Just the Facts
Where: Prudential Center Practice Facility, Newark, NJ
When: Friday 7:30 p.m., Saturday 7:30 p.m., Sunday 1:30 p.m. (if necessary)
Watch: NWHL Cross-Ice Pass
So, it comes to this — the Boston Pride against the Buffalo Beauts.
To judge the Beauts by their 5-9-4 regular season record is, as we should all know by now, foolish. Over the weekend, Buffalo took the Connecticut Whale down to the wire in three games and defeated them with a game-winning empty-net goal by defenseman Megan Bozek. She also gave the Beauts the 1-0 lead in the first period of Sunday’s game, which they never trailed in.
Kelley Steadman finished third in goals (13) and fifth in points (20) in the regular season standings and had a goal and an assist during Saturday’s 4-1 series-tying win over the Whale. In addition to Steadman, the Buffalo roster touts several formidable players, including Devon Skeats, who had nine goals on the season, and defensemen Emily Pfalzer and Meghan Duggan. Despite her save percentage being fourth in the league, Brianne McLaughlin was strong in net during the semifinals. She saved 37 of 38 shots on Saturday and played all 180 minutes of the series.
On the other hand, the Pride have beaten this team five times. The only defeat was the shocking overtime loss Buffalo dealt them at the beginning of January. In the regular season finale, the Pride edged the Beauts in a 3-2 win that could have gone either way. The Beauts do not quit and will fight any team tooth and nail for a chance to win. They forced six of 18 regular season games to overtime and four of those were decided in the shootout. Even though they only won two of those six games, the Beauts have a flair for the dramatic and aren’t afraid of anyone. With the momentum of knocking out the Whale carrying them, Buffalo will surely be bringing their best game for the weekend, and the Pride cannot underestimate them.
Will the Pride’s offensive firepower overwhelm the Beauts or, in the greatest story of the season, will Buffalo overthrow Boston?
Brianna Decker scored the NWHL's first-ever hat trick against the Beauts on October 25.