By David F. Pendrys
BOSTON, MA- The Boston Pride picked up a 3-0 victory over the Connecticut Whale Saturday night at Warrior Arena. The deciding factor was two power play goals scored almost immediately once each skater advantage began. Meghan Duggan’s eventual game winner at 4:50 in the first was a hard shot from deep fed to her by Blake Bolden with another assist to Alex Carpenter. At 3:27 in the third Kacey Bellamy launched a rocket from the point that Jordan Smelker whacked into the net. Another assist went to Brianna Decker. A final goal was scored by Hilary Knight at 9:21 in the third in her first game back assisted by Blake and Smelker at even strength.
Boston overall had put 29 shots on the Whale’s Nicole Stock and she saved 26. Brittany Ott of the Pride saved all 26 of the shots she faced as well. Both goaltenders were challenged with a wide variety of quality chances. The Pride’s offense is well known, and the Whale deployed all of their major scoring options for chances throughout the game, but nothing got past Ott.
The game looked lopsided at first when the Pride was keeping the puck in the Whale end and letting shots flies, but eventually it evened out, where both speedy teams were getting opportunities but also having to quickly transition back to defend.
The Pride managed to go 2 for 4 on the power play, though the last power play happened very late in the game and could almost be counted as garbage time. The Whale was not able to do much with their 3 power plays and even faced two short handed chances on one of them.
The score looked more lopsided than it was. The Whale did not lack serious chances and did get good looks on Ott, but nothing could get past her and the defense. The steady Stock still only gave up one even strength goal, but the penalty kill is possibly a concern. On the other hand it is the Pride. Of note Nicole Kosta continues to be up to her old tricks on the forecheck in noticeable fashion.
According to the NWHL stat sheet for the Pride, Duggan blocked 4 shots, Knight 2, Alyssa Gagliardi 2 and Jillian Dempsey, Bolden, and Carpenter all blocked one. For the Whale, Shannon Doyle, Dana Trivigno, Ivana Bilic, and Meagan Mangene all had one block.
Haley Skarupa took 8 shots for the Whale, Kelly Babstock had 3, as did Kelli Stack. Elena Orlando, Jordan Brickner, and Mangene had 2 as well. Knight led the Pride with 6 shots, Bolden and Carpenter had 4, Decker, Duggan, Bellamy, and Gigi Marvin had 3.
With the win the Boston Pride at 5-0 and the Whale fall to 2-2.
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