St. Paul, Minn. (October 27, 2018) — The Buffalo Beauts erased each of their first two deficits of the season, but the undefeated Minnesota Whitecaps ultimately prevailed 3-2 in the first half of a back-to-back series between the teams at a sold out TRIA Rink on Saturday.
The first period brought an end to the Beauts’ two-game shutout streak, as the Whitecaps burst out to a quick start, recording eight of the game’s first nine shots. Minnesota’s Katie McGovern beat Shannon Szabados, making her second start of the season for Buffalo, with the Minnesota’s eighth shot at the 5:38 mark to take a 1-0 lead.
The Beauts settled in after the Minnesota goal, outshooting the Whitecaps 9-4 for the rest of the period, but former Beauts goaltender Amanda Leveille withstood the Beauts’ efforts to take the Whitecaps’ lead into the first intermission.
Buffalo got the better of the middle frame, more than doubling the Whitecaps with a 17-6 shot edge, and the offensive push paid off. Maddie Elia crashed the net to score her fourth goal of the season, keeping pace with McGovern and Minnesota forward Jonna Curtis for the league lead. Hayley Scamurra made the pass that set up the goal, maintaining the team lead with her seventh point of the season (3+4).
The teams entered the third period tied at one, but Minnesota regained their lead less than four minutes into the period, as Kate Schipper capitalized on a 2-on-1 break. The Beauts answered less than two minutes later with a goal from Taylor Accursi, who got her first tally of the season to set up a tightly contested finish to the game.
Despite a huge effort from the Beauts defense, Curtis scored her fourth goal of the season to give the Whitecaps a lead they wouldn’t relinquish for the rest of the game. Minnesota improved to a 5-0-0 on the season while the Beauts fell to 2-1-0.
The top two teams in the NWHL through Saturday’s games, the Beauts and Whitecaps will meet again for a rematch on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. Eastern at TRIA Rink.