PWHL RECAP: Lexie Adzija's Late Goal Lifts Boston Over New York

Boston secured another important three points yesterday, toppling New York 2-1.

PWHL RECAP: Lexie Adzija's Late Goal Lifts Boston Over New York
Lexie Adzija battles for the puck with Taylor Baker during a previous game. Photo courtesy of the PWHL.

Boston boosted their playoff dreams yesterday while dealing a heavy blow to New York’s, as they walked out of the Prudential Center with a 2-1 win.

The first period was uneventful. Boston started with more jump, but it quickly dissipated, and they lacked urgency for most of the period. They didn’t get a lot of sustained offensive zone pressure, and most of the shots they got were low quality.

Meanwhile, New York came into their own more as the period wore on, and they did a great job of getting quality chances while Boston struggled to box them out. However, they couldn't bury any, so the first period ended scoreless, with New York holding a narrow 9-7 shot advantage.

Boston got off to a much better start in the second. They controlled play and landed better-quality shots on goal, and were soon rewarded. Fresh off signing a full SPA that morning, Nicole Kosta buried a rebound for her first PWHL goal to give Boston a 1-0 lead at 6:13. Adzija and Megan Keller got the assists. It was a funky goal that was subject to a lengthy review to see if Kosta’s hand pushed it into the net, but it was eventually confirmed as a good goal. Based on the broadcast's angles, Schroeder’s arm appeared to push the puck into the net, so it was the right call.

“Obviously, it was an exciting moment,” said Kosta to the media postgame. “We were holding our breaths a little bit on the long play, but it was great to be out there. Anyone on that line could have scored and I was just happy I could reward that great shift.”

Boston then kept the pressure up. They had solid puck possession and peppered Corinne Schroeder with shots, most of which were decent quality. New York still managed to get some chances here and there, but in stark contrast to the opening period, Boston did an excellent job keeping them to the perimeter. 

However, with just over four minutes remaining, Alex Carpenter made a nifty play upon entering the zone and threw it out front, causing chaos among the Boston defenders. Jill Saulnier managed to pick up the puck first and shoveled it on goal, where it landed in the crease past Frankel. Jessie Eldridge tucked in the rebound to tie the game at one for New York.

The rest of the second period was quiet, so the teams returned to their locker rooms tied at one, with Boston now holding a 24-19 shot advantage after showing much more urgency in the middle frame.

The third period was Boston’s best. They were dominant from the start and got rewarded with the game’s power play nearly six minutes in, as Jamie Bourbonnais got called for hooking. While they landed four shots on goal, Boston’s power play still couldn't convert.

After the failed power play, Boston kept their foot on the gas. They held New York to just two shots through the first half of the period, one of which was from their defensive blue line.

New York’s best scoring chance came after Eldridge made a heads-up play on a 2v1, using Aerin Frankel to send a bounce pass to Emma Woods, but Frankel somehow managed to keep it out.

A few minutes later, Boston finally managed to crack Schroeder again. Kosta fired a shot toward the net, and Adzija won a stick battle out front to whack home her first with Boston at 16:51. It was another well-deserved goal from the third line, which was relentless on the puck all night.

New York pulled Schroeder with just over a minute remaining in the period, but they soon had to put her back in since there was a faceoff in her zone. They didn’t get her out again until about 30 seconds were remaining, and Boston did a great job of locking it down and not allowing New York to get any shots through. So, Boston walked out of the Prudential Center with another massive three points in the standings, beating New York 2-1 and outshooting them 38-25.

Overall, this wasn’t Boston’s most complete game, but they got better as it went on and found a way to win. Right now, while ideally, the "how" should be solid too, what's most important is the result as they try to claw their way back into the playoffs. The win briefly catapulted Boston into the final spot, but Ottawa beat Minnesota later in the evening to retake it. So, Boston still sits two points back of Ottawa, who has a game in hand. Meanwhile, New York is now 10 points back of Ottawa for the final playoff spot and is just two Ottawa points away from being eliminated from playoff contention.

In her postgame media availability, Boston head coach Courtney Kessel kept it simple when assessing her team’s performance.

“I wish we came out with the same speed and intensity that we did against Toronto, but this puts us in a better spot heading into the last three games and a playoff run.”

Boston is back in action on Wednesday when they travel to Ottawa for perhaps their biggest game of the season.