The Boston Pride (10-4-0) moved into a tie atop the NWHL standings with the Minnesota Whitecaps on Monday when they routed the Metropolitan Riveters (3-11-0) by an 8-1 score in a Presidents Day matinee in New Jersey. The Pride’s offensive explosion was led by Gigi Marvin’s three-point game (2g-1a) that headlined seven Boston players who recorded multiple points. Defender Kaleigh Fratkin led all players with four points, all assists, and when captain Jillian Dempsey scored the eighth and final goal on the afternoon she set the record for most career regular-season goals (29) in league history.
Gigi is Golden
Marvin’s performance was pretty amazing considering that she and her four teammates on Team USA arrived at the rink from Detroit about an hour for puck drop; Team USA played a game at noon the prior day against Team Canada. When asked during an interview following the Boston win if she was at all tired, she almost scoffed at the notion and smiled. “I’m feeling great. I love playing hockey and I’m glad our team showed up and put the puck in the net today,” said Marvin. “Katie Burt was outstanding (in goal).”
Burt, like Marvin, is also part of Team USA and was on the flight from Detroit. She also didn’t look fazed one bit with the tough travel schedule. The rookie netminder made 32 saves and lost her shutout bid 49:58 into the game when it was already 8-0. Showing up and playing hockey games is nothing new for Marvin, she’s been playing and excelling at hockey since she grew up in Minnesota.
“Yeah, all growing up – that was the life,” she replied with a smile. “It’s just like being a kid again. That’s what we did from high school on; it’s nothing new, the game of hockey. Just come out with a smile on your face and be ready to compete. I think that’s what we did and I’m really proud of our team for doing that.”
This game was a makeup game from a postponed game in January and with the game on a Monday, Boston was short a few regulars from their lineup (Alyssa Gagliardi, Dana Trivigno, Toni Ann Miano). They only dressed five defenders but you’d never know it by the way they blitzed the Riveters in waves all afternoon long. Three minutes into the game Mary Parker pounced on a loose rebound in the crease to give the Pride a lead they would never relinquish.
Boston scored three goals in the opening period and it was the middle goal by rookie McKenna Brand that really exposed how fast the Pride looked and how slow the Riveters appeared. Brand took the puck from the corner to behind the net and then snapped a wicked shot past goalie Kimberly Sass from above the goal line.
“It was a really nice forecheck (by Jordan Smelker),” said Brand, initially deferring the praise. “I didn’t really have much pressure on me so I figured I’d spin around and shoot it high. It ended up working.” The Northeastern grad’s goal ended as the game-winner and she is having quite the season as a first-year NWHLer: Brand is currently seventh overall in points (14) and second among rookies, seventh in goals (6) and sixth in assists (8).
smelker pokes the puck to brand who wraps around for the pride's second goal
(what this gif doesn't show is the work brand did before this to keep possession) pic.twitter.com/6gkHwTFnmC
— Michelle Jay (@michelle_jay3) February 18, 2019
The game stayed 3-0 until the final minute of the second period when the Riveters made a mental mistake, getting caught with too many skaters on the ice. It took Boston all of 33 seconds to capitalize on the power play when Marvin buried a shot from a sharp angle to extend the lead. She scored from almost the same spot on a slightly different shot just 22 seconds later, putting the final nail in the coffin for all intents and purposes.
“That was fun. I think we only had one or two power plays all game and I knew right then that we needed to capitalize,” said Marvin of her first goal. “Our D did a great job moving the puck and we went to the other side of the ice. Pelks (Amanda Pelkey) and Skroops (Haley Skarupa) did a great job breaking their penalty kill box actually; I just got it and went to the net, shot top shelf,” she added with a grin.
honestly you can't give gigi that much space, ever.
fratkin is also having A Game. look at that keep in! 4-0 pride pic.twitter.com/8KyMBlwmFC
— Michelle Jay (@michelle_jay3) February 18, 2019
“The same thing (happened) on the second one. We had a quick little turnover, Haley went to the net. I dished it to Pelks and she faked like she was going behind the net and gave it right back and I went five-hole. A lot of credit goes to my teammates, they’re awesome. Our D did a great job getting the puck to our forwards and you could see us flying out there as forwards and that’s what we like to do.”
The flying continued in the third period for the Pride as they tallied three more goals in less than six minutes against Maria Sorokina, who replaced Sass at the start of the period. Finally, with 10:02 left Amanda Kessel ended Boston’s shutout when she scored her first regular-season home goal with the Riveters.
Game Notes: Dempsey’s 29th career goal gives her one more than Brianna Decker, so a Pride player still holds the record. Kessel led all players with nine shots on goal while Marvin led Boston with eight. Pride players with multiple points: Fratkin (4a), Marvin (2g-1a), Parker (2g), Smelker (2a), Mallory Souliotis (2a), Brand (1g-1a), Denisa Krizova (1g-1a). Boston was 1-for-1 on the power play and their penalty kill went 2-for-2.
3 Stars of the Game:
1) Gigi Marvin (Boston): 2 goals (8), assist (5)
2) Kaleigh Fratkin (Boston): 4 assists (7)
3) McKenna Brand (Boston): gw goal (6), assist (8)
Dan Rice is in his 9th year of reporting for THW & has covered NJ Devils home games for 15+ years at various websites. He began his journey working for legendary broadcaster/writer Stan Fischler from 2002-04 & completed an internship at the ECHL; he also has been writing features for the NWHL (nwhl.zone) website since 2016.