Beauts, Force need shootout to decide high-flying affair

by Hannah Bevis

It was a high-scoring contest between the Buffalo Beauts and the Montreal Force on Saturday evening that ultimately needed a shootout to decide a winner.

It took eight rounds before Montreal’s Samantha Isbell broke the stalemate, beating goalie Lovisa Berndtsson to give the Force their first PHF victory. Montreal keeper Tricia Deguire stopped Michaela Boyle to secure the win.

Emma Nuutinen also scored for Buffalo in the first round of the shootout while Montreal’s Kim Deschênes scored in the third round to keep the contest going. Deguire finished the game with 30 saves for the win while Berndtsson made 22 stops for Buffalo.

The Beauts struck first after withstanding some sustained offensive pressure from Montreal. Just shy of the midway mark in the first period, Mikyla Grant-Mentis won a face-off for the Beauts. Grant-Mentis got the puck back to Antonia Matzka, who unleashed a laser from the blue line that beat Deguire.

Montreal answered back quickly, capitalizing on its first power play opportunity six minutes later. Catherine Daoust slapped a hard pass to Ann-Sophie Bettez in the slot, who tipped the puck past Lovisa Berndtsson to tie things up.

18 seconds later the Force struck again, this time on a shot from Jade Downie-Landry assisted by Sarah Lefort.

Undeterred, the Beauts managed to knot things up before the opening period was over. With 1:32 left on the clock, Whitney Dove threw a knuckle puck at the net that fooled Deguire to score her first career pro goal, assisted by Grant-Mentis and Dominique Kremer.

After a wild first frame, the second was relatively mild. Though the intensity on the ice stayed up, the Beauts managed to score just one goal and Montreal couldn’t solve Berndtsson. In the middle of the second, Maddie Truax deked her defender and skated the puck in, ripping a puck towards the net that Anjelica Diffendal tipped in at the 10:49 mark to give the Beauts a 3-2 lead.

With less than five minutes remaining in the third period, Montreal scored a pair of goals nine seconds apart to tie and then take the lead. Ann-Sophie Bettez fired the puck from behind the net to Sarah Lefort for the first tally, and Deschênes scored an unassisted goal to make it 4-3.

38 seconds after Deschênes’ goal, the Beauts would tie things up again. Claudia Kepler got her first goal of the season, posting up at the front of the net and pushing a rebound past Deguire.

The Beauts couldn’t capitalize on a late power play, so to overtime, it went. Both teams had good opportunities in the extra frame, including a 4-on-3 power play for the Beauts for a minute and 22 seconds, but Montreal shut down Buffalo and got to the shootout.

Buffalo will face Montreal again in an effort to split the series on Sunday at 1 p.m. EST.

About the Buffalo Beauts

The Buffalo Beauts are a professional women's ice hockey team based in Buffalo, New York and competing in the Premier Hockey Federation (formerly the National Women’s Hockey League). The Beauts are one of the Founding Four teams that stepped on the ice in 2015 and the 2017 Isobel Cup Champions. The team is owned and operated by NLTT Hockey Ventures. Visit to learn more.

About the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF)

The PHF is the leading home of professional women’s hockey in North America. Established in 2015 as the National Women’s Hockey League, the NWHL rebranded to become the PHF in 2021 and maintains the mission to provide strong role models and fuel the continued growth of the sport. The league is made up of the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters, Minnesota Whitecaps, Montreal Force and the Toronto Six who all compete annually for the Isobel Cup.

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