Boulier is the OT Hero in a Penalty-Filled Affair
It was a game where there was nearly as much four-on-four hockey as even strength competition. Needing to find their power play rhythm and rebound from being shut out the day before, the Boston Pride fought hard all day long against Minnesota with former Whitecap Amanda Boulier scoring the winning goal in overtime. The two points secured the season series for the Pride over Minnesota and kept them one point ahead of the undefeated Toronto Six in the standings.
There was nothing but early pressure from Minnesota. They loaded up the shot counter against Boston goalie Victoria Hanson in her first start of the 2021-22 season. Hanson was more than ready for the pressure, making many saves up close including a wonderful denial of Haley Mack three minutes in.
Like the contest these two teams had played the night before, penalties were the talk of the arena from the very beginning. Nearly every time the Pride were given a power-play opportunity from the Whitecaps, they committed a penalty of their own. In the first period, this happened at the 6:26 mark with a Taylor Wenczkowski elbow shortly after, making the power play four-on-four.
Towards the end of the first period, Boston started to find their footing and turn more of their good defensive stops into transition offense with more setup in the opponent’s zone. A lot of Minnesota’s shots were right in the blue paint on Hanson, while Boston opted to shoot many from the point and perimeter against Amanda Leveille.
Late in the period, Boston applied even more pressure in the Minnesota end. After picking up a rebound following a shot from Kayla Friesen, Christina Putigna circled the net and tucked the puck underneath Leveille’s pads to give Boston the lead and their first goal of the weekend. It was Putigna’s 3rd goal of the season, making her the team’s current leading goal-scorer.
The Pride came out with more offensive pressure to begin the second period, using more shots down low to try and get Leveille out of position.
Following the theme of the night, once Minnesota’s Stephanie Anderson went to the box for tripping at 7:00, Boston’s Kaleigh Fratkin took a penalty of her own. After Fratkin’s trip to the box had the teams skating four-on-four, Minnesota found some open ice and capitalized. Mak Langei fed the puck to the low slot where Haley Mack deked out Victoria Hanson to tie the game at 1-1.
At 16:38, Audra Morrison and Lauren Kelly needed to be separated following the exchange of several aggressive shoves, forcing the teams to skate four-on-four yet again. Despite those chances for both teams, no one could come up with a go-ahead goal.
A scary moment occurred a little over halfway through the final frame as Whitecaps defender Taylor Turnquist left the game after a hard hit against the end walls caused by a tie-up with her teammate. She did not return to the game.
With the score still knotted, the teams headed to overtime with two valuable points still up for grabs. McKenna Brand made a great defensive play to stop a near two-on-one for Minnesota and quickly raced through the middle with the puck on her stick. From the left-wing circle, she sent a pass across to Boulier who fired through Leveille’s pads to end Boston’s weekend with a 2-1 victory.
The win was Boston’s fourth of the season and the ten total points through six games will keep them on top of the PHF standings by one. Power play woes continue for the Pride as they went zero for four on the weekend but a positive is still their penalty kill, which went five for five. Boston returns home after the Thanksgiving break with two home games against the Toronto Six, the team just behind them in the standings.