The challenge was, to say the least, difficult. The Boston Junior Bruins, 17-4-3 in NCDC play, had outscored opponents by an 88-51 margin entering Tuesday morning’s game against the PWHPA. They exited the game getting outscored 2-1, as Kelly Pannek lit the lamp twice in a dramatic PWHPA ‘All-Star’ victory that pushes the group to 2-2-0 on their trip.
Pannek gained the Bruins’ zone with possession along the far wall and fed a pass to a streaking Dani Cameranesi. Cameranesi was able to wheel her way into the slot area, dangling around a Bruin defender before sending a perfect backhand pass to Pannek. With Bruins goalie TJ Semptimphelter committed to the shot, the backdoor was wide open for Pannek to deposit her second of the morning and of the trip at 6:09 of the third period.
The game actually started at more of a sluggish pace. The Bruins outshot the PWHPA 14-10 in the opening period, but starter Katie Burt shut everything down. Burt made 14 saves, but wasn’t forced to make many dangerous stops. The PWHPA ‘All-Star’ defense had a plan, and were able to keep the Bruins to the perimeter for the most part.
Only once were the Bruins able to convert on those perimeter looks. Dartmouth commit Trey Croddick picked up a loose puck and walked into the high-slot at 3:41 of the second period. When in position, he labelled a shot by Burt to open the scoring in the game. That unassisted marker was all the Bruins could manage in this one.
3:53 after Croddick’s goal, the PWHPA struck back. Cameranesi poked the puck off of a Bruin stick and into the corner of the offensive zone, then won the foot race to gain possession. Almost immediately, she sent a no-look backhand pass right into the slot and onto the tape of Pannek, who was left all alone in front. Pannek stepped into a one-timer and blasted it right by Bruins’ starter Ryan Wilson (Army West Point) to get the PWHPA on the board.
Wilson was replaced by Semptimphelter at the 29:28 mark of the game, as Bruins coach Mike Anderson elected to let his goaltenders split duties.
At the second intermission, with the game still tied 1-1, something odd happened. The Zamboni got about 75% through its trip around the ice before it began to smoke. The machine promptly broke down, and was stuck on the ice surface due to an electrical issue. After rink staff surveyed the situation, players from both sides came out and pushed the Zamboni back off the ice, eventually getting it outside for repairs. In all, the third period was delayed roughly 25 minutes.
It was worth the wait for the PWHPA.
Cameranesi found Pannek for the second time at 6:09 to put the ‘All-Stars’ ahead, and set up a huge victory against one of the elite NCDC programs.
The Bruins turned the heat up after Pannek’s second goal, but it was too little too late. Desperate charge after desperate charge was thwarted at the blueline by the PWHPA’s aggressive defensive group. When the Bruins did finally get setup, they couldn’t solve Burt. The former Boston College Eagle, who made 34 saves in a loss on Friday, stopped 39 of 40 shots against in her best performance of the trip. Burt made 14 saves alone in the third period to preserve the victory.
“Outstanding team effort,” Coach Bill Flanagan said postgame. “Our group worked really hard today, played together as a team, and committed to getting this victory. I thought our defense did a terrific job against this dangerous attack, stood up really well against their power forwards.”
The PWHPA will get a practice day on Wednesday before returning to game action on Thursday morning. They’ll face off against the Utica Junior Comets at 10:40 am from AdventHealth Center Ice Rink D. The game can be seen live on HockeyTV, but is not free to watch. The ‘Hub City Tampa’ trip concludes on Friday morning at 10:40 am when the PWHPA takes on the Twin City Thunder.