As has become normal here in Boston, once again a team has won a trophy. This time the Boston Pride hoisted the Isobel Cup for the second time, the only team to do so in league history.
The game started off with both teams buzzing. Boston had a few more opportunities but it was the Olympic level speed of Allie Thunstrom that was the cause of the first goal of the game. Thunstrom embarrassed a Pride defender route to burying the puck behind Lovisa Selander.
That score would hold until Mary Parker evened the score early in the second. Things slowed down for most of the second before the captain Jillian Dempsey absolutely sniped the top corner to give the Pride a lead they would never relinquish.
Jillian Dempsey goes TOP SHELF to give the Pride a 2-1 lead. pic.twitter.com/QsTSYwcLZq— Stanley Cup of Chowder (@cupofchowdah) March 28, 2021
A few minutes later the whistles came out in force which gave Boston a sustained 5 on 3 power play. The special teams really came together and Lexie Laing made it 3-1 late in the second and started to get the celebrations prepped.
Lexie Laing makes it 3-1 on a beautiful cross-crease pass from Christina Putigna! pic.twitter.com/Ye96mroGrv— Stanley Cup of Chowder (@cupofchowdah) March 28, 2021
Coming into the third the Whitecaps were not going to go away quietly. In a rather confusing sequence in which Boston nearly had a goal but the puck was controversially deemed to have been covered by a skater in the crease. Coach Paul Mara elected for a penalty shot rather than the two minute minor. Tori Sullivan was unable to slip it in and on the ensuing face-off Allie Thunstrom took the puck and put one past Selander. With the lead down to a single goal both teams were flying. Dempsey blocked a shot as a Minnesota power play expired and drew a penalty that would lead to another special teams moment as the Pride netted the eventual game winner. While we now know the game was in hand things got interesting when Teresa Vanisova delivered a rather hard hit on her former Maine teammate Audra Richards who hit the boards hard but is in good condition now, she even took her next shift. With the extra skater plus the goalie pulled for around two and a half minutes things got wild. Boston put multiple shots just wide of the empty net and a scramble in front of Selander led to a Minnesota goal with 19.4 seconds to return the game to a one goal differential. While the goal and or the clock was reviewed fro an extended period, the goal stood but Minnesota just didn’t have enough time to equalize.
2021 Isobel Champions pic.twitter.com/GQ2M3ufxdV— Boston Pride (@TheBostonPride) March 28, 2021
The Pride seemed to be a different team than they were in Lake Placid. As Coach Mara put it this is arguably a better team than they were the previous season so the sky high expectations were reasonable. Although most of the games up in New York were tight there seemed to be a bit of a chemistry issue. The extra time seemed to be what the doctor ordered as the whole weekend so every line performing better.
All but one goal was scored by either a Beanpot school or a Hockey east school. In fact only two points, both by St. Cloud’s Meaghan Pezon, were not scored by a Harvard or Hockey East alumni.
Turnin’ up the heat like it’s Bali— Boston Pride (@TheBostonPride) March 28, 2021
: @Twencz_12 pic.twitter.com/sgEfGSVCPc
The win made Boston the only team to win a second Isobel Cup, this time without the handles. Now Boston will look to be the first team to defend their title next year.
FOLKS @TheBostonPride ARE YOUR 2021 CHAMPIONS. pic.twitter.com/0Qkh42x1pn— Stanley Cup of Chowder (@cupofchowdah) March 28, 2021
Kaleigh Fratkin has been a member of the NWHL since the inception. Previously she played for the Boston Blades in the CWHL and Boston University in college. She played first for Connecticut and then moved to the Riveters before finally returning to Boston in the ’17-’18 season. Fratkin has publicly said she does not plan to go anywhere and winning this year gives her something that has long eluded her, Isobel. After being handed the trophy Dempsey almost immediately brought it over to Fratkin so she could celebrate. In the press conference it was said they had been plotting about how Kaleigh would be the first player to hoist it after it was awarded.
Captain Jillian Dempsey hands the Isobel Cup to Kaleigh Fratkin first. pic.twitter.com/DxjDfHBBXp— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) March 28, 2021