RECAP: Boston Gets Back in the Win Column Versus Ottawa

Boston snaps their losing streak at four, as they beat Ottawa 3-1.

RECAP: Boston Gets Back in the Win Column Versus Ottawa
Megan Keller and Taylor Girard celebrate a goal during a previous game. Photo by Cassie Froio/The Ice Garden.

Boston closed out their homestand on a high note yesterday, as they beat Ottawa 3-1 for their first regulation win on home ice.

Boston started the game HOT. They were in control for the first several minutes, and then got an early power play, as Gabbie Hughes was called for interference at 3:48. While they didn’t score, Boston continued to build momentum through the power play.

At 7:35 of the first, Boston was finally rewarded for their hot start when Loren Gabel fired a rocket past Ottawa's Emerance Maschmeyer to give her team the lead. Alina Müller and Jess Healey assisted on the goal, which marked Healey’s first PWHL point. At the time of the goal, Boston was outshooting Ottawa a whopping 7-1. 

A few minutes later, Ottawa got their first power play of the night, as Gigi Marvin was called for hooking at 9:47. Boston did a great job on the kill though, and didn’t allow the league’s best power play to even get a shot on net.

Exactly one minute after Marvin exited the box, Boston headed back to the penalty kill, as Jess Healey was called for boarding. This power play looked a little better, but Boston still didn’t allow them to land a shot on goal, let alone score. 

Boston got a couple of good looks following the power play, but it was Ottawa who struck next. Daryl Watts carried the puck into the zone and made a sneaky play as she left the puck for Kateřina Mrázová off to the left of Aerin Frankel. Mrázová then skated into the puck and quickly cut into the crease, handcuffing the Boston defenders. Her first shot rang the pipe and was waved off, but she quickly buried the rebound to tie the game at 16:37 of the first. Watts and Aneta Tejralová assisted on the goal.

Ottawa picked up the pace significantly after tying the game, with three shots over the final three minutes after getting just three in the first 17 minutes, including the goal. But, Frankel was up to the task and some nice saves to keep the game tied.

The first period ended with the score tied at one, but Boston outshot Ottawa 8-6. Boston finally looked like a team hungry to stop losing, and while they didn’t outshoot Ottawa by that much, they controlled the majority of the first period.

Boston started the second period even better than the first. Just 45 seconds in, Susanna Tapani got her first for Boston as she tipped a Megan Keller shot past Maschmeyer to give Boston the 2-1 lead. Kaleigh Fratkin also got her first PWHL assist on the goal.

For the next several minutes, Boston remained in control. However, that changed following an Amanda Pelkey elbowing penalty at 4:36 of the period. Frankel had to make a huge save early on, and then Boston got a chance at a jailbreak goal about halfway through. But, after that, it was all Ottawa. After going shotless during their first two power plays, Ottawa managed three on this one alone, but Frankel stood tall.

Ottawa carried that momentum for most of the period. Boston still got a few good chances, but Ottawa was in control for most of it and poured shots on Frankel. However, she was up to the task and made some great saves to keep Boston up 2-1.

Boston headed back to the PK at 17:39 of the period when Fratkin was called for roughing after taking exception to Gabbie Hughes digging at Frankel. Similar plays go unpenalized a lot, so Fratkin and head coach Courtney Kessel were unhappy with the call. However, while their frustration is understandable, it should probably be penalized more often. 

Luckily for Boston, not quite a minute later, Taylor Girard was sprung for another jailbreak opportunity, but instead, she drew a penalty, as Jincy Roese slashed her while attempting to catch up. So, to 4v4 the teams went for 1:02 followed by an abbreviated Boston power play.

The second period ended with Boston leading 2-1 despite being outshot 20-15. Ottawa exploded for 14 shots in the second to Boston’s seven, but Boston did a solid job limiting Ottawa’s grade-A chances.

Boston opened the third period with 37 seconds of power play time. However, they weren’t able to do much with it.

Frankel was great all night, but she had to make perhaps her best save of the game in the first minute of the third period. Akane Shiga got sprung on a breakaway, but Frankel made a phenomenal sliding leg save to keep her team in the lead.

The next several minutes were relatively quiet. Both teams got some shots, but none were particularly dangerous.

Boston got another power play at 9:23 of the third period when Savannah Harmon got called for cross-checking. She dropped Wenczkowski in the corner, who stayed down for a few before getting up and skating to the bench holding her shoulder. She sat on the bench briefly before heading down the tunnel. They reviewed the play for a major penalty but deemed it worth just a minor. Boston got several great chances on the power play, but couldn’t extend the lead.

However, a few minutes later, Hilary Knight redeemed herself for her inexplicable last-second pass during a 2-on-0 on Monday. She blocked an Ottawa shot in the defensive zone and then sprung loose with Loren Gabel for a 2-on-1 the other way. Gabel crashed the net hard, but Knight elected to take the shot herself and rifled her second of the season past Maschmeyer to give Boston a 3-1 lead at 13:49 of the third period. It was the kind of goal fans have been waiting to see from her, with her world-class shot taking center stage. Hopefully, for Boston’s sake, it’ll be the confidence boost she sorely needed after leading her team with 36 shots on net but only having two goals to show for it.

After a relatively uneventful few minutes, Ottawa pulled Maschmeyer with about two minutes remaining. But, shortly after, Akane Shiga and Jess Healey got into a kerfuffle. Shiga ended up getting two for unsportsmanlike conduct and Healey got two for roughing. So, to 4v4 the teams went, and Maschmeyer was put back in for the face-off. They pulled her again once Ottawa regained possession, but it wasn’t enough. Boston held on to take this one 3-1 despite being outshot 30-23, and they ended the losing streak at four with their first regulation win on home ice.

Overall, this was an excellent response game from Boston. They started strong and were able to buckle down and hang on to the lead even when Ottawa surged. Boston probably let up more shots than they’d like, but they did a good job of limiting Ottawa’s grade-A chances and Frankel was ready for the ones they did get.

After the game, Frankel met with the media and was asked about her outstanding play to get her team the win.

"We've been searching for a win for the past few games,” said Frankel. “I'm a very competitive goalie and I have a lot of competitive teammates in the room as well, so it was for them. We hadn't been playing our best at home, but that made it extra important to do all the little things right tonight."

Meanwhile, after being extremely frustrated following Monday’s loss, head coach Courtney Kessel was very pleased with her team's play last night.

"That was by far our best team game that we've played,” said Kessel. “We played with way more urgency, but most importantly we played for each other. We stood up for each other out there. That's what we needed to see."