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Connecticut gets back on winning track by beating Boston

Shannon Turner and the Connecticut Whale celebrate after beating Boston Sunday, 6-4, at the International Skating Center of Connecticut, snapping a two-game losing streak.

SIMSBURY, Dec. 18, 2022 – The Connecticut Whale had lost two straight games, including a three-goal loss to Metropolitan Riveters on Saturday, giving up three goals in less than a minute and a half.

No more of that.

Rookie Caitrin Lonergan got moved up to the first line with league MVP Kennedy Marchment and Taylor Girard and scored a pair of goals to help the Whale beat the Boston Pride, 6-4, Sunday at the International Skating Center of Connecticut.

Marchment and Katerina Mrazova each had a goal and two assists while goalie Meeri Raisanen made 26 saves to earn her first Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) win of the season.

“We’ve had to deal with some adversity, had to deal with some cancelled games, gave up some leads so this was a big game (for us),” Connecticut coach Colton Orr said. “We found ways to respond. It was a good character win. I think the players feel good after dropping one (Saturday).”

The Whale (3-3-1) took a 2-0 lead and saw Boston tie the game with a pair of goals. Connecticut extended the lead to 3-2 only to see Boston (7-2) tie the game for a second time.

But the Whale were able to close it out and earn the win. The Pride cut the lead to one goal on a goal from Olivia Zafuto with 4:28 left in regulation but Raisanen stood tall in net and the Connecticut defense didn’t provide Boston with many opportunities either.

“We played a complete (game), 60-minutes,” Lonergan said. “It’s something we’ve talked about the last few games but struggled. We got great goaltending from Meeri but it was just playing together for 60 minutes.”

Connecticut’s Janine Weber (24) carries the puck down the ice during Sunday’s 6-4 PHF win over Boston.

Lonergan, the rookie from Clarkson, scored her first PHF goal off an assist from Marchment and Shannon Turner with 2:40 gone in the game. Five minutes later, she scored on a breakaway for her second goal of the second and a 2-0 lead for the Whale.

“I was just excited to help and contribute,” Lonergan said. “I was just waiting to get that monkey off my back I was excited to help the team.

Boston goalie Corrine Schroeder kept her team in the game stopping a breakaway attempt from Marchment about two minutes later.

Boston got on the board with a goal from Olivia Zafuto with 8:32 remaining in the first period and tied the game on a power play goal from Loren Gabel with 1:10 seconds remaining.

But Connecticut quickly regained the lead when Katerina Mrazova redirected a crossing pass from Malloury Souliotis into the net with 42 seconds left in the first period.

Boston tied the game at 3-3 on Gabel’s second goal of the game but less than a minute later, it was Newtown’s Melissa Samoskevich with her first goal of the season to give the Whale a 4-3 lead.

Connecticut extended their lead to 5-3 on a power-play goal from Alyssa Wohlfeiler with 5:33 left in the second period.

The Whale put a season-high 53 shots on net compared to just 30 for the visiting Pride.

The two teams are off for the next two weeks for the Christmas holiday. The Whale resume their PHF schedule on Friday, Jan. 6, when they host Boston at 7 p.m. at the ISCC.

Connecticut 6, Boston 4
At Simsbury

Boston (7-2)                     2  1  1  — 4
Connecticut (3-3-1)        3  2  1  — 6
First period
Connecticut 1, Caitrin Lonergan (Kennedy Marchment, Shannon Turner), 2:40; Connecticut 2, Lonergan (Taylor Girard), 7:49; Boston 1, Olivia Zafuto, 11:28; Boston 2, Loren Gabel, 18:50 (pp), Connecticut 3, Katerina Mrazova (Malloury Souliotis). 19:17; Penalties: Kaleigh Fratkin (B), cross checking, 4:54; Shannon Turner (CT), hooking, 16:44, Kennedy Marchment (CT), roughing, 17:41; Fratkin (B), interference, 18:51
Second period
Boston 3, Loren Gabel (Allie Thunstrom), 13:37; Connecticut 4, Melissa Samoskevich (Alyssa Wohlfeiler, Katerina Mrazova), 14:27; Connecticut 5, Alyssa Wohlfeiler (Kennedy Marchment), 19:41; Penalties: Emma Keenan (CT), interference, 2:52; Olivia Zafuto (B), hooking, 7:09; served by Meghara McManus, unsportsmanlike (Boston bench), 14:47; McKenna Brand (B) roughing, 15:36
Third period
Boston 4, Olivia Zafuto (Becca Gilmore), 15:32, Connecticut 6, Kennedy Marchment (Mrazova, Turner), 19:04 (empty net); Penalties: none
Saves: Connecticut — Merri Raisanen, 26 saves (W 1-2); Boston — Corrine Schroeder 47 saves (L)
Shots: Connecticut 53 (18-21-14), Boston 30 (9-11-10); Power plays – Connecticut 0-5, Boston 1-3

Premier Hockey Federation standings
As of Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022

Toronto 7-1-2 22 6 1 1
Boston 7-2 19 5 2 0
Minnesota 4-4-2 14 4 0 0
Metropolitan 4-6 11 3 0 1
Connecticut 3-3-1 10 3 0 0
Montreal 4-4 10 2 0 2
Buffalo 1-4-1 4 1 0 0
Teams earn three points for a win in regulation and two points for wins in OT or in a shootout. Teams earn one point for a loss in OT or in a shootout
Friday, Dec. 16
Toronto 2, Buffalo 1
Saturday, Dec. 17
Metropolitan 5, Connecticut 2
Minnesota 5, Montreal 2
Toronto 6, Buffalo 4
Sunday, Dec. 18
Connecticut 6, Boston 4
Montreal 4, Minnesota 1
Friday, January 6
Boston at Connecticut (Simsbury), 7 p.m.
Saturday, January 7
Toronto at Montreal
Minnesota at Buffalo
Boston at Metropolitan
Sunday, January 8
Connecticut at Metropolitan, 1 p.m.
Minnesota at Buffalo
Toronto at Montreal

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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