Beauts sweep Boston in regular-season finale

by Hannah Bevis

The Beauts closed out their regular season with a bang, earning not one, but two overtime wins against the Boston Pride in a weekend sweep. Buffalo picked up a 2-1 and 3-2 win on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, against the team that will be their first-round opponent in the Isobel Cup playoffs this upcoming weekend.

“Our mantra was that the playoffs started yesterday, and it’s only a three game series for us,” head coach Rhea Coad said. “Obviously the main one is in Tampa, but we're looking to continue to do what we're doing and keep rolling.”

The Beauts will meet the Pride again in their first round Isobel Cup playoff game on Friday, March 25 at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and TSN Direct.

The first period on Saturday was scoreless between the two teams, despite the Beauts getting three power play opportunities. Though they couldn’t capitalize on any of their chances with the extra skater, Coad was pleased with the PP’s improvement, especially when it came to cycling the puck.

“Tonight I think was the best power plays that we've had, even though we didn't score,” Coad said. “That was the most movement we've had, and moving it in all the quadrants, moving side to side. Now that we've gotten in the rhythm of it, I think it's building the confidence in the power play realm.”

The Pride didn’t waste any time on their first power play chance of the game. With Elena Orlando in the box for roughing on a penalty at the end of the first that carried over, the Pride struck 41 seconds into the middle frame on a tip from Sammy Davis to take a 1-0 lead.

The Beauts made sure that lead didn’t last for too long. Anjelica Diffendal led a two-on-one rush up the ice and dished the puck over to Dominique Kremer, who scored on Katie Burt to tie the game back up 1-1 with just over 10 minutes left in the period.

Neither team were able to score in the third period, so to overtime they went. Kennedy Ganser was the hero for the home team with 3:47 left in the extra frame. Ganser took the initial shot that Lovisa Selander (who replaced Burt mid-game) stopped, but Taylor Accursi corralled the rebound and sent it to a now wide-open Ganser, who sealed the win.

“(Emilie) Harley (had) the nice back check - obviously, the goal wouldn't happen without her.  (Accursi) put it on net and I was there to slap at home,” Ganser said on her game-winner. “Like I was telling these guys, if I didn't have that in I probably would have hung up my skates.”

Though they struggled on the PP on Saturday night, the Beauts couldn’t miss with the extra skater during Sunday’s game. Buffalo struck in the final minute of the first period on their second PP opportunity of the night. Kennedy Ganser picked up the rebound in the crease and put the Beauts ahead 1-0.

Jillian Dempsey tied things up at the 10:53 mark of the middle frame on Boston’s own power play. 31 seconds later, Sammy Davis gave the Pride the go-ahead goal with a snipe to make it 2-1. Four minutes after Davis’ goal, the Beauts special teams struck again on the power play, this time a goal from Taylor Waslyk, who was once again right in the middle of the crease and ready to pick up the loose rebound and shovel it past Selander.

“The power play was good. We practiced it on Friday at practice, so it was kind of good to see it come to fruition, if you will. I know we've been struggling to get the power play going,” Wasylk said.

That success continued in overtime, after neither Boston nor Buffalo could break the tie in the remainder of regulation. With Kali Flanagan in the box for body-checking, Diffendal went end-to-end, flipping the puck into the offensive zone and getting the OT winner past Selander to complete the sweep.