Boston Pride: A primer on NWHL’s hottest hockey team

The red-hot Boston Pride are roaring into this weekend’s matinee match-up on with an 19-0-0 record. The question remains if they can preserve the undefeated streak, or take their first loss of the season at the hands of the Minnesota Whitecaps.

The Boston Pride are indisputably the hottest team in the NWHL right now and perhaps the hottest team in all Boston sports.

Riding undefeated into their game today with an 19-0-0 record, the closest the Pride came to losing this season was in the shootout vs. the Connecticut Whale on December 28th, when the Pride’s Tori Sullivan scored the only shootout goal to win the game.

There have certainly been close games in the Pride’s season so far, but none as close to costing the Pride their unbeaten streak as December’s late match-up.

With the formation of the PWHPA, many of the players on the Pride are rookies, but the team does have its fair share of veterans who either made the switch or returned to play another year in the NWHL. Captain Jillian Dempsey is an original NWHLer, having played in all five seasons of the NWHL’s existence, as is teammate Kaleigh Fratkin.

Defenders Mallory Souliotis and Lexi Bender and forwards McKenna Brand and Mary Parker are making their return to and their mark on the Pride as well this season. Emily Fluke is back in the NWHL as well, but this time with the Pride as her new team; the Massachusetts native played the previous two seasons as a member of the Connecticut Whale.

Brand and Dempsey are two players to look out for this season, as they’re currently the top two on the Pride in goals, points, AND shots on goal. It’s no wonder the top line — on which they’re joined by rookie and Providence College alum Christina Putigna, who leads the team in assists — is the most dominant when you’ve got those two on it.

The top line isn’t the only one to produce for the Pride though, as perhaps the team’s biggest asset is their forward depth. Fluke, who currently slots in on the third line, is tied for fourth on the team in scoring with 22 points through 17 games. Lexie Laing and Tori Sullivan are third and tied for fourth, respectively, on the team, and they’re ⅔ of the second line. The Pride’s depth is simply unmatched by any other team in the league.

The Pride wouldn’t be complete without their two impressive goaltenders, both rookies. Lovisa Selander signed with the Pride out of her senior season with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a D-I team in the ECAC, where she set the NCAA record for career saves made with 4167. The other half of the tandem is former Boston University (and Stoughton, MA native) Victoria Hanson, who helped the Pride to win their only shootout thus far this season.

While the games split between the two netminders isn’t exactly even, with Selander shouldering most of the workload, the two are the closest in the league to being a true tandem, as they’re currently both in the top five in goals against average and save percentage in the NWHL. Selander takes the top spot in both categories.

One interesting note regarding the roster is that no player on the team has a negative +/-. Every single player, forward and defender, is positive, which isn’t a surprise given the team’s +63 goal differential.

The Boston Pride’s next game is Saturday, January 25th, at 6:00 PM vs. the Minnesota Whitecaps. The game is streamed live and for free on Twitch.