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NWHL Ready to Drop Puck on Inaugural Playoffs

NWHL playoff preview

(Photo via

(Photo via


The National Women’s Hockey League will begin it’s inaugural playoffs tonight as the four teams are set to battle for the Isobel Cup.

It was a successful regular season campaign for the league and expectations remain high for the postseason.

Top seed Boston Pride will host No. 4 seed New York Riveters in a best-of-three set which begins tonight at Raymond J. Bourque Arena at Endicott College in Beverly Massachusetts. The Pride finished the regular season as the top team in the league with a record of 14-3 with one overtime loss.

Led by Hilary Knight and Brianna Decker, the Pride are the clear favorites entering the Isobel Cup Playoffs. Knight and Decker are 1-2 in the league, respectively, in points, goals, and assists. Brittany Ott controls the net for Boston. She leads the league with a 1.94 goals against average. Her 13 wins is also tops in the league. Ott recorded the leagues only shutout in it’s inaugural season.

Pride enters the playoffs on a seven game winning streak and are 9-0-1 in their last ten.

The Riveters struggles for most of the season, finishing the regular season with a 4-12 record and two overtimes losses. Their -36 goal differential this season does not leave many feeling good about their chances against the Pride.

Nana Fujimoto has been solid in net for New York, but offensively, they have struggled to develop a consistent scoring threat. Bray Ketchum ranks fourth in the league with 10 goals, but the next Riveters players has just six (Meghan Fardelmann).

No. 2 Connecticut Whale host No. 3 Buffalo Beauts in the opening round, beginning tonight at Chelsea Piers Connecticut, Stamford, CT. The Whale hung around the top of the standings all season but well just short of the Pride. Connecticut finished the regular season with 26 points, three behind Boston, and a 13-5 record.

Buffalo finished the regular season with a losing record of 5-9 but had many other close contests, falling four times in overtime.

Connecticut is led by Kelli Stack and Kelly Babstock who are tied for third in the league with 22 points a piece. Shiann Darkangelo leads the team in goals with 10, tied for fourth in the league.

Whale goaltender, Jaimie Leonoff leads the NWHL with a 0.936 save percentage, and is second in wins with 7. Her goals against average sits at 2.96, good for second in the league behind Ott.

Buffalo is led by Kelley Steadman who is fifth in the league with 20 points, and third with 13 goals. Defensively, Buffalo is led by Emily Pfalzer and Megan Bozek.

The semi-finals begin tonight, with games played on consecutive days. The winners of the best-of-three opening round matchups will advance to play in the Isboel Cup Finals, a best-of-three series at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ beginning Friday, March 11.

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