A highly talented goaltender who has contributed great performances in New England women’s ice hockey, the chance to stand between the pipes for the Boston Pride has only enriched Brittany Ott’s career. As the NWHL celebrated opening day, Ott earned the nod as the starting goaltender for the Pride’s inaugural game against the Buffalo Beauts.
This season, Ott shares goaltending duties with Kelsie Fralick and Lauren Slebodnick, who recently graduated from the Cornell Big Red program. In her October 11 debut for the Pride, Ott opposed Brianne McLaughlin, who was part of Team USA’s roster for the 2010 and 2014 Winter Games.
Ott would assemble two solid shutout periods, blocking 15 Beauts shots, simultaneously allowing her team to jump out to a 3-0 advantage. Beauts blueliner Kelley Steadman would break Ott’s shutout bid at the 7:58 mark of the third period, scoring on the power play for the first goal in Beauts franchise history.
Before the period would expire, Vermont’s Amanda Pelkey would get that goal back for the Pride, as Ott earned the win in a 4-1 final. With said win, Ott not only earns the historic distinction of gaining the first win in Pride history, she becomes the first American-born goaltender to win an NWHL regular season game.
Earlier in the day, Montreal-born Jaimie Leonoff gained the win for the Connecticut Whale, allowing Ott a chance at a unique accomplishment in American women’s hockey. There are still several goaltending records to be had for Ott and her fellow NWHL backstops. Such records include the first shutout, first assist by a goalie, the chance to become the first to post back-to-back wins, and more importantly, the first to win the Isobel Cup.
In the aftermath of the Pride’s victory, which also made Ott the first goaltender to win a regular season game in both the CWHL and the NWHL, she was jubilant to be part of such a monumental day,
“Sunday was an amazing experience overall. It was a huge win for our team to start the season. We wanted to come out strong and set a standard for us to work off of and improve from. We put a lot of work in leading up to the season opener both on and off the ice, and it was amazing seeing it all come together.
Being a part of history is an incredible honor and I am so grateful to have this opportunity to play. I am so excited for what the future for this league holds.”
Still donning the powder blue color goalie pads that made her a fan favorite while she played for Hockey East’s Maine Black Bears, Ott was highly noticeable from any angle at Buffalo’s HarborCenter. As a side note, she also donned said pads during her two seasons with the Boston Blades.
Quite possibly the most distinguishing feature of her pro career, Ott’s appearance in the powder blues makes her one of the NWHL’s most recognizable players on the ice, which is also reminiscent of another goaltender. Erica Howe, who competed for the Clarkson Golden Knights from 2010-14 has worn her collegiate green and yellow colored pads and gloves while competing for the Brampton Thunder (a Blades rival) and the Canadian national team.
Uniforms were certainly a key theme as each team’s jerseys featured the flag from their country of birth on the left shoulder and their team’s respective logo adorning the right. The NWHL logo is also prevalent, appearing on the upper right of said jersey. Ott and her teammates looked sharp in their yellow jerseys adorned with black trim and a nice array of white, black and yellow stripes along the bottom of the sleeves and the jersey.
Perhaps the most unique feature was the fact that all the player’s nameplates were found on the bottom of the jerseys, a unique variation on traditional jerseys that tend to feature the nameplate on top.
After so many weeks and months of anticipation, the chance to finally don the jerseys and take to the ice held great meaning for Ott as a near-capacity crowd showed great enthusiasm. Taking into account the reception that the Pride received upon gracing the ice, it is clear that Beauts fans are very serious about this exciting and long overdue female aspect to the Boston vs. Buffalo sports rivalry. Having once encompassed just the NFL and the NHL, the NWHL has been welcomed, likely giving Ott, her teammates and the Beauts many more memorable moments to come.
“Seeing everyone putting on our uniforms in the locker room for the first time was an awesome sight. And to trump that, walking out of the locker room and seeing and hearing a nearly sold out crowd cheering for us throughout the game made it just unbelievable.
We even got "booed" when we walked out for the first time, which got a few smiles out of our team, but it was awesome to be a part of. We made history on our opening day, and we got the "W" too! It doesn’t get much more exciting than that!”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credit: Meg Linehan
Image obtained from: http://www.meglinehan.com/nwhl.html