There are very few things in this world that can soothe the heart and soul of a hockey player and fan, like the quiet in a rink before puck drop. It is a familiar scene to many who have played the game. There is this eerie calm before the crowd enters the building and before skates blades have cut into the ice. The smell of freshly zamboni’d ice, the sight of the pucks lined up along the boards before warmups, the sounds of skate sharpeners working overtime in the background as the staff prepares for the next 60 minutes of playing time.
It is a welcome time. It is a time that one sits and thinks everything over. The plays you’ve practiced and the tapes you’ve watched covering your opponents and their previous games. This calm is even more welcome before a game where it is all on the line, the championship game.
Later tonight, the Isobel Cup will be awarded to the winner of tonight’s game. One team will hoist the trophy over their heads while the other returns to the locker room to mourn the brutal end of the season. So, what do we have to look forward to this evening?
The Road So Far
For the Boston Pride, tonight is a familiar place for this Founding Four club. Tonight is their third trip to the Isobel Cup Final; they are the only two-time Isobel Cup Champions. The Pride won the Cup the first season of the NWHL, now PHF; they are the most recent Champions, winning last year in the NWHL bubble. Furthermore, the Pride also look to become the first team in Premier Hockey Federation history to repeat as Champions. The question remains, will they be able to do it?
The Connecticut Whale are making club history for themselves in many ways this season. Kennedy Marchment has already set a club record as the all-time points leader, and that was on March 6 and still several games to play. She won the regular-season scoring title with an impressive 33 points (13 goals, 20 assists) in her rookie campaign. The team won the PHF regular-season title with an impressive 15-3-2 record. They decisively won their playoff game 4-2 on Sunday afternoon. Finally, they have done something no other Whale squad has ever done; they moved on to the Final for a chance to win the Isobel Cup. Will they finally bring Izzy home to Danbury?
No one can predict what is going to happen this evening. We can look at all the advanced stats, previous games, and every other analytic out there, but that is the thing about the beautiful game of hockey. When it comes down to it, one bounce, a deflection, an odd-angle shot, all the unpredictable things can be the difference-maker.
At the end of the day, we know of only one thing that will happen tonight: the Isobel Cup will be awarded. Now, we wait to find out where that destination will be.
Follow Beyond Women’s Sports for more from the world of the PHF and women’s sports. You can find me on Twitter and be sure to check out my podcast Let’s Talk WoHawkey. The first episode is out now on all podcasting platforms.