With the national news spotlight on them, the Boston Pride flourished on Thursday night at Warrior Ice Arena, defeating the Connecticut Whale 8-2 to advance to the Isobel Cup Championship.
The Boston Pride management and the NWHL itself stood firmly in support of its players who have chosen to boycott the IIHF Women’s World Championship if progress is not made regarding fair pay. Just two hours prior to puck drop, the NWHL announced that the Isobel Cup Final will be streamed live via ABC News. Warrior Ice Arena buzzed with members of the media, including ESPN’s Joe McDonald.
Ready for the @NWHL semifinal game between the Boston Pride and Connecticut Whale at Warrior Ice Arena. pic.twitter.com/6OvdrpdnID— Joe McDonald (@ESPNJoeyMac) March 16, 2017
The Pride thrived under the pressure, reminding USA Hockey exactly what they’d be missing out on with the best players in the country, arguably in the world, absent from the tournament.
The line of Hilary Knight, Alex Carpenter, and Brianna Decker combined for a total of 11 points on the night — Knight with two goals and an assist, Carpenter with two goals and two assists, and Decker with one goal and two assists. In total, members of the USWNT accounted for 16 points in the game. The Whale’s Kelli Stack notched a goal and an assist and their regular season points leader Haley Skarupa had an assist as well.
As usual, the Pride flexed their offensive muscles in the later two-thirds of the game, scoring three goals in each of the final frames. During the first period, the Whale put extended pressure on the Pride at times, but they could not sustain it long enough to keep them in the game. Boston have not lost to Connecticut since November 29, 2015, a streak which will continue into next fall.
With the victory, the Pride have now defeated every other team in the league in a playoff game. They will face the winners of tomorrow night’s all-New York matchup at Tsongas Arena in Lowell on Sunday. If you were waiting to buy your tickets until the Pride advanced, be sure to grab them now to show your support for women’s hockey.