After a change in schedule, NWHL action resumed on Saturday with another doubleheader. The Boston Pride and the Buffalo Beauts played the first game in their best-of-three series to determine which team will get the fourth and final seed in the Isobel Cup semifinals that begin on Thursday. Later in the night, Toronto took on the Minnesota Whitecaps in a game to determine seeding for the semis.
Buffalo Beauts earn their first win in a 2–1 victory to Boston
- A strong second half of the game earned the Buffalo Beauts their first win in Lake Placid. Despite being held to just two shots in the second period, a game-tying goal from Autumn MacDougall in the second gave the Beauts the momentum they needed to swing the game in their favor.
- Lauren Kelly scored the first goal of the game in the first period, and the Pride would continue to lead into the second. MacDougall’s goal snatched the lead away from them and, despite outshooting the Beauts 37–23 in the third, they never regained it.
- Lisa Chesson, who had not played for the Beauts prior to this game — as it had previously been announced that she would not be joining Buffalo in Lake Placid — arrived in the bubble after all. Chesson scored the game-winning goal on the power play. Her experience and skill had been missing from the Beauts lineup and turned out to be the difference maker in this game.
- Beauts head coach Pete Perram called this a “character win,” for the Beauts and said he hopes to see the momentum continue as they’re set to play Boston at least one more time.
- Meanwhile, Pride head coach Paul Mara had a relatively short answer when asked how the Pride were going to prepare for their game against the Beauts on Sunday. “Same intensity, same passion, we’ll win tomorrow.”
- Under the Radar | Jordan Juron has been really stepping it up for this Beauts team. Whether it was trying to break up a scrum between Taylor Wasylk and Carlee Turner, or assisting on both Beauts goals, Juron has stepped it up big time.
- Player of the Game | Goaltender Carly Jackson has easily been the Beauts’ MVP this season. Jackson made 36 saves on the Pride. Without her, the Beauts might not have been in it at all.
Toronto Six get the best of Minnesota in a 4–3 win
- We can officially start calling it a streak, as the Toronto Six won their third game in a row against the Minnesota Whitecaps. It was a back-and-forth game that could have belonged to either team until the final seconds as Minnesota and Toronto exchanged goals throughout.
- After blowing a 5–1 lead to the Whitecaps in their first meeting, the Toronto Six came out stronger and better, opening the scoring with a power play in the first and holding onto the lead until Nina Rodgers came back for the Whitecaps and tied it up. Every time the Six took the lead, the Whitecaps were right there to tie things up again. Mikyla Grant-Mentis had the first and last words in the game, putting the Six up 4–3 with just 23 seconds remaining in the game. The Whitecaps didn’t have a chance to answer as the Six ran down the clock and claimed the win.
- Goaltending was strong for both teams. The Six continued to pelt Amanda Leveille with shots, forcing her to make 41 saves. Elaine Chuli, similarly, faced 31 shots and stopped 28 of them.
- Even though the Six are on a roll, they’re not letting it get to their heads. “We don’t look in the rear-view mirror very often. We might have won three games in a row, but those games are behind us and we’re looking at what’s in front of us,” said assistant coach Lisa Haley. They’re playing hard in an attempt to earn home ice advantage, but ultimately the game they most want to win is the very last game of the tournament. “You’re not ‘all that and a bag of chips’ until you win the championship,” head coach Digit Murphy added.
- Murphy continued to stress the importance of keeping things light in the dressing room and on the bench. “We’re just having fun. That’s all we talk about, have dance parties, do your job, and then come out on the other side. We have to keep loose. Keep flexing, keep flowing and have fun.”
- Under the Radar | Grant-Mentis had been playing center up until this point. Forced to play on Darkangelo’s wing because of a shortened bench, Grant-Mentis had one of her best games of the tournament.
- Player of the Game | The Whitecaps might not have won, but Nina Rodgers had herself a night. Rodgers had two goals and an assist, both of them coming on the power play.
Boston tries to stave off elimination as the series against Buffalo continues, and Toronto gets another chance to earn top seed in the playoffs. Games can be streamed for free on twitch.tv/nwhl.
- Boston Pride vs. Buffalo Beauts | 3 p.m. ET
- Toronto Six vs. Connecticut Whale | 6 p.m. ET