Frankel, Tapani lead Boston past Ottawa in PWHL play

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Susanna Tapani helped lead Boston past Ottawa on Wednesday night at the Tsongas Cener. (Photo by Meghan Murphy/PWHL Boston)

LOWELL, Mass. — Aerin Frankel made 29 saves and Susanna Tapani scored the game-winning goal to lead Boston to a 3-1 win against Ottawa on Wednesday evening at the Tsongas Center.

It was the second consecutive game that Boston took on Ottawa at their home rink at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell — Ottawa picked up the 4-2 victory on Monday night in the first tilt.

“That was by far our best team game that we’ve played, Boston coach Courtney Kessel said. “We played with way more urgency, but most importantly we played for each other. We stood up for each other out there. That’s what we needed to see.”

Boston ends a four-game losing streak with the win, two days after Ottawa snapped a five-game losing streak of their own.

This was the fifth time in Frankel’s last six starts that she’s seen at least 30 shots against.

Tapani’s goal was her first since being acquired by Boston–she joined Boston with defender Abby Cook on February 11 in a trade that saw Sophie Jaques head the other way to Minnesota.

Tapani found the back of the net just 45 seconds into the second period to give her team a 2-1 lead– a lead they never relinquished. Boston defender Kaleigh Fratkin took a pass at the blue line and slid the puck to partner Megan Keller, who then wired a wrist shot through heavy traffic in front of the net. Tapani got a stick on it to redirect the puck past Ottawa goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer for her third goal of the season.

Boston’s first lead of the game came when Alina Müller carried the puck over the blue line and linemate Loren Gabel followed up as the puck was knocked off of Müller’s stick. Gabel deftly used the Ottawa defender as a screen as she snapped the puck just under Maschmeyer’s blocker to make the game 1-0. Defender Jess Healey also picked up an assist on the play, her first point of the season.

Ottawa answered when forward Daryl Watts skated the puck over the blue line, pulling a Boston defender with her as she dropped a pass to teammate Kateřina Mrázová. Mrázová then danced around the remaining Boston defender with a slick move and fired a shot on Frankel, who stopped the first shot, but was unable to corral the rebound– Mrázová then stuffed it home to tie the game 1-1, her third tally of the campaign.

After Tapani’s goal, Ottawa controlled much of the play in the second period, but it was Frankel who kept her team ahead, making 14 saves in the frame.

Boston captain Hilary Knight sealed the win for her team when she blocked an Ottawa point shot and followed up the play by picking up the puck at the red line. Knight was joined by linemate Gabel to create a 2-on-1 rush, but finished what she started by firing a laser over the glove of Maschmeyer, giving Boston their first two-goal lead of the game.

The unassisted marker, which made the score 3-1 at 13:49 of the third period, was Knight’s second goal this season.

Ottawa made a strong final push, calling Maschmeyer to the bench with just over three minutes to go in the game, but the visitors were unable to solve Frankel as Boston closed out their six-game home stand with a victory.

“We’ve been searching for a win for the past few games,” Frankel said. “I’m a very competitive goalie and I have a lot of competitive teammates in the room as well, so it was for them. We hadn’t been playing our best at home, but that made it extra important to do all the little things right tonight.”

Up next, Ottawa heads to Montréal for a game at Verdun Auditorium on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET. Then, on Sunday, Boston hits the road to take on Minnesota at Xcel Energy Center. Puck drop is 4:00 p.m. ET.


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