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Boston Pride Win, Brittany Ott Gets the Shutout

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The Pride have now won three straight and four of their last five in all competitions.

NWHL

The Boston Pride defeated the resilient Buffalo Beauts 1-0 on Sunday afternoon at the Harvard Bright Hockey Center behind a brilliant performance in goal from Brittany Ott.

In a league that has so far been characterized by high and frequent scoring, today’s game was a rarity, featuring only one goal and the league’s first-ever shutout. The first period was, to everyone’s surprise…slow. The Pride had only ten shots on goal in the first 20 minutes to the Beauts’ 11, and both teams looked disorganized offensively. The Beauts were coming off a week without a game, and the Pride spent last weekend traveling to Minnesota to play a back-to-back against the Whitecaps. On defense and in goal, however, both teams were possibly the best we’ve seen all season.

Buffalo’s goalie Brianne McLaughlin stopped 42 of the Pride’s 43 shots. Yes, the same one who the Pride scored five goals on just two weeks ago.

"It kinda got to the point where the coach was like, ‘figure it out or you’re not gonna play.’ So I didn’t really have a choice today," McLaughlin said after the game. "You change the tape on your stick or whatever mentally makes you feel better and see what happens. That’s the first game where I really felt like myself."

It took until halfway through the second period for the Pride to score, and even then McLaughlin initially made the save. Hilary Knight took her own rebound and tapped it behind McLaughlin, who came out of the net just too far.

After their uneventful first period, the Pride swarmed the Beauts’ net and racked up the shots on goal, but McLaughlin remained strong. Of course, she often had the help of the other five Beauts players on the ice, which has been every team's common strategy when facing the Pride.

The Pride defense was at its best as well, blocking shots and battling for pucks. Behind them was Brittany Ott, standing on her head to make saves to hold off the pesky Beauts.  At one point she even lost her stick and still made a save. Late in the first and third periods, the Beauts crowded the net and bombarded her with chances, and it looked like a goal was coming. Their last-ditch effort in the game’s final seconds was not enough, and Ott was able to secure the first-ever NWHL shutout.

Sunday’s game was a big step in the right direction for both teams.  The Beauts are a talented team, and as of late have been a threat to every team in the league.  Now that McLaughlin has settled in, perhaps the Beauts will be able to string together a few wins.  Who doesn't love the underdog, right? You just can't hate Buffalo.

Meanwhile, Ott has now had several outstanding games in a row after looking vulnerable during the Pride’s three-game losing streak.

Always humble, Ott credited the defense as key to the victory. "We just maintained composure really well today," she said, noting their ability to stay calm avoid "scrambling" on defense.

Knight’s league-leading eighth goal of the season was just enough to give the Pride another win. She was assisted by Kacey Bellamy and Jordan Smelker, who always seem to be in the right place at the right time. Tonight’s game was a must-win, especially ahead of an away game against the Connecticut Whale. With the victory, the Pride have set the tone for next week’s heavyweight battle.