The first weekend of the 2021 NWHL season is in the books, and the Boston Pride began to heat up Sunday night.
Boston dropped its opening game to the Minnesota Whitecaps — the team it was supposed to play last March for the Isobel Cup — on Saturday before scoring five goals against the Buffalo Beauts on Sunday.
The Pride’s power play went 0-for-7 against Minnesota, something head coach Paul Mara criticized after the 2-1 loss.
“Everything,” Mara said of the ineffectiveness of the power play. “Our power play hasn?t been clicking in two years.”
Despite those struggles, Mara said he still has “all the confidence in the world” the Pride.
And they proved just why Sunday with two power-play goals — one from captain Jillian Dempsey and the other from Sammy Davis, which was her first NWHL tally.
The Pride, along with the rest of the NWHL, have not played a game in almost a year, so some rust was to be expected despite practices and scrimmages. Still, any rust the women may have had looked like it had been shaken off Sunday.
“We have more points then the Buffalo Beauts now,” Mara said as he opened Sunday’s press conference.
Here are some other notes from the Pride’s 1-1-0 weekend:
— Dempsey made NWHL history Sunday when she became the first player to reach 100 points. But when asked about the milestone, the Boston captain proved she’s a team player through and through.
“The focus was on outworking the opponent, having more grit, and winning every little battle,” she said. “We want the Cup. That?s what our milestone is.”
— The Pride may have lost to the Whitecaps on Saturday, but their revenge tour is just getting started.
“I don?t think Minnesota wants to play us again,” Mara said.
— McKenna Brand gave Boston the lead and never looked back in the final minute of Sunday’s game when she fired a top-shelf shot past Carly Jackson, who was playing in her second game of a back-to-back.
“She has one of the best shots in women?s hockey,” Mara said of Brand, “not just this league.”
It’s hard to argue that.
— Davis wasn’t the only rookie to get on the stat sheet, as Taylor Wenczkowski also scored for the Pride. Tereza Vani?ová picked up an assist, as well.
“That whole line was buzzing,” Mara said.
— There was a bit of bad news to come out of Lake Placid, though.
Jenna Rheault, who scored Saturday and had been playing well, left Sunday’s game with an injury.
Sportsnet’s Marisa Ingemi reported Sunday night that Rheault suffered a fractured wrist, and the defender confirmed the news Monday on Twitter.
Briana Mastel likely will take Rheault’s place on the blue line.
— The Pride had an off day Monday and will get back to work Tuesday against the Toronto 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET. You can stream the game on Twitch.