Just a week after the Boston Pride downed the undefeated Connecticut Whale with only 12 skaters, they were defeated 4-3 in OT by the Buffalo Beauts.
In just their second win of the season, the Beauts did what they do best: keep scoring goals and force the game to go to overtime. They've forced Connecticut to a shootout twice while the Whale were still undefeated. As it turned out, the third time was the charm and this time Buffalo emerged victorious.
The Beauts' Hailey Browne scored first, skating through the defense to tally a shorthanded goal. In three of the four games the Pride have lost, they've allowed their opponent to score first.
First goal of the game scored by @Hbrowne24 of the @Buffalobeauts pic.twitter.com/L4WOPWX9vv— NWHL Gifs (@nwhlgifs) January 3, 2016
It seemed like the Boston offense would pick up the slack, as Jordan Smelker and Hilary Knight scored in quick succession to give them the 2-1 lead. Assisted by Casey Pickett and Jillian Dempsey, Smelker tossed this one on net and it snuck through Amanda Makela's pads.
.@TheBostonPride's first goal was scored by Jordan Smelker, BOS leads 2-1 over the Beauts. pic.twitter.com/B41J0YsFOu— NWHL Gifs (@nwhlgifs) January 3, 2016
Forty seconds later, Marissa Gedman shot from just inside the blue line and Knight tipped it in.
Second goal for @TheBostonPride scored by Hilary Knight. pic.twitter.com/plJyuE0jJl— NWHL Gifs (@nwhlgifs) January 3, 2016
Boston was able to hold the lead for nearly the entire second period, until Browne struck again with six minutes remaining. She took advantage of defensive mistakes and batted it in to make it 2-2.
The @BuffaloBeauts have tied it up with another goal from @Hbrowne24. pic.twitter.com/6QHK9ZlPPR— NWHL Gifs (@nwhlgifs) January 3, 2016
At this point, it was clear the Beauts were not going to give up this game without a fight.
The Pride took the lead again five minutes into the final frame on a Brianna Decker goal, but Devon Skeats tallied her team-leading 8th goal of the season to make it level again. As always, the Pride had a flurry of activity in front of Buffalo's net, racking up 42 shots on goal, but their defense protected Makela and prevented the Pride from establishing a big lead. As the clock wound down in the third period, the Pride's Amanda Pelkey was called for cross-checking, which gave the Beauts the man advantage for the final five seconds of regulation.
The penalty carried over into overtime, and was just enough to give the Beauts the edge to win. With only three Pride skaters on the ice, Megan Bozek fired a slapshot on target for the game-winner.
Prior to this game, Browne had only scored two goals on the season, a number she doubled in this game alone.
"It wasn't sitting well - the last game we played them they beat us by one goal, so we just had a little bit more hunger," Browne said after the game. "A new year, clean slate. We're undefeated in 2016," she added with a laugh.
"We're not a team to take lightly," Browne said. "Our record is pretty bad, but we're a team to be reckoned with and we're ready to play."
Decker echoed this, referring to them as "unpredictable," and speaking on their work ethic. "They worked their butts off, and that stems from their leadership." She believed the Pride played well despite the loss and simply must improve their communication on defense.
The Pride will be home for the next two weeks, hosting the New York Riveters on the 10th before having a rematch with the Whale on the 17th. Their matchup with the Whale will be their last game before the All Star Game on the 24th in Buffalo.