RECAP: Boston Left Searching For Answers After Fourth Straight Loss

Sloppy defense earns Boston a fourth straight loss.

RECAP: Boston Left Searching For Answers After Fourth Straight Loss
Aerin Frankel makes a save through net front chaos. Photo by Cassie Froio/The Ice Garden.

Boston dropped to the basement of the league yesterday after losing their fourth straight game, this time 4-2 to Ottawa. 

Not much notable happened in the first period. Boston came out pretty flat, but they still managed to get a few good chances, but Emerance Maschmeyer stood tall. Meanwhile, at the other end, Aerin Frankel was on her A-game and made some big saves to keep the game scoreless.

Ottawa drew first blood at 8:08 of the period. Boston lost players in defensive coverage, and Daryl Watts finished off a Brianne Jenner feed to give Ottawa a 1-0 lead. Aneta Tejralová got the secondary assist on the goal.

The teams traded chances for the rest of the period, but nothing else went in. Boston returned to the locker room trailing 1-0 and outshot 12-10.

Boston started the second period off fast. Just 2:08 in, Taylor Girard tied the game with a strong candidate for the wackiest goal of the season. An Ottawa defender dove to try to break up the play, tripping Loren Gabel in the process. Then, they both slid into Maschmeyer, and all three fell into the net and knocked it off its pegs. Amidst all the chaos, Girard fired a shot home. It was ruled a good goal on the ice, and after a lengthy review, the call was confirmed. Megan Keller and Gabel got the assists on the goal. Unfortunately, the video of the goal appears to no longer exist online, but trust it was as chaotic as it sounds.

“It was super weird,” said Girard after the game. “Obviously Gabel was driving the net super fast and it just kind of popped on my stick. The net was on its way off, and I was like you know what, I’m just gonna shoot it, and it went in, so it was good.”

Several minutes later, Boston got the first power play of the game, as Natalie Snodgrass was called for boarding at 8:20 of the second period. Boston got a few shots, but none were overly threatening.

Soon after, it was Boston’s turn to head to the box, as Emily Brown was called for holding at 11:56. Then, unfortunately for Boston, Megan Keller laid a bad hit on Daryl Watts, so Ottawa got 34 seconds of a 5-on-3. She’s probably lucky it was only two minutes for boarding, but there also wasn’t much she could do. It was just an unfortunate series of events, and Keller immediately checked on Watts when she realized what happened.

Ottawa didn’t capitalize on the 5-on-3, but after Boston neglected to clean up a rebound in front of their goal, Gabbie Hughes sniped it home on the 5-on-4 at 15:02 of the period. Emily Clark and Savannah Harmon got the assists.

Just over a minute later, Abby Cook lasered a shot through traffic, and it beat Maschmeyer to tie the game at 2. It was Cook’s first goal for Boston, and second on the season after being traded from Minnesota. Keller and Hilary Knight got assists on the goal.

“It was crazy, I’m really happy,” said Cook after the game. “I actually didn’t know it went in the net until everyone started skating at me.”

Later, at 18:37 of the period, there was yet another boarding penalty called. This time, it was Ottawa’s Kateřina Mrázová who headed to the box.

However, things did not go well for Boston on this power play. Instead of taking the lead themselves, they got sloppy in the defensive zone and Hughes took the opportunity to score a jailbreak goal with just 11.5 seconds left in the period.

The second period ended with Ottawa leading 3-2 and outshooting Boston 24-23. Boston did not look like a team desperate to snap a losing streak and gain some ground in the standings, and they paid dearly for some sloppy defensive mistakes.

Boston turned it on more in the third period, especially at the beginning. Maschmeyer had to make several big saves early on to keep her team in the lead. One of those saves came on 2-on-0 where instead of shooting the puck herself, Knight inexplicably decided to make a last-minute pass that essentially killed the play. The decision to pass illustrates her lack of confidence right now as she continues to struggle to find the back of the net.

Outside of the first few minutes, it was a relatively uneventful third period until Boston pulled Frankel with under two minutes remaining. Unfortunately, instead of Boston tying it like they were able to last game, they bobbled the puck at the blue line and Brianne Jenner was able to seal the game with an empty-net goal with 43.4 seconds remaining.

Ottawa’s losing streak ended at five with a 4-2 win over Boston. They also narrowly outshot Boston 33-32. Meanwhile, Boston’s losing streak stretched to four, as the team dropped to sixth place in the standings and is searching for answers.

After the game, Girard shared her thoughts on her team’s performance.

“Not great,” said Girard. “We just came out flat. That’s the biggest issue with our team right now is we’re just constantly coming out flat. We need to find ways to dig deeper.”

Meanwhile, head coach Courtney Kessel was the most frustrated we have seen her.

“Something’s gotta change,” said Kessel. “If we’re not going to play 60 minutes, we’re going to lose games. You can’t just decide to show up for the third period, the league’s too good for that.”

When asked about her team’s biggest issue right now, she said it's their mentality.

“I think it’s a mentality,” said Kessel. “It’s urgency, it’s showing up when the puck drops, not 40 minutes later.”

When probed further, she got more specific.

“Like, want it,” said Kessel. “You’ve got to want the puck. You’ve got to jump to the puck. Jump to loose pucks. Win a race. Win a battle. We’re just not doing that.”