Fratkin Sets NWHL PP Points Record as Boston Overwhelms the Riveters
By Jane Norton
Despite the heroics of Riveters goaltender Sam Walther, the mighty Boston Pride improved to 6-0 on the season with a 7-2 victory on Saturday, on a night in which the home team out-shot the visitors, 61-31.
The story of the game was written in the first period, and the authors were Boston’s special team units in the latter half of the stanza. After killing off a pair of Riveters’ power plays, the Pride scored goals 17 seconds apart on their own power play.
When Kaleigh Fratkin opened the scoring at 17:07 with her patented lethal slap shot, she made NWHL history. The goal was the 19th power play point of her NWHL career, setting a new league record previously held by ex-Riveters great Courtney Burke.
“Those are kinds of things you never think about, but it feels good to get that news,” said Fratkin, who didn’t know of her accomplishment until she was informed after the game. “Court Burke was an all-star D with incredibly high-end skill. She was a great teammate of mine with the Rivs and we miss having her in the league this year, so it’s an honor to be in that company. But, you know, I still don’t have an Isobel Cup, and that’s what I really want.”
While Boston remained on the power play after Fratkin’s goal, this time a 5-on-4, Emily Fluke scored to give the Pride a 2-0 lead after one. Boston out-shot Metropolitan 23-5 in the first period.
Boston continued to rack up golden scoring opportunities throughout the second period, but the acrobatic Walther did her best to keep the Riveters in the game. Soon after Walther stopped McKenna Brand on a breakaway with a nifty glove save, Brand scored her league-leading seventh goal. Her goal was at 4:28 of the second.
After the game, Brand was asked why she feels her game – already at a high level last season as a rookie – has gone up another notch.
“Comfort-level and confidence,” said Brand, who also assisted on Fratkin’s record-breaking goal. “I played with Jillian Dempsey a lot in the second half of last season, and the familiarity makes us all better. I also knew coming into this season that more would be expected of me. I worked hard so I could do my best to deliver for my team.”
At 11:50 of the second period, Kendall Cornine scored for the Riveters to break the shutout and pull them within 3-1. Cornine’s goal was her fourth in her fourth NWHL game.
Boston shrugged off the setback and scored 19 seconds later. Alyssa Wohlfeiler made a brilliant spinarama pass to Fluke, who deposited it for her second goal of the game.
The Pride put the game away in the third period with goals by Mary Parker, Carlee Toews, and Christina Putigna. Kate Leary’s first NWHL goal (after an excellent career in the CWHL) was the Riveters’ lone tally of the third.
“That was a strong team performance – production from all three lines,” said Fratkin. “We came out on fire, peppering Walther with shots. It wasn’t just Dempsey, Brand and Putigna, but everyone was flying and contributed.”
Victoria Hanson played the third period in goal for Boston. Whether that was to give Selander some rest before the rematch, or provide Hanson some work in advance of a start, we will find out Sunday afternoon.
Said Brand, “If we give the same kind of effort, and most importantly stay out of the penalty box, that gives us the best chance to win on Sunday. This was a very good night, but we have to do it all over again.”
The Pride and Riveters meet again on Sunday at Warrior at 2:30. Tickets are available now at www.NWHL.zone/tickets and at the arena before the game.
Photo Credit: Michelle Jay