The 2018-19 season whispered its last words as the NWHL announced its awards on March 25. Goaltender of the Year, Defender of the Year, league’s MVP, and Player of the Year. It may be little surprise to learn that the Buffalo Beauts cleaned house.
The first award announced was Goaltender of the Year, presented to Shannon Szabados. The legendary puckstop finished the season with three shutouts, a 1.49 goals against average, and a .934 save percentage. These marks were the best among goalies with 10 starts or more this season.
Szabados also captained the victorious all-star team in Nashville, and was named MVP of the game.
Defender Blake Bolden earned Defender of the Year after an incredible return to North American hockey. The 2016 Isobel Cup champion and two-time hardest shot winner provided 12 assists to her team – good enough for second in the league. Bolden logged a lot of icetime, splitting third-pair duties with linemate Emily Pfalzer for much of the second half of the season.
Maddie Elia was named League MVP. Elia led the league in goals for most of the campaign, finishing with 12. She also added seven assists, finishing second in overall points. She and linemates Dani Cameranesi and Hayley Scamurra were a dominant force, providing nearly all of the scoring in the Beauts’ rocky start. Elia was second in the league in faceoffs and a key component of Buffalo’s effective special teams units.
Finally, Hayley Scamurra garnered the NWHLPA’s Top Player award. Scamurra led the league in points with 20 (10 goals, 10 assist,) and her on-ice performance earned the Western New York native a spot on the US National Team. Scamurra will compete with Team USA at the upcoming IIFH Women’s World Championships.