With key points in the standings on the line, the Buffalo Beauts put up five goals on the first-place Boston Pride, taking a 5-0 win at HarborCenter on Saturday afternoon. Dani Cameranesi finished with a pair of goals on the afternoon, while Kelly Babstock broke the scoreless tie with her first goal as a Beaut and added an assist for a two-point performance. Maddie Elia continued to produce with a pair of helpers on the day.
Initially netminders Shannon Szabados (Buffalo) and Katie Burt (Boston) traded saves in the first period, with Szabados turning away 10 shots and Burt stopping all 19 the Beauts put on net in the first frame. Within the first six minutes of the contest, Szabados had to make a series of three acrobatic saves. Not to be outdone, Burt made some phenomenal saves of her own. One of her finest came in the first period when she stopped Buffalo's Taylor Accursi on a clear-cut breakaway.
With the game still scoreless midway through the second period, the Beauts killed off a five-minute major penalty.
"That was pretty intense," Beauts defender Blake Bolden said. "We knew we had to kill it. Once we killed that, I think we took the momentum of the game."
With 5:31 to go in the second period, Babstock broke through for the Beauts, hustling in on the Pride net. Dropping her shoulder and dipsy-doodling with the puck, she managed to pull Burt out of the net and slipped the puck in right behind her. The lone assist on the goal went to Bolden. For Babstock, it was her first goal of the season and her first as a Buffalo Beaut.
"I think we were just firing on all cylinders," Bolden said after the game. "Babs made an excellent play being patient and walking around the goaltender. I really didn't have to do too much but just put it on her stick."
The Beauts continued generating offense late into the second. With Kaleigh Fratkin in the box with 45.8 seconds remaining, it wouldn't take long for Buffalo to tally again. Beauts forward Emily Janiga stole a loose puck from around the hash-marks - one that Babstock sent her way from her knees along the boards - and slipped in behind two Boston defenders. Janiga fed the puck through the pads of Burt for her second goal of the season.
Buffalo made it 3-0 13:48 into the third period. Burt came way out of her net to make a stop but could not corral the puck. After a scramble, the loose puck squirted out to defender Savannah Harmon who threw it into the open net. Fellow rookie Julianna Iafallo would be credited with an assist on Harmon's tally.
The Beauts pushed the lead to 4-0 when Dani Cameranesii fed a low shot right along the ice and through the pads of Burt for her second of the season with an assist to Elia. The Pride then pulled Burt in favor of veteran goalie Brittany Ott.
With 9:20 to go in the game, Cameranesi struck yet again. While Hayley Scamurra helped to scoot a puck out past the blue line, Cameranesi stole it in the neutral zone and quickly out-skated the Boston defenders. Coming in with a full head of steam, Cameranesi went one-on-one with Ott and sailed a shot into the top of the Boston net for a 5-0 lead. Scamurra's helper added to her league-leading 15 points. Elia would earn the secondary assist for her 14th point.
Amidst the 5-0 victory, both teams fired a lot of pucks. Buffalo out shot Boston 40-30, with Szabados making all 30 saves in the shutout. The win gives the Beauts a 6-4 record and 12 points, two points behind both the Pride and Whitecaps, each with a record of 7-3.
"It was important," Babstock said. "Every game is important to us. We're excited to keep building for next weekend for the Riveters."
The Beauts will face the Metropolitan Riveters on Saturday, Jan. 12 in the HarborCenter at 1:30 PM ET. THe Pride host an important matchup with the Whitecaps the same day at Warrior Ice Arena at 7:30 PM ET. Tickets are available at NWHL.zone/tickets.
Nate's Three Stars of the Game:
Third Star: Kelly Babstock (GWG, assist)
Second Star: Dani Cameranesi (two goals)
First Star: Shannon Szabados (shutout, 30 saves)