Right Place, Right Time: New York 2, Boston 3 (OT)
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Right Place, Right Time: New York 2, Boston 3 (OT)

Right Place, Right Time: New York 2, Boston 3 (OT) by Zoë Hayden

Both of these teams came into this game having lost their last few games and in desperate need of points. The game could have gotten away from New York completely, but Abbey Levy was amazing in net to take them to OT.

What happened?

Boston consistently seemed to have the upper hand in this game, and they continued to play with confidence even after giving up the lead. They had quality chances early, but got on the board with a seemingly harmless shot that Hannah Brandt threw in front of the net which bounced off of Levy and snuck behind her from a sharp angle.

From that moment on, Levy was truly outstanding, stopping point-blank chances and basically everything she could see, even with traffic and rebound opportunities in front. At the other end, Emma Söderberg was solid as well for Boston, and held New York off until late in the second period. Boston had continued to carry the pace, but Élizabeth Giguère broke through with a fantastic individual effort, carrying the puck around in the offensive zone while Shiann Darkangelo unsuccessfully tried to harass her off of the puck. She held across the crease and was able to wait out Söderberg and wrist a shot to tie the game at 1.

New York even took the lead on a late second period goal by Jaime Bourbonnais, who shot through a screen and beat Söderberg easily after her own teammate, Kaleigh Fratkin, shoved Jessie Eldridge down in the crease. It wouldn't have been goaltender interference anyway since Fratkin initiated the contact, but the puck crossed the line before Eldridge was shoved – it was just an unfortunate situation with Söderberg not being able to track the shot due to traffic in front.

New York went to the third period with the lead, but it had to feel like a tenuous one, and they didn't put a ton of pressure on Boston to maintain the advantage. The home team pulled even again early in the third with a tough shift on the forecheck, with Müller pushing the puck to Susanna Tapani along the boards behind the net, and Tapani staying on it with Brooke Hobson all over her. She was able to flip a pass to a waiting Sophie Shirley at the hashmarks who ripped a quick shot to beat Levy.

Boston continued to play a possession game into overtime, and it felt like only a matter of time before they scored. Just under two minutes into OT, Hannah Brandt had a semi-breakaway, but knowing that Micah Zandee-Hart was bearing down on her, she left a drop pass for Jamie Lee Rattray. Rattray's shot was stopped by Levy, but Brandt stayed in the play and was able to put the rebound home since Zandee-Hart slid across to try to block the initial shot. Boston grabbed a crucial 2 points in the standings, and New York had to settle for just a single.

Three up, three down

↑ Abbey Levy – New York gets this kind of performance from Corinne Schroeder on the regular and has all season, but Levy has been getting consistently better as the season has gone on. This might have been her best all-around performance of the year, even though it was in a loss. She stopped 43 of 46.

↑↓ Sheer opportunism and separation – New York continued to be a team that is absolutely dangerous even when they aren't playing their best hockey. They have an uncanny ability to hang around in games that they might not have any business hanging around in – and their goalie tandem has a lot to do with this. Two-thirds of the way through their season, this is good for last place in the league. While they're still only three points back from being in a playoff position, they don't have a ton of time to make up that ground. New York had beaten Boston handily in their previous two meetings this season, and that's starting to look more like New York feasting on a struggling team than anything else. Boston is holding possession more reliably lately instead of relying on one-and-done chances, and you can really see the difference now, late in the season.

↓ Boston, on the advantage – Boston hasn't scored on the player advantage since January 24 and has just two power play goals on the entire season. The good news is that they have the league's best penalty kill. In a league that has made power plays feel like an archaic, lost language at times, Boston's player advantage is still uniquely bad, and they also have drawn the fewest penalties in the league. All the best teams in the PWHL have struggled in this area, so at least they're in good company. But if they do make the playoffs, it's going to be an area that could be the difference between advancing and going home.

↑ Odd-player rushes – Boston gave the New York defense fits with odd-player rushes and capitalized on one of those chances to win the game. Boston's offense works best when they're using their physicality and forcing the other team to make mistakes and turnovers, and at least against New York, that formula worked. It'll be interesting to see how they match up against Minnesota on Wednesday and whether they can keep up. Minnesota plays a similar style, but seemingly at 2x speed when they're on their game.

Killer instinct – New York came back twice to tie this game, but didn't seem to have the extra push to try to put Boston away. They were outshot 12-5 in the third period, and 5-0 in overtime.

VP's Player of the Game

Jamie Lee Rattray – She had two assists in this game and six shots on net in just 13:47 of ice time. If Boston stays in the playoff picture, Rattray's contributions are going to have a lot to do with it.

  • Game replay link (YouTube) – The PWHL has started posting "condensed game archive" video, after taking their videos private after broadcast as of late. Check their video uploads page for the game archive content as it becomes available. (This game is not yet as of press time.)
  • Game data

(Photo: PWHL)