PREVIEW: Boston Faces New York With Vital Points on the Line

Boston searches for a big three points in their return home.

PREVIEW: Boston Faces New York With Vital Points on the Line
Boston and New York players battle in front of Aerin Frankel. Photo by Michelle Jay/The Ice Garden.

Boston returns to Lowell briefly this afternoon for a huge game against last-place New York, who sits just two points behind them in the standings.

The Basics: Sunday, March 10, 2024- Boston vs New York- 3 p.m. EDT, Tsongas Center, Lowell, MA (NESN, MSG, Bally Sports North, PWHL Youtube Channel, GEM)

What to Expect

Chaos ensues in front of Aerin Frankel. The puck has just crossed the line for a NY goal while multiple players from each team battle out front. All you can see of Frankel is her glove. Boston is in green, while New York is in white.
Chaos ensues in front of Aerin Frankel as New York scores. Photo by Michelle Jay/The Ice Garden.

So far this season, Boston and New York have played each other twice. Both took place at the Tsongas Center, and New York won both. The first game was back on January 20, and Boston lost 4-1 thanks to a brutal second-period lapse. In the second game on February 17, Boston lost 2-1 in overtime thanks to the snakebit offense. But, it was a much closer game, with both teams battling hard and the goaltenders putting on a show.

This is a huge game for both teams. Boston is currently hanging onto the last playoff spot, but they sit just two points ahead of sixth-place New York. They also have a game in hand over New York so a regulation win would give Boston some much-needed breathing room. However, a regulation loss would allow New York to vault over them and put Boston in a precarious position. Overtime wouldn’t be ideal for either team, so expect a big push to see this end in regulation, one way or the other. 

Boston is coming off a 3-1 loss to Toronto on Wednesday. It was a frustrating showing from the team. Up until the third period, they lacked urgency and were pitiful offensively, managing just 11 shots through 40 minutes, few of which were dangerous. By the time they finally started to wake up, it was too little, too late. It was Boston’s second straight regulation loss. 

Meanwhile, New York is coming off a chaotic 4-3 loss to Montréal on Wednesday that saw the teams set a new record for penalties in a game with 11 combined. Montréal jumped out to a 3-0 lead just 15 minutes into the game, but New York managed to bring it within one heading into the third period with two power-play goals. Montréal then made it 4-2 before New York got another on the power play, but they couldn’t tie it. It was New York’s fourth straight loss overall and third straight in regulation. They have not had a regulation win since the January 20 one over Boston. 

Corinne Schroeder makes a save against Boston. She is on her knees and kicking the puck out to her left. She is wearing a white mask and jersey to go with her teal/navy New York pads.
Corinne Schroeder makes a save against Toronto. Photo by Michelle Jay/The Ice Garden.

In goal, except Corinne Schroeder again for New York. She has been scary good this season, with a 1.98 GAA (third in the league), 0.942 SV% (second in the league), and a 2-3-1-4 record despite her team’s struggles. She has singlehandedly kept them in many games and stolen a few wins. Schroeder played both previous games against Boston and let up just two goals, so Boston will have to find another level if they hope to beat her today.

As for Boston, my gut says it will be Aerin Frankel given how important the points are. She and Emma Söderberg have split the season series so far. Söderberg started the first game before getting pulled following Boston’s second-period meltdown, while Frankel started the second game. Frankel has been excellent this season, going 3-1-2-4 with a 2.02 GAA (sixth in the league) and 0.931 SV% (third in the league). However, she was pulled last game against Toronto after the second period. Granted, that game was far from all her fault, and no one had their best through 40, so it was also a wake-up call move, but it’s still notable. It was Frankel’s first pull of the season, and one has to wonder if how much she was playing started to catch up a little, especially given how busy she has been in most of those games.

Meanwhile, Söderberg hasn’t started since February 14, and she was excellent in the third period against Toronto, making 11 saves. Starting her may also be the shake-up the team needs since they’ve been in a funk lately. So, there’s a legitimate argument for giving her today’s game. However, given the need for a win, pencil Frankel in since she’s been their go-to when the points are at a premium.

Boston’s Key to the Game

Susanna Tapani takes a shot in close on Corinne Schroeder. Alex Carpenter is right behind Tapani trying to defend. Tapani is in green, while Schroeder and Carpenter are in white.
Susanna Tapani takes a shot in close on Corinne Schroeder. Photo by Michelle Jay/The Ice Garden.

Urgency and quality shots. I’m choosing two keys today because they are equally important. I feel like a broken record lately, but Boston must bring a sense of urgency to this game from the first puck drop to the final buzzer, and they must get plenty of quality shots. They cannot afford to come out flat, and perimeter shots will not cut it against Schroeder. A lack of these things has been losing them too many games lately, and the points are too important today for the issues to persist. They have got to find a way to snap out of the funks they’re in, or they’ll find themselves on the outside looking in on the playoff picture after this game.