Newark – – Earlier this evening the NWHL unveiled the Isobel Cup, and a few hours later they crowned their first champion as The Boston Pride beat the Buffalo Beauts 3-1, on the strength of a two-goal performance by Brianna Decker the series MVP. They swept Buffalo 2-0 in this first-ever, best of 3 series.
In the first period Boston dominated. The shots on goal were 12-2 in their favor at one point. In a New Jersey minute, Brianna Decker streaked down the ice and lifted the puck high into the twine, past Buffalo goalie Brianne McLaughlin to give her team the important 1-0 lead.
Knight got a short-handed chance 10 minutes into the third period into the period. She showed her speed and put a great wrist shot on net. McLaughlin made the first save but then Decker followed up that rebound with a slick shot into the back of the net. It was the second time she scored in the contest.
Buffalo fought back with what looked like a goal with 8:53 to go in the game but the referees ruled a high stick .
A few minutes later the Pride raced down the ice and Knight backhanded her first goal of the game into the twine. That was her second point of the game. Gigi Marvin got one of the helpers, her second of the game, and at that point fans were just waiting for the clock to wind down. It was 3-0.
Boston’s Kacey Bellamy got two for tripping just as Buffalo pulled their goalie and they scored a goal with under 25 seconds off the stick of Erin Zach. That made it a 3-1 game. Buffalo went 6-on-4.
Both teams played like it was an elimination game but Buffalo just lacked the quality chances that Boston seemed to get because of players like Decker and Hillary Knight.
Boston is a faster team. Their goaltender, Brittany Ott is solid between the pipes. She covers up quickly and doesn’t give up juicy rebounds. She refuses to get pushed around in the crease even though she’s only 5-3.
Yesterday there were more Beauts fans in the barn. Today Boston had the edge, something Knight was hoping for last evening. She talked about it and the fans responded. They also knew they’d have a chance to see the Cup hoisted.
I’ve been to Cup-clinching games in the NHL, NCAA, and AHL. Now I can add the NWHL.
Check out video of the postgame ceremony here: