Beauts Thrill Fans in Home Opener In Spite of Loss
BUFFALO — In front of a packed home crowd at Northtown Center, the Beauts put on a show in their first game in front of fans for the first time since March 6, 2020.
The Beauts took a period or two to get their legs under them, but once they did, they showed their speed and determination in a statement game against a powerhouse Toronto Six team. Ultimately, the Six managed a late power play goal from Michela Cava to steal a 4-3 victory from the Beauts, despite Buffalo clawing back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game with 12 minutes remaining in the third.
“I think the greatest thing was the comeback in the third. That was what our staff challenged them with,” said head coach Rhea Coad. “We have a team full of leaders and we just needed to dial in and play a full period and they definitely did that and when we did it, was clearly in our control.”
Before their impressive third period performance, the Toronto Six got on the board first, capitalizing on a power play that sent Beauts defender Elena Orlando to the box for hooking. Shiann Darkangelo tipped a puck past Buffalo netminder Carly Jackson off a blast from Taylor Woods at the point.
The Beauts tied things up with less than a minute to go in the first. Cassidy Vinkle sent a perfect pass to a streaking Missy Segall, who cut up the center of the ice and tucked the puck behind Elaine Chuli for her first Premier Hockey Federation goal.
“(It felt) really good, it was pretty fun to be able to do that,” said Segall on scoring her first PHF goal in her first game. “We have a great team, so it was nice to feel so supported by everyone in that endeavor.
The Six struck twice in the second period, first a goal from Leah Marino, her first as a member of the Six, and then another from Lindsay Eastwood on a breakaway as she left the penalty box.
Ever the comeback kids, the Beauts refused to give up and clawed their way back in the third period. Autumn MacDougall received a perfect chip pass and sent it glove-side on Chuli. Just three minutes later, it was co-captain Taylor Accursi who tied things up.
The Six’s power play stayed hot, and capitalized again with less than a minute to play. Mikayla Grant-Mentis sent a perfect pass to a waiting Cava on the doorstep, who sent the puck past Jackson.
“I think overall I was definitely happy with (the penalty kill), but we did give up two power play goals, and ideally, I'd like to give up zero,” said Coad. “It's (that) they’re thinking too much out there again. So we’re trying to (treat) the situations in practice…so that when we get to the game, it's a lot more reaction and not thinking.”
Despite the regulation loss, the game was a promising sign for the team. Accursi, who’s playing in her fifth season with the Beauts, commented on how strong the team looked in their opening contest compared to some of the other Beauts’ teams she’s played on in the past.
“I think that this this season, the Beauts are probably the strongest we've been since I've been here,” said Accursi. “From top to bottom, you've got a lot of different key players that pop in and out and can do a lot of different things. I'm really, really excited about this year.”
The Beauts will have the upcoming week off, and will next take the ice on the road agains the Metropolitan Riveters on November 20.