Putigna Brings the Heat, but the Pride Split with Connecticut
Christina Putigna scored multiple goals for the first time in her career as the Pride won a thrilling 4-3 game in comeback fashion to begin the weekend against the Connecticut Whale. It was the debut of the three-on-three overtime format in the PHF and it was Putigna who ensured the win for her team, quite literally waving the Whale goodbye.
Towards the end of the first period the game appeared to be a smooth one for the Pride thanks to a pair of New Hampshire graduates. Meghara McManus fired a brilliant snipe past Whale goaltender Abbie Ives at the 13:55 mark for her second of the season. Just one minute and twenty seconds later, Taylor Wenczkowski matched the accomplishment of her old collegiate teammate by getting a fortuitous rebound and increasing the Pride lead to two.
In the second period, the Whale absolutely came alive and played like a team ready to beat the PHF’s defending champions for the first time this season. Emily Fluke scored just 2:39 into the second to cut Boston’s lead in half and continue her revenge tour of sorts against the team she played for in season five.
The next two Whale goals belonged to their impressive rookie Kennedy Marchment. Although she was originally a 2017 draft pick of the Buffalo Beauts, this is Marchment’s first year in the PHF after an impressive few years in the SDHL. Marchment’s second goal came with just 3:14 left in the period and it gave the Whale their first lead.
With the Pride down for the first time this season, they were given an unintentional gift in the third period from Connecticut. The Whale unbelievably took five consecutive penalties in the period and gave the Pride more shot attempts than Connecticut coach Colton Orr would have liked. Despite those troubles, Boston was unable to convert with the skater advantage.
With the extra skater on, Boston was coming to the end of regulation when they finally converted. Christina Putigna scored her first goal of the season with just 40 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime. With the new PHF points structure, she also ensured that Connecticut would only get a maximum of two points for a win as opposed to three.
For the first time in league history, five minutes of three-on-three overtime was played with both teams choosing their most potent trios to begin the contest and finish the game early. With 90 seconds separating the two teams from a shootout, Sammy Davis carried the puck into the offensive zone and swung wide around the net. After Kaleigh Fratkin drove to the net to get Ives out of position, Putigna found the loose garbage to complete the Pride comeback and the first multi-goal game of her career. Before her teammates surrounded her in the victorious huddle, she even gave Connecticut a little wave to show the game was over. On Sunday however, it would be the Whale getting the last laugh.
On Sunday, the Whale proved why they have been touted by many fans and pundits of the PHF as title contenders coming into season seven. The Whale took a 3-1 win in regulation to split the weekend with the Pride and take three valuable points in the league standings.
Emily Fluke continued her great offensive weekend against the team she played for in season five with the first goal of the game at 11:36. Cailey Hutchison had the primary assist on the tally as the strong forecheck from the Whale paid off following an aggressive start to the game.
For the majority of the first period, the Pride had trouble finding any sustained pressure in the offensive zone. When their shots did get on net Abby Ives was ready, making her second start in a back-to-back situation.
In the second period the Pride looked like a completely different team. They had a clear shot advantage and had the game’s first power play just over a minute into the frame. The net front presence was especially evident from the likes of Brand, McManus, and Dempsey although the Pride failed to get an equalizer. Taylor Wenczkowski had perhaps the best chance of all with a slap shot that forced Ives to make a spectacular glove save.
Early in the third period the Whale took advantage of a net front scramble to double their lead. Emma Vlasic scored her second of the season as none of the Pride skaters were able to find the puck and clear in front of Lovisa Selander.
Just a minute and a half later the Whale got their first power play goal of the game. A bad turnover went right to the stick of Alyssa Wohlfeiler and she fired above the shoulder of Selander to make it 3-0 Whale. Connecticut got the skater advantage immediately following their second goal because of a Boston bench minor.
The Pride found life late as they really started to push in the offensive zone. After a ferocious high slot shot from Mallory Souliotis, Kayla Friesen managed to find the loose puck to end the shutout bid for Ives. It was Friesen’s second of the season in four games.
There would be no late comeback like Saturday and Connecticut took their second win of the season and their first on home ice. In the standings, the Pride remain number one on eight points while the Whale increase their stranglehold on second place with seven points. Boston will continue their November on the road with two matchups against the Whitecaps on the 20th and 21st at Tria Rink. They will return home to face the Toronto Six on December 4th and 5th.