Flip the Script: Boston 3, Ottawa 1
- 5 min read

Flip the Script: Boston 3, Ottawa 1

Flip the Script: Boston 3, Ottawa 1 by Nicole Haase

Meeting up for the second time in three days, Boston earned their first home win in regulation and ended their four-game losing streak. Susanna Tapani scored the game-winner on a deflection and Hilary Knight scored her second goal this season to seal the win late in the third.

What happened?

Ottawa ended a five game losing streak by defeating Boston at home on Monday and it turns out the home team didn't take too kindly to that. Boston came out with an edge on Wednesday, using their size to be much more physical, which allowed them to interrupt the flow of an Ottawa team whose offense tends to focus on speed, skating, puck handling and finesse. Boston took away lanes, stepped into their path and basically kept them off-balance and discombobulated for much of the game. Tensions were high in this game, which a lot of pushing, shoving and chirping after the whistle pretty much from puck drop.

Alina Müller and Loren Gabel continue to make a dynamic and interesting pair. Both are intuitive players who see the ice well and anticipate the play. As Müller entered the zone and was poke checked, Gabel picked up the puck and hesitated enough to let Amanda Boulier do the work of screening her own goalie before wristing a shot low and at the far post that banked in to give Boston the 1-0 lead.

Boston was strong on defense early, blocking shots and keeping Ottawa from stringing much together. As the game wore on, the visitors started to pick up momentum, carrying the puck quickly in transition and that eventually paid off when Daryl Watts moved the puck into the zone and then laid it off for Kateřina Mrázová, who was trailing with speed. Mrázová stick handled around the defense and got a good look at net. Aerin Frankel made the initial kick save, but Mrázová trailed her shot and put the rebound back with authority to tie the game 1-1.

The goal late in the frame seemed like it would put Ottawa back on track and wake them up, but Boston stopped them before they could even try to build momentum in the second. Just seconds into the second, the Boston defense was moving the puck around the top of the zone before Megan Keller pushed in and unleased a snap shot. Susanna Tapani was planted in the lane and was able to get her stick on the shot and redirect it past Maschmeyer to make it 2-1.

From there, Boston settled in a bit more on defense and while Ottawa put 24 of their 30 shots on net in the final two periods, Frankel was solid and the defense in front of her kept their opponents from building up much of anything dangerous.

With just more than six to play, Boston captain Hilary Knight blocked a shot from the point and used her forward momentum to take the puck on an odd-player-rush, skating up the far boards before cutting in to the faceoff circle where she beat Maschmeyer to give Boston some breathing room at 3-1 with her second goal of the season.

Three up, three down

↑ She did Watts? – Daryl Watts attempted a Michigan on Boston goalie Aerin Frankel that didn't go anywhere, but friends the story is so much more than that. Watts won the 2021 National Championship for Wisconsin in OT on a shot from behind the net. A year later, she and Frankel had some words for each other in the media. There is no love lost there and if you don't think that Watts is the exact kind of petty that she was planning to do that move on that specific goalie, you've never watched Watts play. She likes needling people while standing there with the kind of smirk you want to wipe from her face. It's delightful when she's on your team and infuriating if she's not. She was involved in a couple of post-whistle fracases in this game as the tensions of two close games in three days started to erupt all over the ice.

↓ Corner coverage by Boston – Ottawa took full advantage of all the time and space Boston was giving up in the deep corners, and Watts wasn't the only one. It was a chronic problem even mentioned on the broadcast. The forwards in this league are far too talented to be given that much time and space and a path to the net and there's no way this won't bite Boston if they don't clean it up. Aerin Frankel tends to be aggressive, so she was coming out to challenge those and that leaves the team even more vulnerable.

↑ Hayley Scamurra getting pucks to the net – Her six shots were the most on either team and then came from spots all over the ice. She's picking prime spots to get the puck to the goal front and forcing the opposing goalie to make plays while giving her teammates opportunities for rebounds. On a team that hasn't quite found a consistent scoring rhythm, this is so important. This team doesn't have the luxury of being pretty. They need gritty, greasy, dirty goals and they can only do that if the puck is in front of the net.

↓ Inexplicable initial no-goal call – It would be awesome if we could get through a game day without controversial officiating being part of the equation. Things were worse in Wednesday's other game, but it's worth mentioning that Ottawa's goal was waved away by the official right next to the goal in real time and it frankly wasn't even a close call. I guess the puck popped out quickly, but it was on the ice and very clearly over the line. Inconsistent calls on physical play is a product of how many refs they league has used and subsequently how little experience they all have, but this week we're seeing blown calls for things that should be fairly basic, adding a whole new layer of frustration.

↑ Susanna Tapani – I think the league's first trade will always be a little head-scratching, but it's genuinely awesome to see both players seem to be doing well in their new environments. Tapani adds another big body and target for this team and she used that to her advantage on Wednesday night, staking out space in front of Emerance Maschmeyer and putting her in the perfect place to put a deflection on a shot from distance from Keller.

↓ Ottawa's slow start – It felt like Ottawa came to this game assuming it would be the exact same as the one these two teams played two days ago. Boston, having lost, of course made some changes and it took Ottawa far too long to adjust. They outshot Boston over the final two periods, but the home team was settled and locked in and Ottawa found that difficult to break through. Even though they tied the game before the end of the first, it felt like they were playing catch up the entire game and that left them scrambling a little and unable to take advantage of things like the open lane from the corner.

VP's Player of the Game

Daryl Watts – It's difficult to tell if I'm choosing her because of her play or her cheek and frankly, that's a spectacular place to be. Honestly, though, it felt like hers was the only name being said during play-by-play for a good stretch of this game. She was carrying the puck in on transition, chasing it down in the corners and walking in for shots and had the primary assist on Ottawa's goal. She is a supremely talented player who hasn't always known how to balance that with her outsized personality, but I think the roster around her and Carla MacLeod in particular are going to continue to be very good for her.

(Photo: Meghan MurphyPWHL)