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2021 Isobel Cup Final Preview: Pride vs. Whitecaps

One team looks to become the first ever two-time Isobel Cup champion tonight

Michelle Jay/NWHL

In a rematch of the 2020 Isobel Cup Final That Never Was, the Boston Pride will square off against the Minnesota Whitecaps in the 2021 Isobel Cup Final tonight at 7 PM ET. The two teams both dominated in their respective semifinals, each winning by considerable margins to pave their way to the final game tonight.

We’re here to set the stage for you for what should be an absolute classic.

The Road to Isobel

The Boston Pride

Boston Pride season report card

The Pride had something to prove after a somewhat lackluster performance in Lake Placid earned them the #4 seed in the Isobel Cup Playoffs, and they let that drive — very reminiscent of their season five energy — fuel them as they surged to a dominant 6-2 win over the Toronto Six in the semifinals.

When all was said and done, six different members of the Pack had scored, with four of those goal-scorers tallying multi-point nights. The offense that struggled to get going in Lake Placid showed up in full force to lift Boston to the Isobel Cup Final.

  • Player of the Game | It was a true team effort from the Boston Pride to upset the No. 1 seed, but the Pride got more dangerous every time Captain Jillian Dempsey stepped on the ice. On top of scoring the Pride’s second goal, Dempsey also had the primary assist on McKenna Brand’s goal in the second period. Dempsey makes everyone who plays with her better and her voice as a leader really can’t be underestimated.

The Minnesota Whitecaps

Whitecaps season report card

The Whitecaps looked impressive in Lake Placid but that was nothing compared to how they looked last night against the Whale. They came out firing on all cylinders, taking the lead six minutes into the game, and cruising to a dominant 7-0 victory.

While Haylea Schmid got Minnesota on the board early, the rest of the game was the Nina Rodgers and Audra Richards Show, with both forwards racking up four-point nights. Rodgers finished the evening with four assists and Richards scored three goals and notched an apple of her own by the time the final buzzer sounded. These two forwards, along with the speedy Allie Thunstrom, are going to be the ones to watch for the Pride tonight.

  • Player of the Game | It’s rare that a player who scores the hat trick in a game doesn’t earn this designation, but after making 44 saves, Amanda Leveille was unmistakable the driving force behind this dominant Whitecaps win. Not only did Leveille make so many saves, but she’s ready to do it again, saying “To me, it doesn’t matter if I get one shot or 50 shots, my goal is to make a save, but if I’m being honest, I do like facing more shots.”

Prediction

There are more storylines to watch out for in tonight’s game than we can list. There’s unfinished business to settle from last year, two star goaltenders ready for another big battle on a big stage, two reigning co-MVPs going head-to-head, and a bevy of talented skaters around them. This one has all the ingredients you could hope for in a winner-takes-all showdown.

In some ways, it almost feels like tonight’s game was inevitable.

“We’ve been preparing for this for over a year now,” said Coach Paul Mara, “But it’s not over, tonight was one game and the prize is really tomorrow night.”

The Whitecaps know they have their work cut out for them against the Pride but this is a proud hockey team with a lot of experience and chemistry. They have had designs on being the first team to win two Isobel Cups since they lifted Isobel in their inaugural season. You simply can’t rule out a team that has Leveille between the pipes and a counter-attack led by a healthy Allie Thunstrom.

Viz created by Alyssa Longmuir | @alyssastweeting

“We’re going to do the best we can to bring the Isobel Cup back to Minnesota, that’s where it’s been and that’s where we want to keep it,” said Whitecaps head coach, Jack Brodt after last night’s statement win.

All of that being said, we think today’s game is ultimately going to be something of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object, with the Pride’s potent forward corps meeting Leveille in a duel for the ages. We can’t wait.

FINAL SCORE: Boston Pride 2, Minnesota Whitecaps 1 (OT)

Boston Pride vs. Toronto Six | 7:00 PM ET

WATCH: NBCSN (U.S.) or twitch.tv/nwhl (Canada, international)