WHALE AND BROOKE WOLEJKO TEST PRIDE, FALL IN THE SHOOTOUT

by NWHL Media

By Dan Rice

Although the Boston Pride extended their season-opening winning streak to 14 games on Saturday afternoon in Danbury, the Connecticut Whale gave them all they could handle. The Pride squeaked by in the shootout thanks to a clutch goal on a beautiful move by Tori Sullivan.

WHALE TICKETS

Hanna Beattie’s first career NWHL goal tied the game for the Whale in the third period with 10:02 remaining and Brooke Wolejko turned aside 56 of 57 shots that Boston put on net, but it still wasn’t enough to break the undefeated Pride. 

"I don’t think we consider this a loss," said Whale captain Shannon Doyle. "I mean, it was a tie and a shootout is a shootout. It’s a tough way to finish a game, but this is a good momentum swing for us. Just trying to build off of last weekend, we’re happy with our effort.”

McKenna Brand scored early in the first period and Sullivan scored the lone goal in the shootout to clinch the road win for the Pride. Lovisa Selander finished with 23 saves for her league-leading 11th win.

“They play a hard-working style of hockey, they grind it,” Boston coach Paul Mara said of the Whale. “Their goalie played absolutely fantastic for them. That team works extremely hard and they play the game the right way. It was a hard test for us tonight.”

Boston was playing without three regulars - Mary Parker, Alyssa Wohlfeiler, and Carlee Toews - but was still able to pump 57 shots on goal against Connecticut. For the most part, the Whale defenders were able to keep the Boston shots to the outside and from a distance, and when they didn’t Wolejko was stellar behind them.

“Unreal! It’s hard to describe it any other way,” replied Doyle when asked to describe how Wolejko played in the tough loss. “She and Sonjia (Shelly) have been playing great and it really is a blessing to have two goalies behind you that you are confident in.”

The Whale will get another shot at the Pride tomorrow afternoon in what will be their last home game of the season until they host Boston in Bridgeport on Feb. 22. Tickets are available at whale.nwhl.zone/tickets and the game will be streamed live on the NWHL on Twitch. “It would be good for us mentally to get that first win and get that monkey off our back before we hit the road for a while,” Doyle said.

“They played a good defensive game,” Pride forward Lexie Laing said of the Whale. “We definitely have more to give tomorrow, but we got the win today and that’s important.”

Game Notes: Boston captain Jillian Dempsey picked up the lone assist on Brand’s goal and both players lead the league in scoring with 24 points each. Their linemate Christina Putigna led all players with eight shots on goal. Dempsey and Connecticut’s Emma Vlasic each won 17 face-offs. The Whale were missing Jordan Brickner and Kayla Meneghin from their lineup.

My 3-Stars of the Game

1) Brooke Wolejko (CTW): 57 saves, SOL

2) Lovisa Selander (BOS): 23 saves, Win

3) Hanna Beattie (CTW): first NWHL goal (1)


Photo Credit: Bryan Johnson