With their 4–2 defeat of Connecticut, Pride become the first PHF team to win back-to-back titles.
For the second time in consecutive seasons, the Boston Pride are heading home with the Isobel Cup. In what was a wild back-and-forth game, the Pride and Whale traded chances and goals that kept the Tampa crowd buzzing. Ultimately, Boston’s ability to face adversity and rally with heart and soul led to a 4–2 victory Monday night. Let’s check out what went down and how it all came to be.
The first period felt a little nervy to start, and both teams were charged with an icing within the first two minutes. That all ended when Jillian Dempsey wove through a couple of Whale defenders and shoved a backhanded puck past Abbie Ives. Post-game yesterday Pride coach Paul Mora told us “I like our first line better” when referring to Connecticut’s high-powered offense, and that first line showed up fast.
For the remainder of the first, most chances went Connecticut’s way with the exception of a goal line scrum where Pride players thought the puck had crossed the line. Pride coach Paul Mara explained “It happened a couple of times; we just wanted to know who exactly was covering the puck and where it was”. With just over three minutes left in the period, Amanda Conway cruised into the zone 1-on-2 and slid a low shot past previously perfect Pride goalie Katie Burt.
Our middle frame kicked off quickly, unlike the first. Taylor Girard finished off a Kennedy Marchment pass across the crease to give Connecticut their first lead of the night. The Whale had a chance to double their lead when Jillian Dempsey took a 5-minute cross-checking penalty, but Boston goalie Katie Burt looked like her usual self, stopping multiple chances. Postgame, coach Mara expressed how important this kill was for their later success, saying “We dug deep on that one and the leaders on our team kept us in it even-keel.” The Pride’s biggest opportunity came off a rush from Tereza Vanišová which started as a 3-on-1 and quickly became a breakaway. Connecticut’s Abbie Ives jammed her right skate to the post to keep the Whale’s lead intact.
The two teams traded chances to start the third period, but Boston would eventually tie the game with a goal from Evelina Raselli. Before the PA announcer could say who scored, the puck was in the back of Connecticut’s net again. Just 18 seconds after tying the game, the Pride took the lead with another rebound goal, this time off the stick of Taylor Wenczkowski who scored her third of the tournament. This quick change in momentum caught Connecticut off guard, who had been leading for most of the game to this point. In the building, you could feel how deflated the Whale seemed, and their only big chance in the remainder of this game came when Kennedy Marchment hit the crossbar with six minutes left. Boston tacked on an empty net goal and became the first team to win back-to-back Isobel Cup Championships.
After the final buzzer, Whale coach Colton Orr couldn’t be more complimentary of his team’s game. “We played a good game today, gave ourselves an opportunity but we accomplished a lot this season.” Orr emphasized his team’s turnaround from just a few years ago when they finished last in the league. Connecticut had their chances, and with a few bounces going their way, things could’ve gone differently. Forward Kennedy Marchment said “I don’t blame anyone on the Whale for goals against tonight, we fought hard and were a few posts away from a different game.” Ultimately, it wasn’t the Whale’s night but they did have an incredible season.
The Boston Pride are now the first team to repeat as Isobel Cup champions after winning last season’s tournament along with this win. It’s an incredible feat that speaks to the durability of Boston’s roster and their commitment to long-term success. Although they finished third in the PHF standings, the Pride found a way to win three games in four days and take home the Isobel Cup. Lost in the shuffle, Boston’s defense alongside Katie Burt only allowed three goals to both Connecticut and Toronto, proving that defense really does win championships. They’ll surely be back for more next year to go for a third straight trophy.