Kourtney Kunichika rejoins the Beauts for the NWHL's third season. Photo by Michael Hetzel.
BROOKLYN, NY – The Buffalo Beauts have re-signed forward Kourtney Kunichika and defender Lisa Chesson – a pair of veterans from the 2016-17 Isobel Cup-winning team – to contracts for next season. The club has also signed two rookie forwards from Mercyhurst: Taylor Accursi and Kathy Donohue.
“With the talents and compete level of Chesson and Kunichika returning, they will no doubt bring the attitude that they have something to prove and that the Isobel Cup was no fluke,” said Buffalo GM and co-coach Ric Seiling. “Their leadership and experience will benefit all of our new players.”
“Accursi and Donohue come to us from Mercyhurst – the same program that produced two great players for us in Kelley Steadman and Emily Janiga,” added Seiling. “Coach Michael Sisti does an outstanding job developing players, and we believe Taylor and Kathy will be immediate impact players for us.”
Kunichika, 25, is an original Beaut. In the NWHL's first season, she was second on the team in scoring with nine goals and seven assists in 18 games. Last season, she was 2-9-11 in 17 games. In 129 games at RIT, Kunichika averaged more than a point per game (54 goals, 82 assists, 136 points).
A former U.S. Olympian, Chesson had four assists in eight games for Buffalo last season. Chesson, 30, played 145 games at Ohio State, scoring 27 goals and adding 62 assists for 89 points. With U.S. Hockey, the defender won a silver medal at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. She has also represented the U.S. in the Four Nations Cup and IIHF Women’s World Championships.
As a senior at Mercyhurst, Accursi registered nine goals and 14 assists for 23 points in 35 games. The forward from Ancaster, Ontario previously played for the the Burlington Barracudas in the Provincial Women's Hockey League.
Donohue, who has also played for the North American Hockey Academy, featured in 132 games at Mercyhurst. During her sophomore season, she was 7-6-13 in 37 games.