A grand total of 33 goals were scored over four games this past weekend in the NWHL. No game had fewer than six total goals. Twenty different goal scorers found the back of the net. It was a true offensive eruption.
So in the midst of this chaos, let’s take a look at who’s hot and who’s not.
Trending up: Amanda Boulier, MIN | Goal, 5 assists in two games vs MET
Amanda Boulier wasted no time throwing her hat/toque/head-garment-of-choice into the ring for Defender of the Year, exploding out of the gate with a five-assist performance against the Metropolitan Riveters. Minnesota raised their Isobel Cup banner to the TRIA Rink rafters then promptly curb-stomped the Riveters 9-2.
Three of Boulier’s five assists were primary; one of those primary assists came on the power play. It was an active night for #8, as in one game she became the league leader in assists.
Amazingly, Boulier only received second star of the game honors, beaten by teammate Jonna Curtis who netted a hat trick. It’s rare that a five-point night is outdone, but when four players combine for 16 points on your team, can you really complain?
She followed up her five-point night with a goal late in the second period on Sunday.
Trending down: Buffalo scoring depth | Three goals in two games vs BOS
Buffalo looked outclassed against the Boston Pride this weekend. It’s been a while since a Beauts team has been “outclassed,” but that’s exactly what they were. In both games, Buffalo allowed over 40 shots on goal while themselves only mustering 20 and 22 shots on goal, respectively.
Boston put up 12 goals on the Beauts, and it’s hard to blame netminder Mariah Fujimagari. She was under siege, with very little going for her squad on the opposite end of the ice. Other than Brooke Stacey, who scored two of the three Beauts goals, it’s hard to pick a performance that stood out on the Buffalo bench.
Buffalo’s offense so far is very rush-happy. Their game-winning goal against the Whale came off a breakaway. Stacey capitalized on a penalty shot. Iveta Klimášová scored her first career goal entering the zone one-on-one and uncorking a booming slapper from the point.
It’s beginning to look like if the top line doesn’t score, the Beauts won’t be particularly threatening. That needs to change. They’ll have a home back-to-back against the Connecticut Whale this weekend to get their mojo back.
Trending up: Rebecca Morse, MET | 2 goals, OT GWG vs MIN
How often does a team get beaten up 9-2 on the road, wake up the next day and dramatically earn an overtime victory in the same building against the same opponent? My guess is probably not often.
Morse gave the Riveters an early 2-1 lead in their Saturday game against the Whitecaps, collecting a blocked shot and catching Amanda Leveille too far out of her net for the easy goal. Minnesota roared back and took a 3-2 lead before the first period’s end and cruised from there.
Things changed Sunday afternoon. Metropolitan kept the game tied after two periods, fending off a 17-shot second from Minnesota. Morse assisted on a Kendall Cornine power play goal in the third but the Caps answered back late in regulation to send the game into overtime.
Considering how many times late defensive breakdowns sank the Riveters last season, it would have been understandable to think, “well, here we go again.” After all, Metro failed to beat the Whitecaps last season and often found themselves frustrated by their inability to scrape together a 60-minute effort.
But on the first shift of OT, the Moose called game.
Neutral zone strip, deke to the left, top shelf snipe on Leveille. That’s how it’s done.
Trending down: Metro’s powerplay | 1-for-12, 2 SHGA in two games vs MIN
The true back-breaker in the Riveters’ shellacking at the hands of the Whitecaps was the play of their power play. Metropolitan was gifted 90 seconds of power play time to start the second period trailing by one.
That power play allowed a shorthanded three-on-one within 30 seconds, which was miraculously stopped by Sam Walther. Metro picks up the puck and charges up ice, but an errant Madison Packer drop pass gets intercepted and the speedy Whitecap penalty killers turn right around and spring a two-on-one. Nicole Schammel drags the toe and sheathes the dagger.
A shorthanded odd-player rush cannot happen if you’re the team with the advantage. Two in a row is egregious, especially when the game is still very much within reach.
Oh, and the Riveters allowed another shorthanded goal nine minutes later to bring the score to 6-2 midway through the second. Meghan Lorence positively baffled Colleen Murphy with a larcenous pick of the pocket and a gorgeous finish.
Metropolitan will have the weekend off to soak in the positives from their win and hit the video room.
Trending up: Lexie Laing, BOS | Goal, three assists in two games vs BUF
You know that segment on the Buffalo Beauts a ways up there? Yeah. Read that as if it were Opposite Day and you’ll have the Boston Pride.
This Pride team has the potential to be scary good. Jillian Dempsey and McKenna Brand make dominance look routine. Their defense is rock solid, with Lauren Kelly looking particularly good on the blue line. Former Whale leading scorer Emily Fluke signed with the team and tallied two goals in her second game in Pride yellow (what’s a better name for their shade of bright yellow? Lemon? Xanthic?).
In a weekend with contributions up and down the lineup, one of the most pleasant surprises came in the form of a four-point weekend from Lexie Laing.
Laing scored her first professional goal for the Boston Pride Saturday, then added three more assists over the course of the weekend. She was tenacious all weekend on the forecheck, joining a litany of depth forwards doing their bit like Carlee Toews and Christina Putigna.
But this is more than a simple numbers game. Considering the deep ties the Laing family has to the Pride organization, there’s just something special about this. It would be a terrific weekend regardless- one that the league recognized as deserving of the VEDA Player of the Week honors, to boot- but context truly makes it extra memorable.
Laing and the Pride will host the Minnesota Whitecaps for a back-to-back this weekend.