PWHL RECAP: Boston Suffers Costly Shootout Loss to Ottawa

Boston's playoff hopes took a big blow in last night's shootout loss to Ottawa.

PWHL RECAP: Boston Suffers Costly Shootout Loss to Ottawa
Aerin Frankel makes a save amid net-front traffic. Photo by Andrea Cardin/Freestyle Photography/PWHL.

Boston dropped a costly game to Ottawa in the shootout last night, 2-1. They are now just three points away from being eliminated from the playoff race.

Boston came out hot and showed they knew how important a regulation win was. Just 90 seconds in, Hilary Knight squeaked one past Emerance Maschmeyer off a great face-off play by Hannah Brandt, and it was 1-0 Boston.

Just over 30 seconds later, Boston got the first power play when Ottawa got caught with too many players on the ice, which they sent Daryl Watts to serve. Boston registered two shots on goal, but couldn’t extend their lead.

Boston then headed to the box a few minutes later, as Kaleigh Fratkin got called for holding. Just 22 seconds into the power play, Brianne Jenner continued her hot streak by cracking Aerin Frankel to tie the game at one.

Ottawa was buzzing for the next several minutes after tying the game. They got several quality chances from the net front, but luckily for Boston, Frankel kept it out.

Boston then started picking it back up towards the end of the period, and they were rewarded with less than a minute remaining. Jamie Lee Rattray, an Ottawa suburb (Kanata) native, made an excellent steal along the boards before silkily deking Maschmeyer to give her team the 2-1 lead.

The thrilling first period ended with Boston leading 2-1 while outshooting Ottawa 15-9. Overall, Boston had a strong showing in the opening 20, starting hot before withstanding a big Ottawa surge in the middle to regain the lead late.

The second period began with a penalty parade. Boston started the fun when Sophie Shirley went off for tripping at 2:21. Ottawa joined in just over three minutes later, with Jincy Roese going for tripping. Finally, with one second remaining on the Boston power play, Fratkin headed to the box for the second time, this time for hooking. 

The best chance of any of these power plays came off a Boston shorthanded look on the Fratkin penalty. Taylor Girard made a patient play to wait for a streaking Megan Keller in the offensive zone, and then she fed it over to Keller for a point-blank shot. However, Maschmeyer made a massive save (right video in the below tweet) to keep her team trailing by one.

Boston got another great chance a few minutes later, with Susanna Tapani looking at a lot of open space to shoot at from down low. However, Savannah Harmon made a massive block to negate the chance.

Not much happened over the back half of the period, so Boston headed back to the locker room 2-1 while outshooting Ottawa 21-13. There were some outstanding chances at both ends in the middle frame, but both goaltenders stood tall. 

The third period was quieter compared to the first 40. Both goaltenders were called upon to make huge saves within the first five minutes, but for the most part neither team had firm control of the play.

However, at 11:14, Ottawa managed to break through. Gabbie Hughes tapped a puck home following a great Emily Clark net drive, and it was 2-2.

The teams continued to trade looks for the rest of the period, but neither broke through again. In a big blow to Boston’s playoff hopes, this one headed to overtime.

Overtime unfolded at a breakneck pace. Boston got two looks early, but after, Ottawa got the better chances. Frankel had to make six saves, ranging from solid to ridiculous (see her best below), midway through the extra frame.

Not long after, Maschmeyer made her own excellent save on Tapani. No one landed another shot for the rest of the period, so for the second straight meeting, Boston and Ottawa headed to the shootout.

The shootout opened with both Kateřina Mrázová and Hannah Brandt scoring in the opening round. Then, nobody scored until Mrázová potted another in Round 5 off a similar move. Knight then went down and rang the pipe on her second attempt of the night, so Boston fell in the shootout, 2-1. It was Ottawa’s first win past regulation this season.

Overall, this was a thrilling game between two teams who clearly understood the moment. This easily could’ve been a high-scoring game given the quality of chances, but the goaltenders put on a show. In the end, Boston played well and outshot Ottawa 32-25 but they couldn’t do enough to get it done. Now, in addition to facing a Minnesota team that is looking to clinch a spot, they’ll have to keep an eye on the out-of-town scoreboard on Saturday. A regulation loss to Minnesota or an Ottawa regulation win over Montréal will eliminate them. The dream stays alive for another day with any other result.

After the game, head coach Courtney Kessel shared her thoughts on the shootout loss with the media.

"I thought it was a great game,” said Kessel. “We've seen so many great games across this league, it's incredible. We came up a little bit short, which is unfortunate. We got a point out of it, and we keep moving forward. Our playoff hopes aren't out of reach yet."

Rattray also added in her thoughts, sharing the team’s disappointment but resolve to do what they can to stay alive.

"We're disappointed,” said Rattray. “We want to win every game, especially that one. I mean, we were up 2-1. It sucks, but we got a point, and we can move on. We still have two games, so we can do our best to control our own fate here and win out."