PHOTO BY MICHELLE JAY
The Boston Pride have scored 14 goals in their last six periods of hockey. After an 8-1 win over the Metropolitan Riveters on Presidents’ Day, they continued the offensive onslaught with a 6-1 victory over Connecticut on Sunday. Both of those were road games.
Now, with home-ice advantage for the first round of the Isobel Cup playoffs on the line, the Pride return to Warrior Ice Arena for arguably the biggest game of the season, hosting the Minnesota Whitecaps at 7:30 pm on Saturday. The Pride, Whitecaps and Buffalo Beauts are all vying for the league’s top two spots and the right to host a semifinal, with it all coming down to this weekend. Tickets are available at NWHL.zone/tickets.
Entering the final weekend of the regular season, the Pride certainly seem to be heating up at the right time and have been getting production from all throughout their lineup.
“We have a really strong team,” said defender Kaleigh Fratkin. “Everything is starting to click right now. At the beginning of the season, one game one line would be producing and another game another line would be producing. Now it seems like everyone is producing, and it’s the best time for that to be happening. Everyone’s been really positive in the locker room.”
And it’s not just the forward lines that have been getting on the scoresheet. Fratkin herself had four assists in the win over the Riveters and has been a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the puck.
“It’s easy to get in your head and play safe,” said Fratkin. “As the season’s gone on, I’ve been trying not to think too much and just go out and play and have fun.”
Fratkin and the rest of the Pride’s defensive unit have been making a noticeable impact of late, with defenders combining for 10 points in the past three games, while helping the team allow just three goals over that same span.
PHOTO BY TROY PARLA
PHOTO BY MICHELLE JAY
“As a whole, our group is particularly offensive-minded,” said Fratkin. “To see everyone get involved on the offensive end and have that confidence is great because you’re not relying on one or two players to score goals. Everyone can put the puck in the net.”
But Fratkin and the Pride will face arguably one of their biggest challenges of the season on Saturday when the Whitecaps come to town for a game that holds major playoff implications. Boston took both meetings in Minnesota decisively, handing the Whitecaps’ their first losses of the season, 5-1 and 7-2. The Pride looked to be heading down the same road the first time Minnesota made the trip to Beantown, taking a 5-2 lead in the first period, but the Whitecaps mounted a rally, falling just short for a 5-4 final.
“It’s going to just be sticking to what we’ve been doing,” Fratkin said, on what the Pride needs to do to be successful this weekend. “We definitely have talent, and it’s going to come down to that work ethic and speed and puck movement. If we have that, I think we’ll only get positive results.”
And Boston will have the advantage in playing in the friendly confines of Warrior Ice Arena, which has been sold out for the Pride’s past two home games since partnering with the Boston Bruins in January.
“Our team is excited to play in front of our crowd and to get that energy going,” said Fratkin. “It was pretty electric in there last time we played Minnesota, so I hope it’s just as wild and crazy on Saturday.”