BOSTON, Jan. 17 – The Connecticut Whale might as well get used to this. They look to be seeing a lot more of the Boston Pride in the final weeks of the inaugural National Women’s Hockey League season.
Boston’s Jordan Smelker had a goal and two assists while Pride goalie Brittany Ott stopped 20 of 21 shots as Boston handed Connecticut its second loss of the season Sunday with a 4-1 decision. The Pride, who have won six of its last seven games, improved to 9-3-1 in the league and moved within three points of the Whale, now 11-2.
Three of Connecticut’s five remaining regular season games are against Boston and the two teams look as they may be the two teams fighting for the NWHL’s Isobel Cup in March. Boston is the only team to have defeated Connecticut this season. They beat the Whale, 2-1 in December.
Connecticut took a 1-0 lead in the first period on the first goal of the season by Tara Tomimoto with 13:40 left in the first period off an assist from Kelli Stack. Pride goalie Brittany Ott didn’t get a clear look at the shot until it was too late.
But that would be the only shot she didn’t see. Ott made 20 saves to earn league-leading eighth victory of the season.
For the ninth time in 13 games, the Whale were outshot and this time, the Pride made Connecticut pay with a pair of power play goals. Boston tied the game on a power play goal from Jordan Smelker with 2:21 left in the first period. They took a 2-1 lead in the second on a power play goal by Gigi Marvin.
Whale goalie Jamie Leonoff made 30 saves and lost for the first time this season in eight appearances.
Boston 4, Connecticut 1
Connecticut (11-2) 1 0 0 — 1
Boston (9-3-1) 1 2 1 — 4
Connecticut 1, Tara Tomimoto (Kelli Stack), 6:20; Boston 1, Jordan Smelker (Hilary Knight, Gigi Marvin) pp, 17:39; Penalities: Connecticut (Alyssa Wohlfeiler), interference, 7:04; Boston (Corrine Buie), check from behind, 11:09
Boston 2, Gigi Marvin (Smelker, Keacy Bellamy), 8:59 pp; Boston 3, Amanda Pelkey, 14:51: Penalties: Connecticut (Kaleigh Fratkin) check from behind, 0:00; Connecticut (Kelli Stack), cross checking), 3:07; Boston (Buie), tripping, 3:43; Connecticut (Jessica Koizumi), hooking, 10:43
Boston 4, Hilary Knight (Smelker, Bellamy), 1:53; Penalties: Boston (Amanda Pelkey), cross checking, 14:13; Boston (Brianna Decker), cross checking), 15:37
Shots: Connecticut 21 (9-3-9), Boston 34 (10-15-9)
Goalies: Jamie Leonoff (L, 7-1), Connecticut, 34 shots, 30 saves; Brittany Ott (W), Boston, 21 shots, 20 saves
W-L-T OL Pts,
Connecticut 11-2-0 0 22
Boston 9-3-1 1 19
New York 3-8-2 2 8
Buffalo 3-8-2 2 8
Sunday, Jan. 17
Boston 4, Connecticut 1
Buffalo 6, New York 5, shootout
Sunday, Jan. 24
All-Star Game at Buffalo, 2 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 31
New York at Buffalo, 3:30 p.m.
Boston at Connecticut (Stamford), 6 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 7
Buffalo at Connecticut (Danbury Arena), noon
Boston at New York, 7 p.m.