By Jane Norton
The Boston Pride have finished what they started…in the regular season. On Sunday, they defeated the Riveters, 5-0, to complete the 2019-20 NWHL regular season with 23 wins and just one loss.
“This has been an awesome experience – definitely my favorite year of hockey,” said veteran Pride defender Lexi Bender. “I love this group. I love the energy we bring every day. I also love how the coaches have challenged us all year. They’ve told us when we’re not good enough – even if the scoreboard may be saying it is good enough. Props to everybody.”
Call the Pride’s win in New Jersey business-like. After a strong effort in a 3-0 victory over the Whale on Saturday, the Pride traveled to New Jersey – with a pit stop in a Madison Square Garden executive suite to watch the Rangers beat the Sharks – and promptly jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first period. Goals were scored by Jillian Dempsey, Mary Parker, Mary Parker (yep, she scored again!), and McKenna Brand.
A goal by Carlee Toews extended Boston’s lead to 5-0 in the second, and then all-star goalie Lovisa Selander and the Pride team defense shut the door.
“This is how you want to be playing, going into the playoffs,” said Boston head coach Paul Mara, clearly pleased with his team’s effort and execution over the weekend. “We are a strong offensive team, but if we play the defensive style we played the last two games, we’re going to be okay.”
Lovisa Selander had the shutout, making it back-to-back bagels for her, after not having a shutout until Saturday.
“She’s a phenomenal goaltender, and she continues to show it,” said Mara. “I look forward to watching Lovisa lead us in the playoffs.”
The Pride’s next game? The Isobel Cup Semifinal on Sunday, March 8 at 2:30 p.m. at Warrior Ice Arena. Tickets are available now, but going fast, at pride.nwhl.zone/tickets.
“Two weeks from today we’ll have our playoff game at home, and hopefully we’ll be firing on all cylinders,” said Mara.
In the Semifinal, the Pride will host the winner of the Isobel Cup play-in game between the league’s No. 4 and 5 seeds. That game is in Buffalo, with the Beauts hosting the Whale on Friday, March 6 at 8:15 p.m.
Bender says she is confident the Pride will be ready.
“We come into a game not expecting to win, but with a deep desire to win, and prepared to do the things necessary to win,” said Bender. “Our locker room is so special. Everyone loves coming to the rink. I’m not worried about our group.”
Photo Credit: Kate Frese