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Boston Pride return home for tilt against Whale

Still the team to beat in the NWHL, the Pride will look to prolong the Whale’s scoring drought.

Will the elusive Hilary Knight be back in action for the Pride today?
Al Saniuk

The Boston Pride are back home at Warrior Ice Arena for the first time since November 12th, and it will be a rematch of that contest. The Pride will host the Connecticut Whale for the second time in three games.

After starting the season with four goals or more in their first three contests, including a seven goal output against Buffalo, the Whale have been shut out in two straight games. That is partially because Pride goalie Brittany Ott has hit her stride, earning two shutouts in the previous two Pride games herself. Her 0.98 goals against average is the best in the NWHL.

Most of the Whale offense this season has come from Haley Skarupa, who leads the league with nine points. The rookie out of Boston College has worked well on a line with Kelli Stack and Kelly Babstock to produce the majority of the Connecticut firepower. Her former collegiate teammate, Alex Carpenter, leads the league with five assists and saw herself back on the Pride’s top line two weeks ago against Buffalo with Hilary Knight out of the lineup.

Carpenter and Skarupa are each having stellar rookie seasons, and the former is tied with a +10 rating for the Pride along with another former college teammate, Lexi Bender. Not to be lost behind the play of Carpenter, last season’s MVP Brianna Decker also has seven points and has won 30 more faceoffs than she has lost.

The teams are on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of scoring distribution. The Whale have been able to jump out early in games, with eight tallies coming in the opening period. However, Connecticut has also allowed eight goals against in the third period this season.

The third period has seen the Pride find the back of the net seven times, but their 14 goals in the second period lead the league for any team in any period all year. Yet, the Pride have struggled to open games, scoring just three first period goals all year.

Connecticut still has yet to play a home contest, but they will make their season debut at Northford Ice Pavilion in their next game the week after facing the Pride.

It will be the last Pride home game until they return to Boston on Feb. 4 to once again host the Whale.