By Jane Norton
For the first time all season, the Boston Pride didn’t score the game’s first goal. But that didn’t stop them from proving they enter December as the team to beat for the Isobel Cup as they improved to 10-0 after a 5-2 victory over the Riveters on Saturday at Warrior Ice Arena.
As usual, it was a balanced attack for the Pride. Emily Fluke and captain Jillian Dempsey each had a goal and two assists to lead the Pride in scoring. It’s come to the point where it may be fair to claim that Boston doesn’t have one No. 1 line, but simply three superb ones.
“Well, the coaches pretty much run the lines 1-2-3, 1-2-3, and everyone plays about the same amount of time,” said Fluke. “We pride ourselves on being a complete team.”
“We definitely get a lot of production and effort from every line,” said Boston assistant coach Heath Gordon. “If it’s not Demps’ line clicking, it’s Fluke with Mary Parker and Wohlfy (Alyssa Wohlfeiler). Then the rookie line (Tori Sullivan, Lexie Laing, Carlee Toews) has been really solid since the start of the season. As a coaching staff, it certainly makes life easier. Same thing for our D. Everyone plays. Everyone pitches in.”
Kate Leary of the Riveters opened the scoring at 10:22 of the first period on a gorgeous solo effort. However, the visitors’ lead did not last long, as Wohlfeiler scored three minutes later (with an assist from Parker), and Parker tallied with just over a minute left in the frame (with an assist from Wohlfeiler). In an evenly-played opening period, Boston out-shot the Rivs, 13-8.
At 9:52 of the second period, Leary scored her second goal of the game to tie it up, but the Pride took over from there. A goal by Fluke gave Boston a 3-2 lead after two periods.
“It was good to face adversity against the Riveters,” said Fluke. “Give them a lot of credit. They gave us trouble. They’re tough to play against. It was good that we were able to stick with it, get pucks in deep, work hard, and grind out a win.”
Third period goals by Dempsey and McKenna Brand closed out the game for the Pride.
As they did when these two teams met in the season opener in New Jersey, the Riveters battled the Pride mightily again on Saturday. And you could not blame the Riveters for having some rust after a month without NWHL regular season action. To their credit, they played the league’s most dominant team and put up a fight. Sam Walther made 38 saves for Metropolitan.
“They’re a big team and they play heavy,” Gordon said of the Riveters. “They’re also very solid from a systems standpoint. This was a gut-check game for us, and I thought our players responded.”
These two teams meet again next Saturday at 7:00 p.m. EST when the Riveters host the Pride at ProSkate in New Jersey. Fluke said, despite the Pride being 10-0 on the season, there’s a lot to learn from tonight.
“We know that every team, like the Riveters, is going to get better and better as the season goes on and we head into the playoffs,” said Fluke. “We have to continue to strive to play a full 60 minutes – not just have bursts of domination.”
The Riveters are in Connecticut tomorrow at 4:10 p.m. EST to face the Whale at Danbury Arena. Tickets are available now at NWHL.zone/tickets.
Photo Credit: Michelle Jay