Saturday night, the 2021 quest for the Isobel Cup started once again. After having the championship round canceled last year due to the effects of COVID-19, the NWHL (National Women’s Hockey League) began playing a shortened season of 7 games for each club in Lake Placid, New York. Game one for the Boston Pride was against the team they should have faced for the cup in 2020, the Minnesota Whitecaps.
NWHL Taking to the Ice
The Pride took the ice hungry to continue a nearly perfect 2020 campaign. At 13:19 of the first, Jenna Rheault played the puck just behind the Minnesota net, pushing the puck out into the right slot where it bounced around and eventually ending on Christina Putigna’s stick where she buried the first goal of the game.
The celebration was short lived as just over one minute later, Minnesota’s Audra Richards streaked up the right side or the rink and made a beautiful pass to trailing Jonna Curtis to chipped in a goal, quickly tying the game at 1.
The second period was very much a back and forth battle with both teams taking turns in the offensive zones. Boston had some good chances but Whitecaps net-minder Amanda Leveille was able to turn every shot away. Minnesota, on the other hand, saw 42 year old Winny Brodt-Brown score her first NWHL goal after receiving another great set up by Richards.
Fierce and Physical
The third period was fierce and physical. at 18:11 of the period, Boston went on the power play with a chance to tie and send the game into overtime. As the clock ticked down towards twenty seconds left in the game, Pride goalie Lovisa Selander was pulled for an extra attacker. Boston rookie forward Taylor Wenczkowski was able to get one final shot off with about ten seconds left in the game, however her blast was blocked by the legs of a Minnesota player. By the time Boston was able to calm the puck down enough for another opportunity, the final horn sounded and the Pride was handed a season opening loss.
One thing not particularly game related that I really enjoyed about this game was the love shown by the Boston Bruins. The camera panned across the empty stands full of cardboard cutouts. You could see an entire row and a half full of pictures of Bruins players.
You can watch the next Boston Pride game on Twitch, Sunday night at 7:00pm EST. Just search for NWHL and cheer on the team as they take on the Buffalo Beauts.
Written by: DJ Parker