Buffalo Beauts upset Boston Pride for Isobel Cup
The Buffalo Beauts stunned the Boston Pride in the NWHL's Isobel Cup Final, upsetting the league's top team with a 3-2 win Sunday at Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Massachusetts.
The third-seeded Beauts, who went 6-10-1 in the regular season, got revenge after two seasons of being dominated by the Pride, who won last year's inaugural Isobel Cup Final series and their first 16 games of the regular season.
Despite the fact Buffalo lost all five games against Boston in the regular season and was outscored 21-4 in those meetings, the Beauts jumped out to a 3-0 lead and then hung on late to win the championship in the league's second season.
Three different Beauts -- Megan Bozek, Emily Janiga and Corinne Buie -- scored, and Brianne McLaughlin earned postseason MVP honors after recording 56 saves in her final game.
Bozek scored 1 minute, 44 seconds into the game to give Buffalo an early 1-0 lead, and Janiga doubled it 13:01 into the period. Buie faked out Boston goalie Brittany Ott and backhanded the puck into the net to give Buffalo a 3-0 lead midway through the second period.
Led by McLaughlin, a two-time Olympian who announced her retirement after the game, the Beauts hung on despite Alex Carpenter and Hilary Knight scoring for Boston in the last five minutes of the game.
"I was trying not to think about the shutout. ... I was just trying to win," McLaughlin told ABC News' A.J. Mleczko Griswold after the game. "Unbelievable, I couldn't ask for anything more."
Last season, the Beauts went 1-5 against the Pride in the regular season and were outscored 7-4 in last year's best-of-three Isobel Cup Final series.
Due to financial troubles, the league ended its season a month early and reduced its Isobel Cup playoffs to single elimination ahead of the IIHF World Championships, which begin March 31.
The U.S. women's national team, which has won six of the past eight world championships and features several NWHL players, including Bozek and Knight, is boycotting the tournament over a wage dispute with USA Hockey. Team representatives and USA Hockey will meet Monday to negotiate.