PHOTO CRED: Matthew Raney
Brittany Ott is going back to the NWHL All-Star Game, and deservedly so. The Boston Pride netminder is leading the league in wins (8), shutouts (3), Save % (.947), and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. She is the backbone of the defending Isobel Cup champions - which also boasts the strongest supporting cast in the league.
Last season she won the Goaltender of the Year award in the NWHL and is the only goaltender to have won the Isobel Cup as well as the CWHL’s Clarkson Cup. The 26-year-old from Michigan has won an amazing 21 of her first 25 games in the league and is one of the reasons why the Pride are the team to beat.
Following Boston’s win in Newark, which was a rare night off for Ott, we caught up with her for a little Q & A to find out why she became a goalie and a bunch of other topics.
Did you always want to be a goalie?
“When you start off you’re just learning how to play, learning to skate, learning the game. Then we would do rotations on our team when we were six or seven-years-old, ‘who wants to play net this game’, and it changed every game.
I just kept choosing to be the goalie because I started to, not trust my teammates — one was doing pirouettes in the crease, or be distracted. I was like, no. Let me put the pads on, I’ll take care of it, it’s my turn.”
Is this right? Did you make 72 saves during one game in college?
“I did. That was a heck of a game. We were at Conte Forum at Boston College and it was a quarterfinal Hockey East game. I feel like I’m always reminded of this because I played against Blake (Bolden) and Fieldsey (Emily Field) and now those girls are on my team. When I was first getting to know them they were like: you’re that goalie, that made 72 saves against us, we hated you sooo much.”
“I know, I love that! I’m so happy I’m hearing all of this (grinning). That makes me so happy, deep down. That was an awesome game, one of my favorite memories from college for sure. Despite the loss, which was absolutely heartbreaking; that was our last game of the year.”
Last year, you were pied in the face by a fellow member of the goaltending union, Brianne McLaughlin of the Buffalo Beauts. Surely you aren’t going to let that happen again; do you have anything planned for All-Star weekend that you can share with us?
“There’s going to be no more pies in my face this time around. I haven’t gotten too far into the creativity pool for the All-Star Game yet; as far as outfits or costumes or different moves. I haven’t even looked that far ahead in the schedule - really just because we have games coming up that I can’t write off.”
Do you even remember the last time you lost a hockey game?
“Ummm…..it was probably January, of last year I think. We had that three-game skid, that was a tough little stretch for us. But the girls have been absolutely awesome in front of us this year, in front of Lauren Slebodnick too — she played awesome tonight. There’s just so much camaraderie on this team I think that just makes us so successful. You feel it in the locker room, you feel it on the ice — we’re a unit and that makes a big difference in our game.”
“I don’t really worry (about not remembering what it feels like to lose), you remember what it feels like; it’s not something you forget. We fight so hard because we don’t want to feel that feeling again. You battle with everything you can, give 110% out there - every game, every play, every shift. You just bear down.”
This was the second time in a row that the Riveters played you very tight, last time you won in a shootout, tonight your team snapped a tie with 13.9 seconds left in regulation. Are they the toughest team you’ve played this season?
“Every time we play the Riveters it goes down to one goal or two goals and it’s always a grind against them, they’re a physical team. They do a good job of getting under your skin and they try to take us off our game that way, but I think the more the season goes on, the more resilient we’re becoming.”
“Mentally our game is getting more and more sound, sometimes we just have to hone in on it a little bit more. We always know coming into this place it’s going to be a battle, or when they come to us. We just have to have the same approach every game, against every team in our league. It’s the second half of the season here so we’re learning how each team plays, the personnel out there.”
You’ve gotten to experience some cool things as a result of your recent successes as a pro hockey player, what are somethings that first come to mind?
“I just like to embrace every day that I have playing this game, at this level; it’s absolutely amazing. My teammates and the friends that we have in the locker room, they make this experience as awesome as it is. Obviously, the Winter Classic last year was absolutely incredible, that was just…everyone of us was in awe; walking out and seeing Gillette Stadium. It was kind of mostly empty but that didn’t even really matter to us, we were playing an outdoor game and that was the most fun.”