The sun is shining in Boston. With temperatures in the mid 50’s, many people have the desire to go for a walk, bicycle ride or anything else that the month of March usually doesn’t offer in Massachusetts. However, a sold-out crowd proved that Warrior Ice Arena was the place to be to witness The Boston Pride pave their way to the Isobel Cup Final.
Fans filed into Warrior Ice Arena for a Sunday matinee between the league leading Boston Pride and the persevering Connecticut Whale. The game got off to an exciting start when Todd Angilly, TD Garden bartender and Boston Bruins National Anthem singer, showed up to sing his rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
The first ten minutes of playoff hockey were full of quality scoring chances. Both teams had a power play but no goals were produced in spite of the player advantage. It was not until midway through the first period when an even strength scrum against the boards led to Jenna Rheault getting the puck. She delivered a wrist shot to the high blocker side of Whale goalie Brooke Wolejko, from the high slot. The initial shot hit the boards, but Emily Fluke was able to pick up the rebound and bury it in the back of the net which gave the Pride a 1-0 lead.
The score remained 1-0 up until the end of the first and the ice was, seemingly, tilted in Boston’s favor.
After the first intermission Boston was eager to gain a more substantial lead. Grace Kleinbach of the Whale had other thoughts in mind. A mess in front of net made it difficult for Pride goalie, Lovisa Selander, to keep a rebound, delivered by Kleinbach, out of the net. With 8:33 remaining in the period the score was tied 1-1.
The Whale called and it was time for the Pride to answer. Who better to do so than Captain, Jillian Dempsey? A redirected wrist shot from Mallory Souliotis generated a rebound that landed on Dempsey’s stick. With a slight flick of the wrist, the Pride had regained the lead in less than two minutes after the Whale had scored.
Once again, Boston was in the lead heading into intermission. A slashing penalty as well as a five minute major for elbowing, both against the Whale, meant that the Pride would start the third period with a potentially game-ending 5-on-3 advantage.
In a resilient effort, Connecticut was able to kill off both penalties. However, they could not stop Christina Putigna from slipping a perfectly placed shot past Wolejko and landing in the top left corner. The Pride had added to their lead with just 10:16 remaining in the game.
Kaleigh Fratkin and Jordan Juron added late goals to the scoreboard as a desperate Whale team refused to give up. The final score was 5-1, Boston.
Ecstatic fans lined up with their posters, hoping to get an autograph from their favorite players, and, as they do during home games, the entire Pride team lined up and signed autograph after autograph. Fans were met with personable conversation starters such as “Hi! Thank you for coming” or “How are you today?”.
This is the first time that the Pride has been in the Isobel Cup Finals since the 2016/17 season. Therefore, there is a sense of urgency coming from the team as this opportunity only comes once a year. Boston will face-off against the Minnesota Whitecaps who went 17-5-2 in the regular season (Boston went 23-1). The Pride won 3/4 games they played against Minnesota but the Whitecaps prevented Boston from going undefeated. The final game is set to be played at Warrior Ice Arena on Friday, March 13th at 7:15pm. Go Pride!