By David F. Pendrys
(Note: Author missed most of period 1 due to parking snafu.)
BOSTON, MA- In their own meeting of the year, the Boston Pride composed of many U.S. National Team players took on Team Russia Saturday night in the brand new Warrior Ice Arena. The result was a decisive Pride victory on the score sheet though Russia was dangerous throughout.
Meghan Duggan scored the first goal of the night for the Pride at 9:11 assisted by Jillian Dempsey and Alyssa Gagliardi.
Russia tied it back up when Yekaterina Nikolaeva scored on the power play assisted by Alevtina Shtareva and Anna Shibanova. It appeared that Ekaterina Smolentseva’s shot went in on net bounced off and Nikolaeva was able to put it in during the scrum in front.
The Pride started rolling in the next two period. At 3:01 Brianna Decker and Zoe Hickel raced into the zone on a two on one. Hickel fed Decker perfectly and Decker swept across the goal mouth flipping it backwards past the goalkeeper.
Alex Carpenter scored on the power play assisted by Dempsey at 3:58. Carpenter got it right in front and slashed it diagonally to the goaltender’s left.
At 15:08 in the second, Brittany Ott fended off a penalty shot from Fanuza Kadirova. Kadirova swept in but ended up sending it wide after Ott’s positioning move.
In the third Boston continued to pull away when Decker scored at 40 seconds in. She was in front of the net and just launched one with great success.
Later at 11:29 Kacey Bellamy helped slam the door further. After one of many stints in the penalty box she emerged in perfect position to get the puck and race in on net on a break scoring it low on the keeper.
“It was fun. I saw it and I was like ok I’m rested. Two minutes I’ve been resting. I’ll just go as hard as I can and get a shot on net,” Kacey Bellamy.
Valeriya Tarakanova and Maria Sorokina both played goal for the Russian team. Brittany Ott made a save on ever shot she faced. Lauren Slebodnick let in 1.
The Russian team was very agile in the losing effort. The score didn’t seem reflect how many opportunities the visitors were generating and the abilities to move the puck.
“They read each other very well. They don’t have to necessarily look where they’re giving it…Very deceptive with the puck.” Bellamy said.
“They’re a very skilled team. Obviously, a few of us are comfortable with how they play and how they move the puck and stuff. I think just playing our own game and moving the puck quick we kinda got the hang of that going into the second period. Just little passes here and there and we were able to capitalize on them,” Brianna Decker said speaking of their opponents.
The Pride added a few new faces, but the most well recognized would be Carpenter and Duggan.
“I’m excited to have Carp and Duggan on our team this year. Obviously a lot of offensive power, but Meghan is probably best shot blockers on the U.S. and will be on the Pride team,” Decker said.
“I’m really excited to be back in Boston. I love it here. Nothing against my time in Buffalo. It was fantastic,” Meghan Duggan said. “I just kinda slipped in seamlessly,” Duggan said of joining with the familiar faces on the Pride.
When Duggan was asked if her role would change given the change in scenery she said no.
“I mean my role team to team. Honestly, I step out there try to make things happen, try to work as hard as I can, never back down, do what I can to make the team the win.”
Carpenter also welcomed familiar teammates.
“It’s kinda nice coming into a team where are you are familiar with a lot of the players already,” Alex Carpenter.
Decker also noted that Jordan Smelker does a lot on the ice that goes unnoticed. Bellamy explained it was good in a sense to cease her coaching so she could focus on playing for the Pride and team U.S.A. approaching the Olympics. Duggan had also left her coaching job in the past year to move East.
Post game presser videos:
The NWHL posted stats though there seem to be a few discrepancies so you can view them if you wish.
(Usually this is where noticed plays would be but with one entire period gone an such as well as some other factors the note taking was limited.)