RECAP: Boston's Offense Breaks Through in Overtime Win Over New York

Boston's most complete game of the season ended in a 3-2 OTW.

RECAP: Boston's Offense Breaks  Through in Overtime Win Over New York
Boston players celebrate their overtime win by hug-tackling Hannah Brandt. Photo by Cassie Froio/The Ice Garden.

After struggling for several games, Boston’s offensive finally broke through yesterday, as they peppered New York with 46 shots (many of which were quality chances) in their 3-2 overtime win.

Boston started the game a bit flat, but unlike the past several games, they turned that around quickly. Just 4:03, Jamie Lee Rattray passed the puck to Hannah Brandt, who banked it off the back of Abbey Levy to give Boston the early 1-0.

“I was just trying to hit, I think it was Ratty in front of the net,” said Brandt. “She had a good forecheck, [and it] popped loose to me and I was just trying to get it back to her in front, and I don’t know what it hit but it went in so that’s all that matters.”

After that, Boston took control of the game. However, New York ended up getting the first power play, as Amanda Pelkey got two for boarding at 6:52 of the period. New York got a couple of shots on the power play, but none were overly dangerous and Emma Söderberg was ready.

30 seconds after the Boston penalty expired, Madison Packer headed to the box for tripping, sending Boston to the power play. Boston got several good looks but they couldn’t extend the lead.

Boston got several other great chances in the period, but Levy was outstanding. Then, with 51.8 seconds remaining, Boston got another power play, but they didn’t get much going. 

Through 20 minutes, Boston led 1-0 while outshooting New York 16-7. It was the start Boston needed after several games of lacking urgency. Not only did they take the lead early, but they played hard most of the period and got lots of quality chances.

A graphic of an ice rink, with blue dots representing Boston's shots and orange dots representing New York. Boston has 16 shots, including 6 from the slot, while New York only has seven shots and they are more spread out.
A screenshot of the PWHL's online shot tracker, showing both Boston and New York's shots through the first period.

Boston dominated the first half of the second period. Their cycle game was excellent, and they hemmed New York in the zone. They got rewarded with a power play at 6:27, as Jamie Bourbonnais got called for tripping. Boston had some remarkable chances, yet somehow Levy kept them out.

By the halfway mark of the second Boston was outshooting New York 11-2 in the period, and 27-9 overall. It was a great mix of volume and quality, with seven of those 11 shots taken from inside the house, including five below the face-off circles. At this point, the game was all Boston, and New York was clinging on for dear life.

However, things began to change when Hilary Knight got called for a body check at 10:03 of the second. New York didn’t get much going on the power play, but it gave them a spark, and they started to take control.

Tempers flared around the 12-minute mark, as Hilary Knight took exception to a Jade Downie-Landry hit on Megan Keller. Knight and Downie-Landry each got two for roughing, and to 4v4 the teams went.

Boston soon continued the penalty parade, as Emily Brown got called for tripping not even 30 seconds later. So, New York got 1:31 of a 4v3 power play, followed by 29 seconds of a 5v4. Even though they didn’t score, New York continued to build momentum off it.

A few minutes later, Boston gave Elizabeth Giguére too much time and space to make some pretty moves, and she waited out Emma Söderberg to bury her first PWHL goal (and point) and tie the game at one. Alexandra Labelle and Chloe Aurard assisted on the goal.

Things continued to unravel for Boston from there. At 18:28, Bourbonnais ripped a shot from the point that Söderberg never saw coming thanks to Kaleigh Fratkin and Jessie Eldridge screening her, and it was 2-1 New York.

The second period ended with Boston trailing 2-1 but outshooting New York 29-19. After starting the period on fire, Boston got into penalty trouble and allowed New York to take momentum back, and they did not waste the opportunity. It was gut check time for Boston.

Luckily for the 4,607 fans in attendance (a new record for Boston), they were up to the challenge. Boston didn’t land a ton of shots early on, but they made one count at 5:20. Sophie Shirley sniped a beautiful behind-the-net Susanna Tapani feed home to tie the game at 2. Alina Müller got the secondary assist.

“It was just a really good play by Mules and Tap down low and I was lucky enough to kinda be in the right spot at the right time,” said Shirley after the game. “I managed to create a spot out to me there and then was able to put it low glove, so it was a big goal for me and the team and I’m just happy it went in.”

Boston continued to the offensive zone pressure throughout most of the third period, although they didn’t pepper Levy with as many rapid-fire shots. They still got plenty of great chances though, including some point-blank ones in the dying minutes from Jamie Lee Rattray, who was all over the ice today. 

The third period ended tied 2-2, so to overtime they went. Boston outshot New York a whopping 41-23 in regulation.

Boston looked like a team determined to win in overtime, and that’s just what they did. Brandt make an excellent steal at her defensive blueline, and she and Rattray took off towards the other end. Brandt made a drop pass to Rattray as they entered the zone, and Rattray fired the shot on goal while Brandt crashed it hard. Luckily for Boston, the rebound landed right in front of Brandt, who buried the easy tap-in to win the game. The final shots were 46-23 Boston.

“Getting down the ice, we’ve been working on our 2-on-1s,” said Brandt. “I tried to take the D with me, and let Ratty get a good shot. It was perfect, she got it on net, [and it] just hit me, stayed in front, and then I had an easy tap-in. So, it was just a good play all around by all three of us on the ice.”

Overall, this was perhaps Boston’s best game of the season. They played with urgency, and not only did they pepper Levy with shots, but most of them were high-quality chances. Had it not been for Levy standing on her head, this easily could’ve been a blowout win. It was exactly the game fans had been waiting to see out of Boston.

A graphic of an ice rink, showing one full end zone and the neutral zone. There are 45 blue dots representing Boston shots, with many of them around the front of the net.
A screenshot of the PWHL's online shot tracker, showing all of Boston's shots tonight.

After struggling to get enough quality chances in most games this season, Kessel was asked how the team managed to break through tonight.

“I think the last week and a half here, we’ve really been working on, like, we have so much o-zone possession time but not too many threatening opportunities, so how can we upgrade that,” said Kessel. “So I think we’ve just been working on behind the goal line plays, getting a better net front presence, getting to the net, stopping at the net, and just being a presence instead of just playing along the outside.”

Overall, it was clear Kessel was extremely happy with her team’s play today, and she spoke about how much of a relief it was to get the win after controlling most of the game.

“I think it was just like, we can’t lose this one, if you lose this one, what’s next kind of thing,” said Kessel. “I think it’s a big relief, but I think it was earned. I don’t think it was given.”

She later added how pleased she was with her team for sticking with it, and shared optimism about the rest of the season, calling it a ‘special group’.

“I commend them, they stayed with it the whole way,” said Kessel. “I know we went down there and we were all kind of like ‘Jesus Christ how are we down a goal right now, this is insane’ but the energy was positive in the room, [and] on the bench, they really just stuck with it and I think that’s something so special about this group. I know we’re not sitting at the top of the standings right now, but you know what, we’re going to peak when it’s right and I think that we really have a special group.”