Boston Makes Statement, Sweeps Whitecaps
By Mike Murphy
Today the Boston Pride showed the Minnesota Whitecaps that they aren't the only team that can use speed as a weapon in a 5-2 statement victory.
The Whitecaps came out of the gates flying and had Boston playing on their heels in the early stages of the first period. Whitecaps winger Stephanie Anderson had the first prime scoring chance of the game, but she rang her one-timer off the post. Unfortunately for Minnesota, their early momentum was spoiled shortly thereafter by bench penalty for having too many skaters. Less than a minute into their the kill, Minnesota took another minor, giving Boston a 5-on-3 opportunity for 1:05.
Amanda Leveille robbed Jillian Dempsey's bid for a power play goal with a sensational left pad save and then snagged the rebound with her glove. Minnesota was able to kill off the 5-on-3 and another Boston power play thanks to the play of their goaltender, but the momentum had shifted in Boston’s favor.
After a big stop from Lovisa Selander, the Pride rushed up the ice with numbers. Christina Putigna and McKenna Brand executed a textbook give-and-go with Brand finishing to bury her second goal of the weekend and her sixth goal of the season. Shortly thereafter, Tori Sullivan buried a juicy rebound created by a heavy Lexi Bender shot to give Boston a 2-0 lead in the final minutes of the period.
The second period was filled with back-and-forth action. After failing to capitalize on a power play, the Whitecaps broke through when Sydney Baldwin let loose a blast from the point that beat Selander to make it a one-goal game. After some more big saves from Leveille and Selander, the Pride capitalized on a power play when Lexie Laing deflected a shot from Lauren Kelly into the net to regain the two-goal lead.
The Whitecaps started the third period with a lot of speed and quickly earned a power play. Anderson potted a rebound on the advantage to bring Minnesota back within a goal. However, the Pride answered right back on another rush where Emily Fluke set up Mary Parker for her first goal of the season.
After more back-and-forth action, Boston’s top line struck again on the rush when Putigna put home a rebound after Leveille stopped a Dempsey shot. Putigna, who is playing in her first season, is flourishing on that top line.
“They are such awesome players, it makes me step up to try and match their play,” Putigna shared after the game. “It started with Demps winning the face-off and getting it over to Kaleigh Fratkin for us to come down on the 2-on-1. I just tried to stay with the rebound and was able to bang it home.”
Putigna’s goal put the game out of reach and secured the second of Boston’s back-to-back wins over the Whitecaps. “This was a good step for us, beating Minnesota in back-to-backs,” Putigna added. “But we also know it’s a long season and there’s plenty for us to work on.”
Putigna was named the first star of the game, but this was a team win for Boston.
“We brought great energy and pace,” Defender Jenna Rheault said after the game. “We played the way the coaches wanted us to play. We did the little things, made those hustle plays. The best part was that when we made mistakes, we backed each other up and limited giving up too many big scoring chances for Minnesota.”
When Boston did have breakdowns, Selander and the blue line came together to hold Minnesota’s dangerous offense to just two goals on 37 shots. “This gives us the confidence to know we took on the defending champs and did well,” Rheault added. “Overall, winning both games was a statement.”
Photo Credit: Michelle Jay