NWHL Bubble Diaries: Day 7

After an exciting night of hockey on Saturday and record-breaking number of fans tuning into the games, the NWHL was back for day seven of the Isobel Cup bubble. In the first game of the night, we saw Buffalo take on Boston in the best of three series to determine who would be granted a semi-final berth. In the 7:30pm game, we saw the Toronto Six, who were on a 3 game winning streak, take on the Connecticut Whales who, prior to the game, were seeded second, one spot ahead of Toronto. Day seven of the Lake Placid bubble was bound to be an exciting night of hockey. 

Boston Pride 6 – Buffalo Beauts 0

After losing the first game of the best-of-three series, Boston was needing a win in order for their season to continue. Since the first game between the Beauts and the Pride was a close game, Buffalo emerging victorious after a 2-1 victory on Saturday, Sunday’s game was bound to be exciting.

The Beauts started goalie Carly Jackson, who was coming off her first ever NWHL win, in the game against Boston’s Lovisa Selander. The two goalies blocked all shots that came their way in the first period with both teams experiencing their own scoring opportunities. The first period ended dead-locked at zero. Boston had been struggling putting pucks in the net despite their strong offensive play and were hoping that the second period would change their luck. 

With the second period underway, Boston came out flying, putting one past Jackson just 42 seconds into the period with a goal from Mallory Souliotis. Buffalo came back and went on the attack causing the two teams to go back and forth until Pride forward, McKenna Brand, slipped one past Jackson from a feed from Putigna and Dempsey. Boston had finally found their offensive stride and broke their scoring slump. Now that the floodgates had opened, the Pride players were not stopping. With just seconds left, Boston’s Sammy Davis scored her second goal of the season giving Boston a 3-0 lead heading into the third. 

As the third period was starting, Boston was holding one of the most dangerous leads a team could have in hockey, 3-0. With Boston’s season possibly ending at the end of the period if they gave up their 3-0 lead, the Pride were not backing down. 2 minutes into the game, Souliotis, plotted her second goal of the game causing the Beauts to pull their starting goalie, Jackson. Caty Flagg, who replaced Jackson, was tested early when Buffalo forward, Taylor Wasylk, was sent to the penalty box and Boston went on the powerplay. Lauren Kelly was able to put one past Flagg on the powerplay with Jillian Dempsey getting the assist extending Boston’s lead to 5. Boston was not done there, just seconds later, Meghara McManus extended the lead to 6 at the 6:19 mark. The rest of the period, the two teams went back and forth but Buffalo was unable to put one past Selander to get on the board. The Boston Pride, who had lost the first game of the best-of-three series and were on the verge of elimination, had won game two and forcing a game three with a commanding 6-0 victory. 

Buffalo and Boston will be back at again for the third game in their best-of-three series to see who will earn a spot in the Isobel Cup playoffs as the 4th place seat at 8:30pm. 

Toronto Six 6 – Connecticut Whales 0 

Less than 24 hours after Toronto’s victory against Minnesota, the Six was back in action against the second seeded Connecticut Whales. Toronto went into Sunday night’s game after playing the night before while the Whale were playing their first game in three days making the 7:30pm game an exciting matchup. Would the two games in two days negatively affect the Six or would the momentum of the previous night’s win push them to victory? Well, let’s see…

The Whale had Abbie Ives in net who had victories in the past two games and the Six’s Elaine Chuli was making her sixth straight start on Sunday night. Like the first game of the night, the two goalies stopped all of the shots that came their way causing the first period to be a back and forth game for the second and third seeded teams. 

The second period started very much like the first; deadlocked at 0s and a back and forth game. Toronto was finally able to break the tie at the 11:56 mark of the second when Sarah-Eve Coutu Godbout put one past Ives for her second goal of the bubble season. Shortly after Toronto scored their first goal of the game, Connecticut’s Laurel Hill found herself in the penalty box which put Toronto on the powerplay. Taylor Woods was able to score on the powerplay extending the Six’s lead to 2. The rest of the second was relatively uneventful with the two teams going back and forth.

Despite Connecticut outshooting the Six, Elaine Chuli played the game of her life stopping all 11 shots that came her way in the third giving her first shutout of the season and the Toronto Six’s first franchise shutout. Mackenzie MacNeil x2, Taytum Clairmont, and Mikayla Grant-Mentis all scored in the third giving Toronto a commanding 6-0 victory over the Whales. With the victory, Toronto clinched the first seed in the Isobel Cup playoffs. Toronto has the day off on Monday with Connecticut taking on Minnesota on day 8 of the bubble.

Sunday night’s games were both high scoring affairs with Toronto and Boston putting up 6 goals each in their respective games setting up Monday night’s games to be thrillers. Monday night’s action has Connecticut taking on Minnesota and Buffalo and Boston facing off at 8:30pm. All NWHL games are streamed live on Twitch for free so you never have to miss out on the action. Be sure to come back to Unbenched everyday for a roundup of the previous night’s action.

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