LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — The Pride, widely considered the favorite to win the Isobel Cup, are leaving little room for error. The expansion Toronto Six earned their first win, beating Boston, 2-1, in the NWHL bubble Tuesday night.
The Pride (1-2-0), who play the Connecticut Whale at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, are in fifth place, the first of six teams here with two regulation losses. They face the Metropolitan Riveters on Saturday, after which the top four teams will make the NWHL semifinals.
“We’ve got to play with more heart, more jam, and we’ll be fine,” coach Paul Mara said of his team, which finished 1 for 7 on the power play and was outshot, 38-25.
Making the loss worse for Boston: with 3:55 left, captain Jillian Dempsey fell on her left shoulder/arm after being tripped by Toronto captain Shiann Darkangelo. She did not return. Mara said Dempsey would be reevaluated on Wednesday.
The Pride took the lead with 8:01 left in the first on the power play, as wing Christina Putigna snapped home a far-side wrister from a sharp angle down low. But two goals in 85 seconds gave the Six the lead for good.
“I feel like we’re here now,” Toronto coach Digit Murphy told her celebrating team afterward, following a mini-dance party to “Love Story,” by Taylor Swift. “We had to crawl out of the hole, get up, and deliver the death blow.”
The Six hit four posts, according to Murphy, and finished 1 for 5 on the power play.
Lovisa Selander stopped 36 of 38 shots for Boston, including a second-period penalty shot by Breanne Wilson-Bennett, who was tripped by Kaleigh Fratkin on a breakaway. Bennett fired between Selander’s pads, but the puck squirted to the corner.
In the first two minutes of the third, Boston had Fratkin and Lauren Kelly in the box and Toronto had 1:09 of a 5 on 3. Selander made a couple point-blank saves, but couldn’t snag a rebound chance that Toronto’s Brooke Boquist tucked under the bar at 3:31 of the third.
Toronto took the lead moments later as Mikyla Grant-Mentis followed her shot off the rush and beat Selander. The Six, which blew a four-goal lead in their last outing — a 6-5 shootout loss to Minnesota on Sunday — held it together this time.
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Injured Rheault in good cheer
Pride defender Jenna Rheault was in good spirits while watching her team in the stands. Rheault, a second-year UNH product, broke her right wrist on an awkward collision in Sunday’s win over Buffalo. “I was low for a bit,” she said. “Super in shock that it happened to me.” She said her teammates, and comments from fans replying to her Twitter post about the injury, “helped me get through a rough night.” Rheault, an occupational therapist at Hillsboro-Deering (N.H.) Elementary, estimated she faces 8 to 12 weeks in a cast … The Whitecaps remained the only NWHL unbeaten (3-0-0) via a 1-0 win over the Riveters. On a 5 on 3, Minnesota rookie Haley Mack scored the winner with 10 seconds left in the third. Mack also scored the deciding goal in the Whitecaps’ shootout win over Toronto … Minnesota goalie Amanda Leveille, showing no ill effects from a shot that stung her up high on Sunday, stopped all 38 shots she saw. The second star: Metro goalie Sonja Shelly, who saved 36 of 37 … Penalties doomed the Riveters, who took penalties for holding (Rebecca Morse), hooking (Madison Packer) and unsportsmanlike conduct (Morse) in the final minute.