Isobel Cup Semi Final 1 Preview – Boston Pride vs Connecticut Whale

NWHL Isobel Cup Semi Final 1 – Thursday March 16th
Boston Pride vs Connecticut Whale
Warrior Ice Arena 7:30pm EDT 11:30pm GMT
Watch: nwhl.zone, youtube.com

So, it finally happened. The Boston Pride finally lost a game. Sunday’s 3-2 defeat to the New York Riveters was the first time in over a year that the Pride had tasted defeat.

We’re almost in unchartered territory here, folks.

It’s going to be interesting to see how they respond to the defeat. They could be knocked stunned a bit. Or, it might rally them to go hunting again. Their first potential prey? A wounded Whale.

Narrowly losing to Buffalo on Sunday saw the Whale condemned to bottom of the league, and a date in Boston.

Pride 2016/17 Regular Season Record Whale
16-1-0 Overall 5-12-1
1st Position 4th
0.94 Points % 0.31
4.18 Goals For Per Game 3.33
1.71 Goals Against Per Game 4.17
6 Wins vs Opponent 0

The Whale can score, there’s no question about that. The problem is, they also concede more. They have only won once since mid-December, and that was not against the Pride. Boston have a mean defence, a lightning offence, two very good goalies, and a much better overall game.

Points Leaders
Pride Whale
Brianna Decker 14 Goals Kelli Stack 12
Alex Carpenter 20 Assists Nicole Kosta, Haley Skarupa 11
Brianna Decker 31 Points Haley Skarupa 22
Brianna Decker 104 Shots Haley Skarupa 78
Meghan Duggan 21.7 Shot % Meghan Huertas 25
Meghan Duggan 24 PIM Kelly Babstock 26
Netminders
Brittany Ott .922, 13GP Sv% Nicole Stock .858, 11GP
Lauren Slebodnick .942, 7GP Shenae Lundberg .855, 10GP
Brittany Ott 1.93 GAA Nicole Stock 4.07
Lauren Slebodnick 1.22 Shenae Lundberg 4.33
Special Teams
Powerplay
16.7 % 13.8
10 PPGF 9
Brianna Decker 4 PPG Leader Haley Skarupa 3
Penalty Kill
88.1 % 76.3
8 PPGA 18
7 SHGF 4
Alex Carpenter 3 SHG Leader Four Skaters 1

Better goaltenders, more point scorers, better special teams. The Pride are the better team this year. However, they have finally been beaten.

I hate to beat this drum, but there will be the mental element of this game. The Pride have got the worst team in the league to bounce back against, but will the element of doubt be there?

The expectation is that the Pride will breeze past the Whale and take their place in the final on Sunday. The reality? Not long to wait to find out.

Ones to watch

Boston Pride – Hilary Knight

Arguably the best player in the league, Knight has only played 10 games this year, but has amassed 15 points in that time. You want your best players to kick in when it matters, right? Well, it’s clutch time.

Connecticut Whale – Haley Skarupa

Team leader in points and assists, the Whale will need a big game out of Skarupa if they’re to stand any chance of making it to the final.

Gamebreaker

If the Pride get plenty of time on the powerplay, it will likely be enough to see the Whale, and their league-worst penalty kill, off and book a place in the final. While the Whale keep it at even strength, they stand a chance if their stars come to play.

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