The Boston Pride sit atop the NWHL standings with a 4-0 record, nearly flawless in all aspects of their game. There are plenty of things for the team to improve on, such as its lacking power play and scoring struggles in the opening period, but the Pride have been able to make adjustments in game, with 12 second-period goals this season, for the most in the league. Boston’s talent is deep enough to change things up, and even if one line isn’t going, there’s always one or two more producing.
Part of the high number of second-period goals scored by the Pride has to do with that depth, the ability to roll out each line and pairing and still contend for goals. It allows the Pride to remain fresh heading into the second period, and especially to remain strong late in the game, to take advantage of when other teams might be worn down. Their second period goal average is higher than the total number of goals per game that both Buffalo and New York are averaging this season overall. The next closest second period total is the Whale, who have five, and in comparison, have eight goals in the opening period compared to the Pride’s single tally.
Brianna Decker, Rachel Llanes, Alex Carpenter, and Amanda Pelkey each have two of those second-period goals each, adding up to eight of the total, including both of Llanes’ and Pelkey’s goals this year. In both of their home contests, the Pride didn’t score until the second period, and they allowed a goal to the Riveters in the first. Part of it may have to do with Pride needing to make adjustments, and while they certainly haven’t struggled in the first period, they’ve gotten better as games go on.
The Pride have also surrendered just one second period tally all season, with Boston’s depth also working defensively, for a +11 goal differential. That one goal was from Milica McMillan of the Riveters in the second game of the season.
Decker has taken over as the team’s offensive leader with Hillary Knight out and leads the league in shots. She’s tied for third in the league in points along with her teammate Carpenter.
In a league with just four teams, there is no watered down talent, and each player is one of the best in the world. Yet Boston seems to have accumulated even more depth and improved from being the best team in the league last season.
The Pride still have many challenges to come, but once the team has a full lineup with Knight back, it’s going to be fun to watch what they can do the rest of the year. Boston will face the Whale for the first time this season on Saturday night, November 12.