In her final game as a professional athlete, Buffalo’s Brianne McLaughlin stopped 60 of 62 shots to lead the Buffalo Beauts to an upset of the heavily favored Boston Pride in the 2017 National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) Isobel Cup final.
Despite finishing third in the league standings, Buffalo took an early 1-0 lead just 1:44 into the game when Megan Bozek scored a goal off the post. Emily Janiga scored later in the period to put the Beauts up 2-0 over a stunned Pride team. Boston tried to rally from a 3-1 deficit but could only score with 4.2 seconds left.
For most of the game, the Beauts totally frustrated the Pride’s Megan Duggan, Brianna Decker, Hilary Knight and Blake Bolden who combined for 32 shots on goal.
The Beauts lost to the Pride in last year’s final and had not won consecutive games this season until the final three games.
In the semifinal games, the Pride crushed the Connecticut Whale 8-2. The Beauts upset the New York Riveters 4-2.
With the dramatic finish, the league’s future is uncertain. Due to financial troubles, the league ended its season a month early and reduced the Isobel Cup playoffs to single elimination. The league began play in 2015-16.