Boston with OT Thriller
By J.J. Pavlick
This matchup sees 1st place Boston Pride 4-0-0 12pts taking on 2nd place Toronto Six 3-1-0 8pts. Both teams are led by excellent coaches who have excelled in their playing and/or coaching careers. Boston, they're led by head coach Paul Mara (D) a former overall 7th pick in the NHL draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1997. He amassed 253 points in 734 NHL games across six clubs (Tampa Bay, Phoenix, Boston, New York Rangers, Montreal, and Anaheim). His best season came after the lockout where he amassed 47 points, leading all defensemen in the league. When he retired from the NHL, he went on to become an assistant coach for the US Women's Hockey team in 2018, later that year he was named the head coach of the Pride. He was one of only 2 coaches to win 30 games in the PHF and in November '22 he became the first to have 50 wins. Toronto, they're led by a legend herself Geraldine Heaney (D) who was a pioneer in the game of hockey for women. She was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2008 along with Angela James and Cammi Granato. In 2013 she was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame with Angela and Cammi they're the first women ever to be inducted into the sacred halls of hockey. In 2014 she was inducted into the Canada Sports Hall of Fame. The Ireland-born offensive defenseman never forgot her roots despite having lived the majority of her life in Canada. Her family made the move when she was one year old. As a player, she amassed 27 goals, 66 assists, 93 points, and 62 penalty minutes in 125 games for Canada's National Team. In World Championship play she amassed 8 goals, 28 assists, and 36 points in 35 games for Canada. She won the following awards: Women's Nationals MVP 1992, Women's Nationals Best Defender 1993, 1997,2001. (International Play) IIHF World Championship Best Defenseman 1992,1994. IIHF World Championship All-Star Team 1992. The game will feature two of the top goalies in the league with Boston's Corinne "Secretary of Defense" Schroeder who leads all goalies in every category this season coming into the game. Toronto is led in goal by Elaine "The Cat" Chuli from the UCONN (University of Connecticut) where she was, to put it mildly, a standout. Before UCONN, she was a member of the Canada U-18 women's hockey team in 2011 she led Team Ontario Red to a National Championship, and in 2012 she won gold at the IIHF Worlds. She also played basketball and ran track n field in high school where she was awarded the Governor General's Academic medal.
The first period of play saw two evenly matched teams feeling each other out and trying to find the smallest advantage to exploit but as predicted both goalies put in a stellar performance denying every opportunity. Schroeder saved all 11 shots while Chuli matched her saving all 10 shots faced. Both sides went 0/2 on the power play during the 1st. The sin bin invited Saroya Tinker of Toronto in at 2:13 into the game for slashing, at 6:21 into the period Olivia Zafuto went for tripping, at 12:25 into the period Kayla Friesen was elected to serve the too-many-men penalty for Toronto, and the last player to join the box was Taylor Woods at 17:13 into the period for tripping. The first period was a highlight reel for both netminders and showed why I focused on both for the article along with their head coaches.
The second period saw the first goal of the game by Kaleigh Fratkin who capitalized on a 5-on-3 PP with 22 seconds remaining to the 2-man advantage. She set up shop at the point and just teed off on a slap shot one-timed into the lower right corner of the net. Chuli was completely screened on the play and never really saw the shot till it was too late. It took a well-aimed shot to beat "The Cat" with some bodies in front of the goal. The goal was assisted by Mckenna Brand and Loren Gabel. The two players who found the sin bin for Toronto were Brooke Boquist at 7:44 in the 2nd period for tripping and Emma Woods at 8:22 in the period for hooking ???, there was contact on the play but didn't see a hook anywhere in sight. Both teams would play the remainder of the 2nd period the same as the first. many opportunities but the goalies just denied all access. The others who saw time in the sin bin were Saroya Tinker of Toronto at 9:17 in the period for cross-checking and Boston's Christina Putigna joined her for their exchange. Lindsay Eastwood went at 12:55 for body checking, then Boston sent the final two of the period Taylor Wenckowski at 17:35 for roughing and Sammy Davis at 18:37 for holding. Chuli saved 13 of 14 shots that period and 23 of 24 over the two periods, and Schroeder saved all 8 shots in the period and all 19 over the 2 periods. We saw some jaw-dropping saves by both netminders in the 2nd period.
The third period saw some offensive production by both teams as Toronto finally found some success on Schroder. Just 1:24 into the 3rd period Brooke Boquist finds the puck at the right circle and dashes across the slot on her forehand beating Schroder five-hole for the game-tying goal. The assist was credited to Lexi Templeman who created the turnover in Boston's defensive zone. It's one of the hardest moves for a keeper to stop because of the side-to-side movement they have to take to get across the crease. Boquist was up to the task of placing the perfectly timed wrister between the pads. The game was tied up 1-1 for just over 8 minutes before Becca Gilmore at 9:55 into the period took a well-placed drop pass from her teammate Taylor House at the right circle and beats Chuli's blocker side after she dropped into the butterfly due to Houses rush down the right side to goal. House at the last second goes forehand to backhand and gives a gem of a drop pass to the wide-open Gilmore who just unloads a ridiculous one-timer slap shot into the upper left corner over Chuli. Toronto would respond 4 minutes and 18 seconds later when Shiann Darkangelo takes a great feed into the slot and sends a mid-driven knuckler inside the left post of the goal beating Schroeder's blocker side. The pass by Emma Woods who was about to get played off the puck at the last second placed a dime on DarkAngelo's tape and she did the rest. Un but Magnifique, Taylor Davison was awarded the secondary assist that sent Emma into the Prides defensive zone along the right-side boards. To say this game was one for the ages is a total understatement and we're all tied up again at now 2-2 with just under 6 minutes remaining. While the period has seen 3 goals so far both goalies have made superb unhuman saves to keep their teams in the game. Today's game is for anyone wanting to be the player between the pipes regardless of gender go watch this game. It's an absolute clinic on how to play the position at a high level and read the flow of play.
The game would need overtime to find a winner, Boston got the puck deep into the Toronto zone and kept it there not allowing Toronto a chance to clear. Boston would cycle the puck a bit before McKenna Brand found some space and went down the slot near the left circle, and fired off a wrister just before the crease, going just over the pads glove side on Chuli. It was an amazing match between the top two teams in the league currently. Sammy Davis and Aneta Tejralova are given the assists on the goal. Someone, unfortunately, had to lose the game, but the keepers both deserved the win tonight. A solid game between the teams and tomorrow's game should be an exciting one to watch.