Sarah Shureb scoring a goal in the Beauts 3-2 win over the Whale. Photo By: Matt Raney
The Whale comeback falls just short as the Buffalo Beauts defeat Connecticut 3-2 on Saturday. The defending champions got the scoring started at the 16:53 mark in the first period. Taylor Accursi deflected a shot past Whale goalie Sydney Rossman to give the Beauts a 1-0 lead. Buffalo had a 10-5 advantage on shot after the first 20 minutes of play.
In the second, the Beauts scored again as Sarah Casorso and Kaylyn Schroka connected with Sarah Shureb for the second goal of the game in the 12th minute of the period. The pace and physicality of the game increased as time in the second period ticked to a close. The Whale took the majority of penalties in the box (16 minutes on 8 infractions), but effectively shut down the Beauts power play, killing seven of eight opportunities.”
Additionally, Rossman kept her team in the game, making 21 saves on 23 shots heading into the third. “We count on (Sydney),” said head coach Ryan Equale after the game. “She’s somebody that we used a high draft pick on a couple of years ago to get. And, she performed well. All we ask from our goalie is to keep us in the game and she did that.”
However, early in the third, the Beauts would again expose Rossman and the Whale as Hayley Scamurra put away a pass from goal scorer Acursi, and Maddie Elia. Yet, the lead for the 2017 Isobel Cup champs would not last.
Just over 11 minutes later, Grace Kleinbach got the first goal of the Whale season, and her first of her professional career. The rookie from Neumann College beat Beauts goalie Amanda Leveille five hole to pull Connecticut within two goals.
“I was just rotating back, covering the (defense) and it just happened that I got an open area to shoot. Shot it and it went in, so it’s exciting,” said the Florida-native of her first professional goal.
That goal led to another by veteran Sam Faber ten seconds later, bringing the Whale within one goal with less than eight minutes left in the game. “My goal, Jaime (Goldsmith) did a nice job coming around the net. (Shannon) Doyle got the puck to her and she threw it in front and I was kinda wide open.”
Faber was glad to execute, but gave the credit to her teammates and Kleinbach for shifting the momentum in the third period, “I think we played a lot better in the third than we did in the first two. I think the puck was really good through the neutral zone and we had a lot of speed coming into the zone,” said Faber. “But definitely I think Grace’s goal helped us build that momentum.” She added, “we’re only gonna get better every game and I think that was a good step, that third period.”
Overall, the Whale showed they are a team will the ability to contend in this league. In a short time, the team has come together and will only continue to get stronger with more time together. The penalty kill was very effective against an aggressive Beauts offense. Elena Orlando did a good job of taming Corrine Buie in front of net.
Tonight showed the Whale have enormous upside, and they will look to grow on that when they travel to Boston (0-1) next week. The Whale will return to Terry Conners Rink on Saturday, November 11 as they host the Metropolitan Riveters (1-0).