PHOTO BY TOM MORRIS
For the second time in as many days, the Minnesota Whitecaps earned a one-goal victory over the Buffalo Beauts in front of a sold-out crowd at TRIA Rink in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Amy Menke’s third-period tally stood as the game-winner in Sunday afternoon’s 2-1 victory, as the Whitecaps improved to a perfect 6-0 in their inaugural NWHL season.
Minnesota, Buffalo and the Boston Pride all entered the weekend unbeaten, and after a pair of Whitecaps wins and a Boston loss on Saturday night to the Riveters, Minnesota remains the only undefeated team in the league.
In another tight game, Amanda Leveille was once again a highlight for the Whitecaps, shutting the door on the Buffalo offense to preserve the win, particularly as the Beauts poured on pressure in search of a late equalizer. Leveille has been a major factor in the Whitecaps’ hot start, backstopping the team in all six wins.
Minnesota wasted no time finding the back of the net on Sunday afternoon, with Kate Schipper sneaking a shot inside the post just 19 seconds into the game, with assists to Kendall Coyne Schofield and Amanda Boulier. Schipper’s goal was her second of the weekend.
The Beauts were awarded a penalty shot late in the first period after the puck was covered in the crease, and Dani Cameranesi made no mistake, putting it away into the top left corner to even the score at one.
A pair of 4-on-4s opened up the ice in the second period, but neither team managed to capitalize, taking the 1-1 tie into the third.
Menke then gave the Whitecaps the edge back, breaking to the front of the net and tapping in a pass from Coyne Schofield with 14:32 left in the third period. Menke’s tally was her second of the season, after the scored her first NWHL last weekend against the Metropolitan Riveters at the Prudential Center.
The Beauts poured on the pressure late, pulling goaltender Shannon Szabados in favor of an extra attacker and mustering a number of opportunities, including a blast from Savannah Harmon on the point. But Leveille stood tall, shutting down Buffalo’s chances to preserve the win.
Both teams will now break for the Four Nations Tournament, and both teams will see the Boston Pride next. The Beauts return to action on Nov. 17, heading to Boston for a tilt against the Pride. The Whitecaps, meanwhile, have a month-long hiatus, returning to TRIA Rink on Dec. 1 and 2 to host Boston.