BUFFALO, N.Y. (March 9, 2019) – The Buffalo Beauts booked themselves a trip to their fourth straight Isobel Cup Final appearance with a 4-0 win over the Boston Pride in front of a lively home crowd at Harborcenter on Saturday night.
With the win, Buffalo improved to 3-1-1 all-time in the postseason against the Pride. The matchup marked the fifth consecutive year the teams have squared off in the playoffs, with a meeting in each season since the league’s existence.
The Beauts have rallied behind their home crowd all season and their semifinal affair with Boston was no different. Buffalo added a playoff victory to the team’s 7-0-0 record this season at Harborcenter and have now outscored their opponents 36-4 in their home rink on the season.
Following a scoreless opening period, the NWHL’s leading goal scorer fittingly got the home team on the board midway through a dominant second period for Buffalo, during which the Beauts outshot the Pride 19-5. Forward Maddie Elia, who finished the regular season with a league-best 12 goals, dug the puck out of a net-front scrum and potted her first career playoff goal.
Veteran defenseman Emily Pfalzer added to the Beauts’ lead six minutes later as she finished off a backdoor pass fromHayley Scamurra on the power play. Pfalzer is making her third playoff run with the Beauts, a tenure that features experience in both Isobel Cup Finals featuring Buffalo and Boston.
Scamurra’s two-assist night added to her impressive list of NWHL accolades as she became the Beauts’ franchise leader in playoff points with seven during her three-year career. The Beauts’ forward also entered postseason play as the reigning NWHL regular-season scoring leader.
Emily Janiga and Dani Cameranesi added to Buffalo’s lead with two third period goals, while Shannon Szabados shut the door on all 16 Boston attempts in the period. Szabados stopped all 31 shots in her first NWHL postseason game to add a playoff shutout to her resume in a debut season that already included two shutouts and a league-best 1.49 goals-against average.
“It was amazing,” Cameranesi said. “We were in the locker room and I don’t think I’ve ever heard the crowd as loud as when Shannon [Szabados] stepped on the ice after the game.”
The Beauts now await the winner of the matchup between the Metropolitan Riveters and Minnesota Whitecaps on Sunday to determine who will play Buffalo in the Isobel Cup Final. A Riveters victory would yield an Isobel Cup Final hosted at Harborcenter, and a Whitecaps victory would send the Beauts on the road to compete for the title in Minnesota.