NORTH BRANFORD, Jan. 27 – For two periods, the Boston Pride looked unbeatable on Friday night. The defending National Women’s Hockey League champions were quicker to the puck and passed the puck with an impressive crispness.
Twice, the undefeated Pride built a seven-goal lead before Connecticut made the score respectable with four third period goals in an 8-4 loss at the Northford Ice Pavilion.
Boston (11-0) tied their own league record with eight goals in a single game, matching the mark they set in a 7-1 win over New York in October, 2015. Meghan Duggan had three goals and an assist to lead the Pride while Brianna Decker had two goals.
Connecticut, which lost for the fourth straight time, got three goals from rookie Haley Skarupa – all in the third period. It was Skarupa’s second hat trick of the season. She had three goals in the season-opening win over Buffalo in October.
The eight goals allowed was a new franchise record for Connecticut (4-8) and losing by four goals tied the single-game record for most lopsided defeat. Boston beat the Whale by four goals, 4-0, on Sunday, January 15 and New York blanked Connecticut, 4-0 in November.
Boston took a 1-0 lead with 11:49 remaining in the first period when Duggan took a nice cross ice pass from Alex Carpenter and quickly drove to the net. Connecticut goalie Nicole Stock came out but Duggan got behind her and stuffed the puck into the net.
The Pride made it 2-0 with 49 seconds left in the period when Marvin’s shot hit the left post and deflected into the net.
Boston added four more goals in the second period to take a 6-0 lead. Dempsey scored on a rebound to make it 4-0 with 13:14 remaining. With 5:08 left, Decker was wide open in front of the net and scored, taking a feed from Hilary Knight from behind the net. Less than a minute later, Marvin took the puck to the net and collided with Stock but got the puck over the line.
The Pride took a 7-0 lead on an embarrassing short-handed goal with 16:10 left in the third period. Connecticut was a power play but a behind the back pass from Nicole Costa went right to a Marvin, who evaded Costa and passed it to a streaking Duggan to start a 3-on-1 Boston rush. Two Whale defenders glided back in pursuit as Duggan drove hard to the net and scored for Boston.
Thanks to Skarupa, the Whale played better in the final 16 minutes with four goals.
Connecticut scored its first goal when Skarupa took a nice pass from rookie Dana Trivigno and blasted a shot high into the net past Boston goalie Britanny Ott with 12:59 left in the game. Duggan completed her hat trick, scoring 59 seconds later for an 8-1 Boston lead.
Skarupa scored a power play goal with 9:06 remaining from the top of the slot, getting a puck through several Boston defenders to cut the lead to 8-2. The Pride didn’t show the same zeal to get to the puck as they did in the first two periods.
Connecticut got a shorthanded goal with 5:40 left in the game when Skarupa took a nice pass from Cydney Roesler to make the score, 8-3.
Kelli Stack added a goal with 2:26 remaining the game, driving hard to the net and taking a pass from Sam Faber and beating Ott to the glove side. Skarupa had an assist on the play.
The Whale return to the ice on Sunday when they host New York at 3 p.m. at the Northford Ice Pavilion. The Pride are off until next Saturday when they host Connecticut in Boston.
Connecticut has dropped nine straight to Boston, including four losses this season. Four straight losses is a new Connecticut team record.
Boston 8, Connecticut 4
At North Branford
Boston (11-0) 2-4-2 – 8
Connecticut (4-8) 0-0-4 – 4
Boston 1, Meghan Duggan (Alex Carpenter), 8:13; Boston 2, Alex Carpenter (Gigi Marvin), 19:11; Penalties – Micaela Long (CT) hooking, 0:57; Brianna Decker (B) high sticking, 10:51
Boston 3, Meghan Duggan (Alexandra Bender), 0:19; Boston 4, Jillian Dempsey (Meghan Duggan), 6: 46; Boston 5, Brianna Decker (Jordan Smelker, Hilary Knight), 14:52; Boston 6, Gigi Martin (Jillian Dempsey), 15:53; Penalties – Dana Trivigno (CT), checking, 1:00; Shannon Doyle (checking from behind), 2:24; Blake Bolden (B) tripping, 7:41
Boston 7, Brianna Decker (Gigi Marvin), 3:50 (sh); Connecticut 1, Haley Skarupa (Dana Trivigno, Micaela Long), 7:01; Boston 8, Meghan Duggan (Emily Field), 8:00; Connecticut 2, Haley Skarupa (Cydney Roesler), 10:54 (pp); Connecticut 3, Haley Skarupa (Nicole Connery), 14:20 (sh); Connecticut 4, Kelli Stack (Sam Faber, Haley Skarupa), 17:34; Penalties – Emily Field (B) hooking, 2:39; Zoe Hickel (B) tripping, 8:51; Rachel Llanes (B) cross checking, 9:45; Meagan Mangene (CT) tripping, 12:21
Shots: Connecticut 34 (9-10-15), Boston 34 (13-13-8)
Goalies: Boston, Brittany Ott (W, 8-0), 34 shots, 30 saves; Connecticut, Nicole Stock (L, 3-5),34 shots, 26 saves
As of Friday, January 27
Boston 8, Connecticut 4
Buffalo 3, New York 2
New York at Connecticut, 3 p.m.
Saturday, February 4
Buffalo at New York, 4:30 p.m.
Connecticut at Boston