In March of 2020, the NWHL’s Boston Pride and Minnesota Whitecaps were preparing to battle it out for the Isobel Cup. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that game never happened and the cup was left unawarded.
When the NWHL announced their return in 2021, they insisted after a season with no winner, there would finally be an Isobel Cup Champion this year. After their first bubble attempt in Lake Placid was suspended to protect the teams, it was unclear when or if they would be able to return to finish the games.
Almost two months after puck drop in Lake Placid, the NWHL was finally back in action. The top four teams, Toronto Six, Minnesota Whitecaps, Connecticut Whale and Boston Pride were prepared to head to Brighton, MA and play to secure their berth in the finals.
After two fantastic semi-final showings, it was the finalists from 2020 who won their way back to the Isobel Cup finals. The Boston Pride and Minnesota Whitecaps were ready to make up for the lost time.
On Saturday night, the moment the two teams had been waiting for was here. Amanda Leveille got the start in goal for Minnesota and Lovisa Selander was called on for Boston.
The Whitecaps got out to an early lead. Allie Thunstrom used her speed to get the puck to the net and beat Selander. While they headed into the intermission down 1-0, Boston didn’t let the score get to them
Mary Parker got Boston on the board just over two minutes into the second period. It didn’t stop there for the Pride as their Captain Jillian Dempsey added one with 4:55 to go in the period and Lexie Laing joined in with a power-play marker to close out the frame.
Thunstrom cut Boston’s lead back down to one with a goal for the Whitecaps midway through the third. Five minutes later, Taylor Wenczkowski scored what would eventually be the game-winner and extended the Pride’s lead back to a two-goal spread. Tereza Vanisova of the Boston Pride received a 5-minute penalty for checking from behind late in the game and Meaghan Pezon was able to make it 4-3. Minnesota ran out of time and their comeback came up unfinished. The final shots on goal were 30 for each team.
With a 4-3 win, the Boston Pride are the 2021 Isobel Cup Champions. This is the second championship win in Pride franchise history. Dempsey was named MVP in the win.
This NWHL season was a special one and will be remembered by many. The league continues to grow and reach more viewers with each game. Thank you for following along with Unbenched’s NWHL Bubble Diaries. Stay tuned for more NWHL content in the future.