Warrior Ice Arena got a bit of a facelift on Saturday as the Pride kicked off their home opener. The rink, home to the Pride and training facility of the Bruins, now boasts three new banners above the home bench.
Teammate, and arguably the heart of the team, Denna Laing joined the Pride on the ice as they raised not only two banners celebrating the successful 2015 Isobel Cup run, one in black and one in white, but one celebrating Denna herself as well.
Once the pregame festivities were finished, the puck was dropped and the game was on. Here are some game notes now that the weekend is complete;
Brick Wall Brianne
Brianne McLaughlin may have taken the loss in net Saturday, but her effort in the goal can not and should not go unnoticed. She stopped 41 of the Pride's 42 shots on goal during regulation and overtime. She also managed to stop all but one in the shootout. If you looked too fast, you could've assumed the Beauts had built a brick wall in their net….and it wouldn't be far from the truth.
McLaughlin's night may not have been perfect, but that's okay. If it's not one for the record books it's certainly close to it.
Penalties: Few and Far Between
In contrast to prior games, there wasn't much to see in the way of penalties, for either team. Both posted four minutes total, and the Beauts only managed to convert one of their two power play chances. Boston couldn't convert on either of their power play chances, but it worked out ok for them.
Even though the Beauts managed to get one past Ott into the net to spoil the shutout bid (I'm looking at you, Shiann Darkangelo) it's a significant improvement, even if we're only three games into the regular season. If they can continue the trend, Boston shouldn't have to worry much when they give up a man advantage.
Redemption, Thy Name is Pelkey
It seemed like Brittany Ott was headed for a shutout heading deep into the third. The Pride were up 1-0, and then Lexi Bender took a penalty. 26 seconds into the penalty, Shiann Darkangelo, Sarah Casorso, and Corinne Buie decided it was a good moment to spoil that. They scored on the power play, and tied the game at one goal apiece.
Five minutes left in the period, neither team could do much, and to overtime we went. The extra five minutes didn't help much either, and so we saw our first shootout of the season.
Pride up first, they couldn't get it past the 'tender. Buffalo didn't have much luck either. This continued on for four rounds, and then we reached Amanda Pelkey.
Boston's fifth shooter. She had two shots on goal so far in regulation and overtime. The game was on her stick. She got the go-ahead, stickhandled a bit….and sent the biscuit top shelf and almost popped McLaughlin's water bottle off the top of the net. She'd broken the stalemate.
Corinne Buie couldn't convert her chance. Home opener win? Secured.
What's up next for the Pack
Thanks to Pelkey, the Pride are still undefeated. With a dangerous roster, it's a surprise to no one. They only had one game on tap this weekend; this one. So they can break for Sunday and be refreshed for practice during the week.
They'll take on the New York Riveters back at Warrior on the 22nd, with puck drop scheduled for 6:30. Tickets are still available, or if you can't attend, you can catch the game on the NWHL's free streaming service, Cross-Ice Pass.