BOSTON PRIDE BEAT BEAUTS TO GO 17-0, SETTING NWHL RECORD
By Nathaniel A. Oliver
With a decisive 7-2 victory over the Buffalo Beauts on Sunday, the Boston Pride established a new NWHL record by starting a season 17-0. The previous mark of 16-0 was set in the 2016-17 season.
"It feels really good," said Pride defender Briana Mastel. "We're not looking ahead to the future. We just want to make sure we're taking care of the tiny details day in and day out. The little things add up, so we want to make sure that our focus is there every game and build off of each game too."
The Beauts initially had Boston on their heels. It took Buffalo just 30 seconds to get onto the board on a goal by Erin Gehen. Then, with the Beauts running a 5-on-3 power play, Buffalo defender Marie-Jo Pelletier brought the puck in from the point and sailed a long shot over Boston goalie Lovisa Selander to put her team ahead 2-0 nine minutes into the game.
Despite the strong start by Buffalo, Boston would end up taking a 3-2 lead before the opening period came to a close. The Pride scored a pair of goals less than a minute apart. First Tori Sullivan tallied on the power play at 14:38. That was followed up by a Lauren Kelly score at 15:12 through heavy traffic in front of Buffalo goalie Mariah Fujimagari.
"We learned a lot from yesterday going into today," Pelletier said. “That's why we had that quick start. Then we just had a couple breakdowns, and that's something we have to work on."
Boston's Carlee Toews gave her team the 3-2 lead on a power-play goal after a Kandice Sheriff cross-checking infraction. The goal came with 1:06 left in the period.
Boston exploded in the second period to take a commanding 6-2 lead on goals by Tori Sullivan, Emily Fluke and Mastel. The goal from Mastel - a long point shot that trickled through the pads of Fujimagari - was the first of her NWHL career.
"It feels really good," said Mastel. "I'm just so grateful for my teammates. It's been a really fun ride this year. Everyone is really supportive of each other and everyone was congratulating me. That made it feel even more sweet."
Pride defender Mallory Souliotis completed the scoring with a power-play goal in the third period against Kelsey Neumann, who had come in to relieve Fujimagari.
“We need to not be complacent," said Mastel. "That's a big thing for us. We're always looking to improve every day."
The Pride will be back in action again on Sunday Jan. 12 when they host the Connecticut Whale. The Beauts have two upcoming games on the road in Minnesota on Jan. 11 and 12. Tickets for all upcoming NWHL games can be found on nwhl.zone/tickets.
Photo Credit: Mike Hetzel