points
Final Standings: 1st overall (of 7)
Playoffs: Lost in semifinals
Ownership: BTM Partners
Head Coach: Paul Mara
General Manager: Maddie Rigsby
Leading Scorer: Loren Gabel - 40 points (20G, 20A) in 22 games
Top Goalie: Corinne Schroeder, 19-1-10, .955 sv% and 1.67 GAA
If there's one thing that's been consistent throughout the eight seasons of the PHF, it's that the Boston Pride are a very skilled, talented hockey team. Although the team has seen a lot of roster turnover over the years, along with other changes as to be expected, the Pride have just always been good, and that continued again this season.
No matter which way you look at it, the Pride had an impressive regular season. They lost just four games in their schedule. They led the league in goals-for and allowed the fewest goals-against. After starting the season with a five-game winning streak, they had another five-game winning streak between January 6-21 and a four-game streak from February 4-19.
Loren Gabel earned a number of accolades: Most Valuable Player, Outstanding Player of the Year, Newcomer of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year. She led the league in goals, assists and points and averaged 1.8 points per game.
In net, Corinne Schroeder was phenomenal. She led the league with 19 wins, a 1.67 GAA and .955 save percentage. She also set PHF single-season records for wins, shutouts (7) and saves and recorded three consecutive shutouts to start the season, a new league record. To no surprise, she was a finalist for both MVP and Outstanding Player of the Year, and was named PHF Goaltender of the Year.
As good as the Pride were in the regular season, things fell apart in the playoffs. Finishing as the first seed, the Pride were set to host the Minnesota Whitecaps in a best-of-three series at the Bentley Arena.
The Whitecaps shocked many when they handed the Pride a 5-2 loss in game one. Simply put, the Pride weren't ready to play from puck drop and couldn't put together a full sixty-minute effort, but the game was much closer than it would appear by the final score. Minnesota got on the board early and took a 2-0 lead in the first period, but the Pride quickly rallied with two goals in 2:25. The game remained tied until Jonna Albers scored on the power play midway through the third period; the Whitecaps then snagged two empty-netters.
The Pride then fell flat again in game two, dropping a 4-1 decision to the Whitecaps to end their season. Boston struck first, but the Whitecaps scored the next four goals and had the momentum of a potential series sweep pushing them. In the end, Amanda Leveille also played a huge role in the win for Minnesota, stopped 47 shots in the deciding game. If there's any proof that the playoffs are a whole new season, this is it. Boston had swept the regular-season series and nearly doubly outscored Minnesota, but none of that mattered once the best-of-three series began.
As is typical throughout history for the Pride, they were lethal on home ice. They lost just one game at Warrior Ice Arena all season, a 7-3 drop to the Toronto Six. An 11-1-0 record on home ice? You can't ask for much more than that. And of course, their road record was impressive as well.
- vs. Buffalo: 4-0-0 (outscored opp. 20-6)
- vs. Connecticut: 3-1-0 (outscored opp. 18-10)
- vs. Metropolitan: 3-1-0 (outscored opp. 13-7)
- vs. Minnesota: 4-0-0 (outscored opp. 17-9)
- vs. Montreal: 3-0-1 (outscored opp. 12-4)
- vs. Toronto: 2-2-0 (outscored 16-13)
There's no doubt in my mind that the way the Pride's season ended would have left a sour taste in many players' mouths. After having such a strong regular season and really looking like an unstoppable, unbeatable force, they just fell apart in the semifinal. Head coach Paul Mara, the longest-tenured head coach in the PHF, will look to rebound with another strong season in the fall.
What players will he have with him? That's a big question right now. Here's what we know, or think we know:
Allie Thunstrom, Kali Flanagan, Kaleigh Fratkin, Loren Gabel and long-time captain Jillian Dempsey all signed two-year contracts last summer. We haven't heard anything official yet, but The Hockey News' Ian Kennedy has reported that Thunstrom and Fratkin will both not be returning to the Pride.
As I've said before, it would be nice to get some transparency from the PHF in this regards right now, and would be great to have an official tracker to see who's signed for the upcoming season. At this point, we likely won't hear anything official until either/both players are announced as having signed elsewhere.
Schroeder recently signed with the Montreal Force, a huge loss in net for the Pride. It'll be interesting to see how they fill that gap, but it wouldn't be a bad idea to start with Lovisa Selander. Selander played a largely backup role this season and appeared in just three games, but back in the 2019-20 season, she went 17-1-0 as the Pride's top goaltender.
Schroeder has been joined by Élizabeth Giguère in Montreal. She had 22 points in 18 games as a rookie. Although those are undoubtedly big losses, the Pride have added two significant pieces in standout Swiss forward Alina Müller and five-time Hockey East All-Star Chloé Aurard. You win some, you lose some, and that's what the Pride are going to have to contend with heading into the upcoming season. Losing Schroeder will hurt, but let's be real: Alina Müller is a game-changer and I, for one, can't wait to see her tear it up in the PHF next season.
(Photo: Michelle Jay/Boston Pride)