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Isobel Cup Final Notebook: An upset for the ages

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The Pride were unable to capitalize on a nearly perfect regular season as they fell 3-2 to the third-place Buffalo Beauts

Beauts’ Corinne Buie celebrates her game-winning goal
Al Saniuk

Déjà vu all over again

As happened last year, the Boston Pride the Buffalo Beauts met with the Isobel Cup on the line. This year Buffalo was able to play with the Cup on the line for them. They were able to take advantage of the new format as they played the hot goalie to run over the Pride 3-2. Both of Boston’s goals were late goals, with the final one coming with a mere 4.2 seconds remaining.

The Beauts raise the Cup.
Al Saniuk

For Love of the Game rewritten

Goaltender Brianne McLaughlin channeled her inner Billy Chapel and went out to start her last game in a professional jersey. The next 60 minutes of hockey that she gave us to watch were transcendent. She was the shining example of a retiring athlete who leaves literally every drop on the ice. The final save tally was given to us as 60, though the numbers kept changing all night and a number of Pride shots were rescinded.

Retiring Brianne McLaughlin makes one of 60 saves.
Al Saniuk

Ott is out

Boston goalie Brittany Ott did not have one of her best games and got rattled early, allowing three goals in just under 30 minutes while making nine saves. She was replaced by Lauren Slebodnick, who was only credited with one save while allowing zero goals the rest of the way.

Fresh jerseys, familiar faces

Each of the teams had an end-of-season signing from the Boston area. Boston signed Mary Parker, a BU grad student and Harvard alum who was mostly a non-factor. Buffalo signed Northeastern grad Hayley Scamurra, who has had immediate impact upon donning her new baby blues. She scored in every game she wore a Buffalo jersey and had three points in the semifinal game. The addition of the former Husky allowed the Beauts to alter their lines and provided a huge spark up front that set up this playoff run.

Buie shines again

Corinne Buie scored the game-winner in the second period to earn her third trophy in three years, becoming the only player to win the Isobel Cup twice (Buie also won the 2015 Clarkson Cup with the Boston Blades). On the flip side, Meghan Duggan is now the only player to lose the Cup Finals twice. Buie is also noted for scoring the game-winning assist for the Boston Blades two years ago in their Clarkson Cup-winning campaign.

Hockey East reigns supreme

Only six schools have had members on both Isobel championship squads. Five of them are in Hockey East: Boston College, Maine, New Hampshire, Northeastern, and Providence. The other school is Minnesota.

Many farewells?

Before the game, both McLaughlin and Harrison Browne of the Beauts had announced their retirements. They will not likely be the last to do so; however, as many players worry about the financial burdens and look to move on with their other careers.

With the Olympics coming up next year, much of the Boston Pride roster will be centralized and heading to Korea — assuming USA Hockey can give the players an acceptable offer between now and then — which will leave many open spots. After the Olympics, some may choose to retire, as a number of Pride players might decide the Olympics are the right time to hang them up.

Less season, more problems

When National Team players requested a shorter season in order to prep for the World Championships, the league complied and cut the playoffs to single-game eliminations. While that is a mainstay in college, it is much more of an aberration in the professional world, and this game showed why. A number of fans were wondering about a six-win team beating a 16-win team for the first time all season to become champion — making the regular season have almost no meaning. On Sunday, though, the Buffalo Beauts were the better team, and we here at The Ice Garden would like to congratulate them as Isobel Cup champions.

The Pride celebrate one of their two goals in the final minutes.
Al Saniuk