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Whitecaps Keep Winning, Best Previously Undefeated Beauts

In a heart pounding finish the Minnesota Whitecaps beat the Buffalo Beauts 3-2, and remain the only undefeated team in the NWHL.

Kendall Coyne Schofield (#26) skating for the Minnesota Whitecaps in a game against the Buffalo Beauts at the TRIA Rink earlier this season.
The Minnesota Whitecaps beat the Buffalo Beauts 3-2 Saturday evening and remain the only undefeated team in the NWHL.
Cat Lenander

Saturday evening the Minnesota Whitecaps were back at the TRIA Rink hosting the also undefeated Buffalo Beauts. Amanda Leveille was in goal for Minnesota to face her former team and their new starter Shannon Szabados. It was another sold out game, as all the home games have been so far, and the crowd was pumped to see the Whitecaps keep their winning streak alive.

Soon after the game started Allie Thunstrom made a shot on goal just as a penalty was called on Maddie Elia, hooking, at 1:13. On the power play the Whitecaps got the puck moving and put up some shots that eventually resulted in an open net and a flying puck, but there was no one in position to knock it in and the Beauts killed the penalty. Emily Janiga and Taylor Accursi made a nice play on goal, but were foiled by the defense just before they reached Leveille’s crease. Then Katie McGovern flew up the left side and despite the Beaut dogging her every stride, swooped through the slot to score at 5:38. Jonna Curtis and Amanda Boulier assisted.

Amanda Leveille (29) coming way out of goal to play the puck.
Cat Lenander

After that Leveille had to fend off some rapid shots. Savannah Harmon took a holding minor at 7:47, which harmlessly expired two minutes later. Dani Cameranesi caught a quick pass and shot into Leveille’s center mass then the goalie had to pull off a nice toe save on a shot from her right. It was a chippy physical game with bodies going down everywhere as the officials let them play. Cameranesi flew down the right side, free of any hindrances until Amanda Boulier poked the puck away at the crease. Minnesota then got boxed into their zone for a couple of minutes, but weathered the stampede. At the end of the period a ‘Cap flew up the left side and threw the puck at the crease, where Thunstrom was charging for the tip in, but she couldn’t connect for a goal.

Kendall Coyne Schofield kicked off second period flying down the right side for a shot, and then Hannah Brandt made a slot attempt, but Szabados denied them both. McGovern took a slightly delayed tripping minor that kicked in at 1:34, which the Whitecaps handily killed. Chelsey Brodt Rosenthal got denied on a shot from just outside the crease. Then Sadie Lundquist fed the puck to Meghan Pezon, but Szabados was too fast for the tip in to work. The Whitecaps continued causing chaos, though Leveille did have to make a quick save off a faceoff in her zone, and Thunstrom stopped Blake Bolden’s shot by diving in front of it.

Curtis took a hooking penalty at 11:48 and while Cameranesi nearly scored on the power play, the Beauts were unable to convert. Nor did Elia feeding the puck to Lisa Chesson work, though they nearly scored after trapping the Whitecaps in their own zone for two minutes—that ended with Curtis flying into Buffalo’s zone, but too tired to beat Szabados on a wrap around attempt. Minnesota made some wildly unlikely shots. Then the Beauts were back on the attack and Hayley Scamurra made a back pass from the right side to Elia at the crease, and she flipped the puck over Leveille into goal at 17:59. Corinne Buie had the second assist. At 19:00 Taylor Accursi’s delayed penalty for roughing by her bench kicked in and it carried into the third period.

A lot of moves from both teams easily could have been called as players were taken off their skates left and right.
Cat Lenander

Buffalo killed it a minute into the third. Cameranesi and Julianna Iafallo both had shots at the crease that had Leveille rapidly blocking. Elia got blatantly tripped by Minnesota’s crease, but there was no call, grabbed Brandt’s leg to try and hamper her as play raced away. However that didn’t help Buffalo any, as Kate Schipper scored at 3:38 thanks to some help from Schofield. Szabados snatched the puck out of the air on another Minnesota shot. Then the Beauts swarmed around Leveille’s crease so that when Chesson made a falling shot from the left circle it deflected off Accursi and bounced around the back of the net at 5:18, retying the game. Sarah Casorso had the second assist.

Leveille blocked another Cameranesi shot with her shoulder, which left a loose puck that was eventually cleared. Then during a frenzy she snatched Scamurra’s shot out of the air. Pezon tried to tip in Emma Stauber’s shot at Buffalo’s crease, but caused a big mess instead. Cameranesi put yet another shot on her college goaltender, then tried to bang home the rebound, and instead caused a mess instead with Leveille sprawled on the ice. Szabados was down for the save when Curtis scored from practically on top of her at 12:56. McGovern had the lone assist.

The rest of the game consisted of Buffalo trying to tie as Minnesota protected their lead. A lot of that involved tackling anyone with the puck in Minnesota’s zone. Things looked pretty dire for the Whitecaps when Amy Menke received a roughing minor at 16:34, but that was mitigated by Elia winding up back in the box for slashing at 17:14. Both teams killed their penalties. With 42.1 seconds left on the clock play paused for a timeout. Then Schofield made a shot into Szabados’s armpit and the Whitecaps ran out the last seconds on the clock. Minnesota won 3-2 after being outshot 36-28, improving their overall record to 5-0, and remain the last undefeated team in the NWHL.