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Beauts preview: Be here now

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Beauts can’t afford to look beyond wounded opponent

Game 14

Buffalo Beauts (9-4-0) vs Metropolitan Riveters (3-11-0)

Puck Drop: 5:00PM Saturday, February 23 | HarborCenter | Buffalo, NY

TV: Streaming at NWHL.zone

Know Your Opponent

Metropolitan Riveters

Record: (3-11-0) | 6 PTS

Last 10: 3-7

League Standings: 5th Overall

PP: 4th (7.5%)

PK: 5th (77.3%)

What to Watch

1. Beware, beware

With the playoffs just weeks away, it would be easy for the team to look past this game. The Riveters have suffered mightily, and are licking their wounds after a disastrous 8-1 loss to the Boston Pride mere days ago.

The Riveters are scratching and clawing for anything to hold onto. The most dangerous team is a desperate one, and that is what the Beauts have on their hands on Saturday.

Buffalo has a five-game winning streak on the line, and if they are going to lock down that first home playoff game, they need to keep that going through the remainder of the season. That means being acutely focused on the task at hand for the last three games, taking each opponent seriously.

2. 4.3 percent

Twice in 13 games. Buffalo’s penalty kill is otherworldly, allowing only two goals in 53 tries for a 95.7 kill percentage. They’ve even managed a shorthanded goal, bringing for an impressive season-long minus-1 with skaters in the box.

The Riveters’ power play percentage is only 7.5 percent, and haven’t scored in three tries. Buffalo, on the other hand, has four power play goals in the two previous meetings between the two teams. Special teams will certainly factor heavily into this matchup’s result.

3. Steady as she goes

These two clubs have seemed a world apart this season after being so closely matched last year. One of the highlights of Buffalo’s 2018-19 campaign has been the superior goaltending they’ve gotten from Shannon Szabados and Nicole Hensley.

The Riveters’ netminders are no slouches - Katie Fitzgerald was fantastic in her first two seasons in the league, and Buffalo is familiar with Kimberly Sass, who spent two seasons with the Beauts. The Riveters also added Maria Sorokina midseason, who is a notable backstop in her own right.

Coach Randy Valischek seems to be uncertain who his starter should be. He’s juggled the goalie several times, with no discernable strategy regarding the number one for any given game. After the disaster on Monday, Buffalo will likely see Fitzgerald, but given the inconsistency of the team and Valisheck’s decision-making, there’s no way to know for sure.

Buffalo Beauts

Forwards

Hayley Scamurra-Maddie Elia-Dani Cameranesi

Emily Janiga-Kelly Babstock-Juliana Iafallo

Corinne Buie-Annika Zalewski-Taylor Accursi

Defense

Blake Bolden-Emily Pfalzer

Lisa Chesson-Savannah Harmon

Jacque Greco-Emily Pfalzer

Blake Bolden - Jordyn Burns

Starting Goaltender: Shannon Szabados

Metropolitan Riveters

Forwards

Miye D’Oench-Madison Packer-Kristin Lewicki

Rebecca Russo-Alexa Gruschow-Audra Richards

Erika Lawler

Defense

Michelle Picard-Chelsea Ziadie

Courtney Burke-Jenny Ryan

Kiira Dosdall-Kelsey Koelzer

Starting Goaltender: Katie Fitzgerald