The Boston Pride and Buffalo Beauts, who have twice met in the Isobel Cup Finals in the early years of the PHF, will meet in the quarterfinals in what is bound to be a tight game to determine who will square off against the Toronto Six or the Connecticut Whale in the semis.
Given that the Pride are reigning Isobel Cup champions, you might expect them to take this series handily...but their record against the Beauts doesn’t quite support that hypothesis. We’ll get into why that is and how each team can win this pivotal game below.
Buffalo and Boston split their season series right down the middle, with the Pride taking the first two games and the Beauts taking the latter half of the series in dramatic fashion in overtime. Each game was decided by just one goal, and the goal differential between the two teams is exactly zero heading into their postseason match-up.
This quarterfinal really could go either way. We could see another high-scoring affair with seven goals between the two teams, or we could see another game where both goaltenders stand on their heads and only one goal is scored. It’s a complete toss-up, and that’s what makes the hockey so fun.
Though Kremer scored zero points in six games last season as a member of Buffalo’s squad, she’s really stepped it up this year in terms of her offensive and defensive games, playing a crucial offensive role from the blue line by scoring to open the game for the Beauts on the scoresheet two separate times.
She’s also blocked 16 shots and registered 13 takeaways, proving that she’s not all about generating offense as a defender. Her offensive and defensive upside have made her a critical piece to this year’s Beauts squad, and they’ll rely on her in Tampa.
Ganser had two goals and two assists through the season series, and contributed to both overtime winners in the two Beauts’ victories. Of the five goals she scored this season, two were at the expense of the Pride, and half of her game-winners were scored against Boston too.
Kennedy Ganser cleans up the rebound in front and the Beauts take the lead late in the 1st! pic.twitter.com/j30TzRplBm— PHF (@PHF) March 20, 2022
She’s been a key contributor when paired with Autumn MacDougall and Taylor Accursi, and has established herself as a playmaker whenever her skates hit the ice. The Beauts will need some of that firepower when it comes to their quarterfinal against the Pride.
Through the season’s four-game series, second year forward Davis registered two goals and one assist to power the Pride to a season split. Her two goals, though they came in Boston’s two overtime losses, also came at crucial moments for the team. She even had an assist on Mary Parker’s game-winner at Warrior, where her squad came back from a 3-0 deficit to win in regulation.
Suiting up for approximately two games (one full game and then splitting two others with Lovisa Selander), Burt has stood on her head when it comes to the Beauts and made 69 saves for the Pride through all three appearances, including a 37-save shutout at the end of February.
Burt’s strength between the pipes has given her team the confidence they need to attempt high-danger plays at the opposite end of the ice. No matter what happens in any of the Pride’s zones, they know they have a stalwart final line of defense in Burt in goal.
How the Pride Win
The Pride will really need to turn on the jets and score early to pull this one out. One of their two wins against the Beauts this season was a come-from-behind victory where they only managed to pull it off after scoring four straight unanswered — though it worked out for them, it’s not a position you ever want to be in.
Scoring first and scoring early will be key to establishing some momentum for Boston and giving them the opportunity to create some space and make the plays they need to make to keep Buffalo off the board.
How the Beauts Win
Though we didn’t mention her as a key player, it goes without saying that another standout performance from Carly Jackson is necessary in this one. The goaltender has been incredible throughout the season series against the Pride, making nearly 100 saves through three starts, and she’ll be the team’s last line of defense should a shot trickle through.
Speaking of defense, the Beauts’ blue liners will also need to step up and focus on blocking shots and eliminating passing and shooting lanes so that the Pride don’t have any chance of putting one on Jackson.