By: Ryan Duffy | Follow Me On Twitter @Rduffy26
After falling to the Connecticut Whale 3-2 on Saturday, the Boston Pride drop their third straight loss to the Whale today 6-1. The Pride and Whale have met four times this season and are now 1-3 against Connecticut. The Pride were looking to have a bounce-back performance against their New England rival and cut the point deficit for second place in the PHF, but the Whale had other plans as they now have jumped to first place with their victory.
Right off puck drop, the Whale were taking the pace of play to the Pride and hemmed Boston in their own zone. Just 1:20 into the first frame, Connecticut drew first blood as leading scorer Kennedy Marchment scored on the Whale’s first shot on goal. After the goal, the Whale continued their pressure in the Pride zone and forced Boston to play on their heels. Although, pride goaltender, Lovisa Selander, was up for the challenge and kept Boston in the game throughout the first period.
The Whale were excellent in their passing and transition game through the first period. They weren’t forcing passes through the neutral zone like Boston was, and if they had pressure on them from the Pride’s defense, they’d chip it past them and forecheck hard.
The Pride didn’t get their first scoring opportunity until seven minutes into the first when Christina Putigna took a wrist shot in the high slot with traffic in front of the net. Whale goaltender Abbie Ives was alert to the traffic, prevented the rebound, and smothered the puck. Unfortunately, the Whale would later take a 2-0 lead with just over ten minutes left in the first as Janine Weber impressively batted the puck out of midair on a rebound.
The Pride would get a late power-play opportunity but couldn’t manage to find the back of the net in the first period. The Pride had a relatively slow start to this game, but they seemed to rally after the Whale scored their second goal.
Heading into the second period, the Pride needed a better defensive presence in front of Selander as the Whale capitalized on their second chances in the first 20 minutes. The Pride did precisely this as 15 seconds into the second, the Whale broke on a 3-on-2 into Boston’s zone and shot a low puck on Selander to create a rebound. Defender Jenna Rheault was alert to the rebound and was able to break up the potential scoring opportunity.
Just under a minute later, the Pride was able to cut the lead to 2-1 as Sammy Davis collected a loose puck to the right of the net and jammed home a wraparound goal. The Pride were better offensively through the first five minutes of the second and won most of the puck battles.
Just over halfway through the second period, the Whale would again create a two-goal lead as Taylor Girard would cash in on a 2-on-1 odd-man rush to make it 3-1. Despite the Whale regaining their two-goal lead, the Pride continued to pressure the offensive zone and get a 4-on-3 power-play opportunity.
The Pride would have methodical and creative puck movement on the ensuing power play and get plentiful opportunities to get Boston back within a goal. But Ives was outstanding on the penalty kill and eventually robbed Dempsey of a sure goal off a one-timer attempt at the right circle.
Moments later, an unfortunate collision between a Whale player and Selander resulted in the Boston goaltender leaving the game. Selander managed to get up on her own, but she was undoubtedly shaken up from the play. Her injury forced Victoria Hanson to substitute for the remainder of the matchup. With 6:27 remaining in the second, the Whale made it a 4-1 game off another odd-man rush as Alyssa Wohlfeiler made a deceptive cross-crease pass to Taylor Girard and put it short side on Hanson.
Selander’s injury was a back-breaker for the Pride and ultimately turned the tides in favor of the Whale. Connecticut would tally two more goals in the third period from Shannon Turner and Hannah Bates to make the final 6-1 at the Warrior Ice Arena.
The Pride (7-5-0) played with plenty of effort throughout the game but struggled to capitalize on their power plays and second chances. Although they generated scoring chances in this game, their power play continues to struggle as their man advantage percentage has dropped to 3.7% on the year (last in the PHF).
The Pride’s next scheduled game is against the Buffalo Beauts on January 26th at Warrior Ice Arena.