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NWHL: Boston Pride v. Buffalo Beauts

CAMBRIDGE, MA-The Boston Pride edged the Buffalo Beauts 1-0 in Sunday afternoon action at Harvard. Brianne McLaughlin of Buffalo and Brittany Ott of Boston each had excellent games with Ott posting her first NWHL shutout and McLaughlin rebounding from some less than stellar earlier performances. While McLaughlin faced at least 36 shots if not more, and Ott faced 25, each had their share of especially credible chances to contend with. Boston’s Hilary Knight and Brianna Decker were their usual fast attacking selves, and opposite them Emily Pfalzer and Meghan Duggan were equally dangerous for the Beauts. Though they were each but two members of potent offenses which were largely held silent by the keepers.

Knight and McLaughlin faced off numerous times during the game often on the fast break and generally McLaughlin fended her off, however the lone goal of the game came halfway through the second period when the Boston Co-Captain streaked in on the keeper. Her first attempt was blocked but she put in her rebound in a fluid motion. Assists went to Jordan Smelker and Kacey Bellamy on the tally.

As the game progressed the Pride kept getting their chances as Buffalo struggled slightly to keep pace. That being said, the Beauts produced plenty of opportunities which Ott took care of. McLaughlin was pulled late in the third giving Buffalo an extra attacker and they gave it a try. In a tense moment, Ott had her stick knocked away and had a few seconds of frantic watching for the opportunity to grab it back. However the Pride would hold the visitors off to earn a 6-3 record. The Beauts fall to 1-6-2 on the season despite the solid game.

Video Playlist of Various Highlights/Interviews:

Post Game Reaction:

The press corps at the game included Kate Cimini (Today’s Slapshot), Erin Bartuska (Watch This Hockey), Kat Hemming (Stanley Cup of Chowder), Jen Neale (Puck Daddy), reps from the New England Hockey Journal and others in addition to myself.  

Hilary Knight

“We’ve got different looks and different options when we head up ice. Today I thought our defensemen did a great job of really stepping into the play, and also setting up a controlled a breakout after the fact. Honestly it just starts with the D, and when they can quarterback a play like that it make our jobs as forwards extremely easy.”

Brittany Ott

On her shutout:

“Just tried to help out the defense whenever I could. Tried to be active with my stick. There was a couple of passes that were going to cut through the seam or get in front of the net and I tried to block those as much as I could. Our defense played huge for us today. I think they were really on point. In the past we’ve had a couple struggles getting going at the beginning of the game. We were just firing on all cylinders.”

On strategy to prevent a high scoring game:

“I just tried to keep focus. Keep my cool. Just maintain my composure, especially when we’re scrambling. Defensively when it’s a scramble in our zone and I start scrambling then the D is scrambling, everyone is scrambling, it just gets out of hand. So I just maintained composure really well today.”

On losing her stick late in the third period:

“That was terrifying. I didn’t see where the puck went. It went wide past the net. I thought someone was there to slam it back over. I was like no, not now, not now. Not after all that. I’m glad it went wide.”

Brianne McLaughlin

On the large amount of shots and rebounds:

“I guess the rebounds would be my fault. Maybe if I better job with that,” -McLaughlin said jokingly. “Those are games that I love to play in. I like to see a lot of action. My teammates are always there and they protect me, and they clear the rebounds. That’s exactly where we want to be.”

She went on…

“[The Pride are] a very very good team, and they’re going to put a lot of pucks on net. As long as we’re big in front them and as long as we’re clearing rebounds, that’s the way we’re going to sneak in and get a win from them.”

On the Knight goal:

“It’s always worse when your friend scores it.”

On bouncing back:

“I’ve honestly not played very well up until this point. I got to the point where the coach is like ‘figure it out or you’re not going to play’ So I didn’t really have a choice today. Like every hockey player you change the tape on your stick or whatever makes you mentally feel better and see what happens…That’s the first game I really felt like myself…We feed off each other and were kind of all on the same page which was nice.”

Additional observations.

(Various plays in the game that were observed. This is clearly not a full list of everything, just what was noticed.)

Buffalo

Paige Harrington disrupted numerous Boston attacks. Bozek also had various successes flummoxing the home team’s offense. Kelly McDonald messed with the Pride attack as well.

Kourtney Kunichika stole the puck and brought it out of her zone as she efforted exiting the Buffalo end often, Duggan had a similar result a few times including intercepting a pass. Harrison Browne intercepted a pass to stop another effort. Bozek was successful with a turnover too. Paige Harrington also turned the tables on Boston by ending an attack.

Brown, Bozek, and Erin Zach, and Lindsay Grigg all cleared the puck from right in front of the net at various intervals in the game.

Lindsay Grigg had at 3 blocked shots, 1 of which Browne took down the ice for a chance to score. Browne, Harrington, and Duggan all had at least 1 block on the night too. Pfalzer also disrupted a Pride shot.

Boston

Kelly Cooke, Jillian Dempsey, Kacey Bellamy, Jordan Smelker all had their moments interrupting the Buffalo offensive plan and ending a drive.

Bellamy stole the puck from the Beauts in her zone and moved it out multiple times. Alyssa Gagliardi had a steal, Blake Bolden did as well. Smelker efforted getting the puck moving into transition. In other turnovers, Decker intercepted a Buffalo pass, as did Gigi Marvin. On the offensive end, Knight stole the puck in the Buffalo zone to set up yet another scoring attempt. During the lone penalty kill of the game, Bolden had several clears to keep Buffalo at bay.

Marvin had at least 3 blocked shots, and Bolden had 1 at least.

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