LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Ten months between games, and the single-digit temperatures here, did little to cool the Boston-Minnesota NWHL rivalry.
A rematch of the cancelled 2020 Isobel Cup Final went the way of the Whitecaps, who eked out a 2-1 win on Saturday. The teams combined for 10 penalties and some spirited talk afterward.
The Pride noticed how the Whitecaps, the only team to beat them last year (23-1-0), shortened their bench in the third period, while Boston rolled through its lines.
“We’re going to change everything tomorrow,” Boston coach Paul Mara deadpanned after the loss. “Change it all up.” After a beat: “No, just joking. I have all the confidence in the world in our team. I’ll be blunt with you — if [Amanda] Leveille’s not in net, I think it’s a 5, 6-2 game for us.
“I don’t think Minnesota wants to play us again, I’ll tell you that much.”
The first star was Leveille, the netminder who made 36 saves. She stood tall as her team killed six Pride power plays. Boston outshot Minnesota, 11-2, in the third period, and 37-19 overall.
“I’m a goalie, so I love seeing pucks,” Leveille said. “My teammates were amazing. I can’t count how many times they blocked pucks for me [nine, according to the official stats].
“We haven’t played against another team for so long. We didn’t even know if we were going to play this year. We were just so grateful to be on the ice today, and playing Boston was fitting.”
Christina Putigna’s first-period putback, after a speedy Jenna Rheault rush from the back end, gave the Pride a 1-0 lead. It lasted about a minute. Off the rush, Whitecaps winger Jonna Curtis smacked a rebound past netminder Lovisa Selander to tie it.
Minnesota captain Winny Brodt-Brown scored the eventual winner at 11:59 of the second. The oldest player in the league (42) threw a sharp-angle backhand on net that snuck under Selander’s pads.
“We got some of the cobwebs out tonight,” Pride captain Jillian Dempsey said. “We’re taking everything we can to build and be better tomorrow.”
Toronto in search of scoring
The expansion Toronto Six, playing their first NWHL game under former Brown coach Digit Murphy, are still looking for their first goal. In the first game of Saturday’s tripleheader, the Six lost to the Metropolitan Riveters, 3-0. Riveters goalie Sonja Shelly, a Connecticut Whale castoff, made 40 saves for her first NWHL shutout. Defender Leila Kilduff scored twice, and forward Kelly Babstock saved a goal with a diving effort. … A handful players kneeled for the national anthems, including the Pride’s Selander and Carlee Turner. The teams wore “End Racism” patches on their sleeves … Dempsey landed five shots and went 14-4 in the faceoff circle … Boston backup Victoria Hanson will face Buffalo on Sunday (7 p.m.) . . . Katelynn Russ scored in the shootout to lift the Connecticut Whale over the Beauts, 2-1, in the third game of the tripleheader.