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Beauts open with win over Whale

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4-0 shutout highlights dominant performance

Nicole Hensley faces a Taylor Accursi shot in training camp. Hensley posted a shutout in her professional debut.
Erik Wollschlager

The Buffalo Beauts opened the season with a 4-0 shutout win over the Connecticut Whale. It was an overall dominating performance for Buffalo, who was led by newly named captains Emily Pfalzer, Corinne Buie, and Hayley Scamurra. The Beauts held the Whale to just 10 shots in 60 minutes.

The defensive lockdown was abetted by six Connecticut penalties; four of which took place in the second period. Buffalo took advantage of the power play time, unloading 38 total shots on Meeri Raisanen, but were unable to score on their five chances. Nicole Hensley became the first Beaut goaltender to post a shutout in their debut. She was not often called upon, but she was up to the task each time, and perhaps had the play of the game, coming out past the circle to direct a loose puck from a streaking Juana Baribeau, breaking up a breakaway.

Scoring, however, was not a problem for the Beauts, who managed to beat Raisanen four times at even strength. The first goal came at 7:08 in the first period, when Maddie Elia scored on a pass from linemate Hayley Scamurra. Elia scored again just two and a half minutes later; this time Dani Cameranesi got the primary assist.

Connecticut endured a 17-shot onslaught through the second period, but the powerful Buffalo offense was unable to score. Raisanen will be a huge difference maker for the Whale this season - the Whale defense has suffered a handful of injuries and having the Finnish superstar will certainly be a boost for the team.

Buffalo did not let up on the Whale as the third period progressed. Hayley Scamurra accumulated her third and fourth point of the night, scoring goals at 4:17 and 17:08. Her first tally was an incredibly individual effort, passing two Whale players on the wall and turning the defender inside out before beating Raisanen. Buffalo’s fourth goal was another strong effort by Scamurra on the wall, fighting get behind the net and get the puck out front.

With the exception of the 0-for-5 on the power play, it was one of the most complete efforts in the team’s history, and the 38 shots on goal, led by Kelly Babstock’s seven, help to tell that tale. Last season, Buffalo averaged just over 27 shots per game. In preseason interviews, Buie mentioned that shooting was something the team was focusing on, and it showed. The first five minutes were largely Connecticut’s, but the remaining 55 were all Buffalo. The team controlled play from top to bottom, and the high shot rate had a lot to do with that.

The short-benched Whale were no match for the Beauts, who still have a lot of growing to do. This should be terrifying for the remainder of the league. The team is back to it for the home opener on October 13, when they again will face Connecticut.

Final: Beauts 4, Whale 0

Shots on Goal: Beauts 38 | Whale 10

Beauts Goals: Maddie Elia (1, 2) and Hayley Scamurra (1,2)

Whale Goals: None

Three Stars of the Game

1. Hayley Scamurra (2G, 2A)

2. Maddie Elia (2 G)

3.) Meeri Raisanen (34 saves on 38 shots)