Beauts seek sweeps to end season
Saturday’s games will determine playoff locations
Buffalo Beauts (10-4-0) vs Connecticut Whale (2-10-2)
Puck Drop: 6:00PM Saturday, March 2 | Terry Conners Ice Rink | Stamford, CT
TV: Streaming at NWHL.zone
Buffalo Beauts (10-4-0) vs Metropolitan Riveters (3-11-0)
Puck Drop: 3:00PM Sunday, March 3 | Barnabas Health Hockey House | Newark, NJ
TV: Twitter Game of the Week. Follow @NWHL
Know Your Opponent
Record: (2-10-2) | 6 PTS
Last 10: 1-7-2
League Standings: 5th Overall
PP: 5th (6.5%)
PK: 4th (86.0%)
Record: (3-12-0) | 6 PTS
Last 10: 3-7
League Standings: 4th Overall
PP: 4th (7.3%)
PK: 5th (79.6%)
What to Watch
1. Win win win no matter what
These back-to-back games are the last of the regular season for Buffalo and Metro. Connecticut will play Minnesota in its final game on Sunday. A lot can happen on Saturday; If Boston is able to beat Minnesota and Buffalo defeats Connecticut, the Beauts will be two wins away from hosting the Isobel Cup Final.
Buffalo has a chance to sweep both Connecticut and Metro in the same season for the first time in team history. The progress from year one, when the Whale beat Buffalo six straight times, has been incredible to experience.
Sunday’s game could be the tougher of the two for many reasons. Connecticut is reeling from a rash of injuries, and has injected some new faces in the lineup. Metro, on the other hand, is ready to play spoiler. Frustrations from the loss in Buffalo spilled into the corridor following the game, and while reporters were unable to get any information regarding the cause, the tension was thick. It would mean a lot to a team that has taken a stiff, steep dive following its championship win one year ago.
2. Mirror, mirror
If Buffalo wins out, it will be the second consecutive year they will end the season on an extended winning streak. Prone to slow starts, this Beauts team is used to resetting in the summer, taking a few games to get set, and hitting the second half of the season like a juggernaut.
The same was true this year. Since suffering a one-goal loss to Minnesota on December 29, the Beauts have won six straight games, and eight of the last 10. In that time, they’ve gone from a one-line team to a scoring machine, and they’ve taken the power play from utterly inept to second in the league. Improvements in every facet have helped the Beauts hit the home stretch trailing white-hot flames like a championship bound comet.
3. Well, you’ve got a point there
For the first time in team history, the Beauts are home to the league goals leader and the league points leader. Maddie Elia’s 11 goals are best in the NWHL, and Hayley Scamurra’s 19 points lead all skaters. The league record for most goals in a season is 15, set by Hilary Knight in the NWHL’s inaugural campaign. The team record is 13, set by Kelley Steadman in that same year. If Elia gets hot, she could easily tie that this weekend.
It would be a momentous feat for the under-recognized powerhouse. The goal-scoring alone is impressive, but moreso is the 22.9 shooting percentage - tops among players with 25 or more shots.
Hayley Scamurra-Maddie Elia-Dani Cameranesi
Emily Janiga-Kelly Babstock-Juliana Iafallo
Corinne Buie-Annika Zalewski-Taylor Accursi
Blake Bolden-Emily Pfalzer
Lisa Chesson-Savannah Harmon
Jacque Greco-Emily Pfalzer
Blake Bolden - Sarah Edney
Starting Goaltender: Nicole Hensley (Saturday)
Shannon Szabados (Sunday)
Miye D’Oench-Madison Packer-Amanda Kessel
Rebecca Russo-Alexa Gruschow-Audra Richards
Kristin Lewicki-Erika Lawler-Kelly Nash
Michelle Picard-Chelsea Ziadie
Courtney Burke-Jenny Ryan
Kiira Dosdall-Kelsey Koelzer
Starting Goaltender: Katie Fitzgerald