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Whitecaps Suffering Burt Induced Goal Drought

Boston won 7-2 and Minnesota was swept for the first time since joining the NWHL. Julie Friend makes her official NWHL debut in goal as relief for Amanda Leveille.

Cat Lenander

Minnesota fans, and probably the team as well, were hoping for a bounce back win at TRIA Rink this afternoon. However, Gigi Marvin tossing the puck into goal past goaltender Amanda Leveille after coming down the right side at 2:27 did not bode well for that plan. McKenna Brand had the lone assist. The Whitecaps had a great chance when Sadie Lundquist’s drop pass to Amy Schlagel went straight into Katie Burt’s glove. There was a fair amount of rink racing as both teams tried to make chances and then Kendall Coyne Schofield went straight for the net with the puck and, if the lone Boston defender in front of Burt hadn’t repeatedly fallen on her knocking her out of position, she would have had a great chance on goal.

Brand took a cross-checking penalty at 9:55 and while the Whitecaps got some nice puck cycling going, it was yet another penalty they couldn’t convert on this weekend. Then the Pride were back on the attack whereupon Marvin carried the puck down the left side and made a lateral pass through the slot to Brand for the backdoor goal at 13:41. Denisa Krizova also assisted. Chelsey Brodt Rosenthal received a checking minor at 14:13 and while the Whitecaps managed to cause a mess in front of Burt, it was an uneventful penalty.

Amy Menke fed the puck to Lundquist for a solid shot that got denied. Then a Whitecap rang hit pipe hard enough the ‘plink’ was heard throughout the rink. The game was looking grimly similar to the day before as first period drew to a close when Thunstrom glided to goal and got into a puck battle with Burt, but suddenly the puck popped loose, Emma Stauber caught and banged it home into the open net at 19:14. Jonna Curtis had the second assist. Minnesota was trailing going into first intermission, but they were still definitely in the game.

32 seconds into the second Amanda Pelkey came down the left side and scored. Before play resumed Julie Friend replaced Leveille, making her official NWHL debut in goal. Maybe that sort of major was what the team needed because the Whitecaps started putting shots on goal. A long pass by Katie McGovern sent Kate Schipper flying down the right side and she beat Burt to score at 3:55. Considering Stauber passed to McGovern off Minnesota’s backboards to set up that play, she ought to have a second assist, but that isn’t listed on the box score.

There was vigor in Minnesota’s stride now and they caused a chaotic back and forth across the ice. Schofield caused a mess at the Pride’s crease and with Burt belly flopped on the ice, Curtis tried to poke the puck out from under her until play was whistled down. A Boston flurry left Friend sprawled across the crease with her stick outstretched to stop a backdoor attempt. Then McGovern shot just wide of goal off Allie Thunstrom’s rebound.

At 12:25 there was a paused in game play as an older man, possibly Boston’s head coach Bobby Jay, came out to the crease and talked with Burt for a minute as she readjusted her mask; he seemed to like he was checking to make certain she was okay after the last play (which considering the fact Burt had stopped a shot with her neck area the game before and was definitely hurt on the ice for a while was likely prudent). Play then resumed without comment.

Alyssa Gagliardi and Menke were in a race for the puck and as they reached Boston’s backboards Menke lightly tapped Gagliardi, who went down, which sent Menke to the box for hooking at 16:18. The Pride immediately scored on the power play when Gagliardi’s shot down the center bounced weirdly into goal at 16:32. Krizova and Brand assisted. Boston was then offered several chances in a row of a skater with the puck and a clear path to the net, which Friend had to then fend off. Overall Friend handled herself very well second period and she did everything she could to keep the Whitecaps in the game.

Julie Friend (1) making a save in her first NWHL game. As sad as it was to see Leveille get pulled, it was nice to see Friend in an official match since she’s only played exhibitions so far this season.
Cat Lenander

Unfortunately for Friend, early in the third Boston was buzzing and she blocked Marvin’s attempt on goal and the play also sent one on her defenders crashing on top of her in the crease. Friend was barely back on her skates before Mallory Souliotis shot through traffic into the back of the net at 4:59. Jordan Smelker took a hooking minor at 5:32 and it expired harmlessly two minutes later. Boston briefly trapped Minnesota in their own zone. Then in a later play Friend was down while the Pride were on the prowl and Krizova’s shot from the right side went over her to bounce around the back of the net at 11:16. Brand had the lone assist.

Seconds later Haley Skarupa had a breakaway down the center with Schlagel hot on her heels. Skarupa fell in the slot as she lofted the puck into goal at 11:59 and Schlagel went to the box for tripping. Jillian Dempysey assisted on the goal. The Whitecaps killed the penalty, but their rolling waves were stilled. Smelker’s penalty was their last reasonable chance to make a viable comeback and the only goal of the last six minutes was getting one more goal, never mind five, which did not happen. The Pride had successfully stalked their prey and took Minnesota down 7-2 to finish the sweep.