Beauts head to Minnesota for critical weekend series

by Hannah Bevis

The Beauts are packing up and heading over to Minnesota to face off against the Whitecaps, but it’s a very important series of games for both squads.

Both teams are sitting at the bottom of the standings, though for different reasons; the Beauts have played just three games this season, the fewest of any team in the PHF, while the Whitecaps have played two road series of their three games, and four of their six games were against the defending Isobel Cup champions.Buffalo played once on opening weekend before traveling to face off against the Riveters two weekends ago, getting a lot of rest in between game action. Will the Whitecaps have the advantage, since they’ve gotten in more game action and had more consistent games? Or will the extra rest that the Beauts have been getting pay dividends on the ice? Only time will tell.

Both the Beauts and the Whitecaps have relied on their rocks in net for the beginning part of the season. Amanda Leveille has started in all six games for the Whitecaps, posting a .924 save percentage and 2.82 goals against average so far this season. Meanwhile, Carly Jackson has been in net for all three of the Beauts’ games so far, and currently has a .896 save percentage and 3.71 GAA. It’s likely that we’ll them both in net again, as both teams have already shown they’re comfortable with those netminders playing in back-to-back contests.

For the Whitecaps, keep an eye on veteran players Allie Thunstrom and Jonna Curtis, who have looked strong even as the team has been struggling out of the gate. Both are currently tied for the team lead in points; Curtis has four goals and Thunstrom has three goals and an assist, providing the majority of the team’s offense. Thunstrom also hit a couple of milestones last weekend, scoring her 52nd career PHF goal, which is tied for 10th in the PHF’s all-time rankings, and also skating in her 50th professional game. Thunstrom is the only Whitecaps player to play in every single one of the team’s games since it joined the PHF. Minnesota will look for them to both continue their strong play, as well as get more offensive contributions from the rest of their teammates.

The Beauts have been relying on a mix of its veteran players and newcomers to put the puck in the net. 2021 draft pick Anjelica Diffendal and third-year Beaut Cassidy McPherson are co-leading the team in scoring with four points apiece. Right behind them are co-captain Taylor Accursi, defender Dominique Kremer, and Cassidy Vinkle, each with three points. That depth will be crucial for the Beauts this season, and has been something the team was banking on heading into the season. So far, it looks like that’s paying off - the Beauts will need that to continue heading into this series against a speedy Minnesota team that, on paper, has the same kind of depth that Buffalo does.

The puck will drop on the first game this Saturday night at 8 ET/7 CT. Sunday’s contest starts at 3 ET/2 CT.