Pride best Beauts in first round of isobel cub playoffs

by Hannah Bevis

Despite heading into the playoffs with two OT wins against the Pride, the Beauts weren’t able to keep up with Boston in their first game of the Isobel Cup playoffs on Friday. Buffalo fell 6-0 to Boston, finishing their season with a 6-15-0 record. Carly Jackson made 30 saves for the Beauts in the loss. Pride goalie Katie Burt made 32 for the win.

“They are a fast team and they got behind us a few times, and that makes it tough,” Beauts head coach Rhea Coad said. “I think in the end, there was a few (defensive) breakdowns, but they are fast team.”

Both teams looked fairly even in the first period. Anjelica Diffendal had maybe the best chance of the period on a 2-on-1 shot that didn’t go, but neither team was able to build up much momentum. The Beauts had the edge going into the first intermission, killing off a Boston power play chance with five and a half minutes remaining in the first. 

“I think that our goal is to always try and win a period and we tied it, and that was something to build off momentum,” Coad said. “I was happy with that first period.”

The Pride came into the second period looking every inch like the defending Isobel Cup champs. Boston hemmed the Beauts into their own zone from the drop of the puck in the second, and that paid off with the game’s first goal. Taylor Wenczkowski got the Pride on the board first on a sharp-angle shot that found its way through Carly Jackson’s five-hole. About five minutes later, the Pride scored their first of three power play goals of the evening on an absolute laser from Kali Flanagan. The Beauts used their timeout to try to slow Boston’s momentum, but 32 seconds after Flanagan’s goal, captain Jillian Dempsey made it 3-0 Boston on a spinning play in the crease. That score stood for the remainder of the frame, sending the Beauts into the third down 3-0.

“We just tried to go into the third with the mindset of keeping it simple,” co-captain Marie-Jo Pelletier said. “It is hard going into third with that kind of deficit, and then them getting a couple more. So it was it was definitely a challenge.” 

The Pride kept rolling in the final period. They scored twice more on the power play, the first a shot from Christina Putigna at the 11:03 mark, and the second roughly a minute and a half later from Tereza Vanisova. 

“They moved themselves. They do it, but they don't do it too often, and when they really can get moving,” Coad said on the Pride’s power play success. “I think that was the biggest difference that helped them.”

Mary Parker scored the Pride’s sixth and final goal of the game with 2:23 remaining in the game.

Despite the loss, the Beauts know they had a special group this season, and will look to build on this year’s lessons in the season to come.

“We have such a special group in that locker room. Everyone showed up, ready to compete and it wasn't the outcome we were looking for this weekend, but I'm super proud of this group,” Pelletier said. “It's definitely going to be a season that I'm going to remember for a very long time and a group of girls that I'm never gonna forget.”