Connecticut sweeps Buffalo in penultimate regular season contest

by Hannah Bevis

Despite a strong effort on both days, the Beauts were unable to best Connecticut in their second series. Buffalo dropped both contests to Connecticut, falling on Saturday 5-3 and getting shut out on Sunday 4-0.

Saturday’s game started with a bang; by the end of the first period, both teams had combined for five goals. The Beauts opened the scoring just 20 seconds into the contest, a shot by Emma Keenan that got past Whale netminder Abbie Ives. Undeterred, the Whale responded with three unanswered goals of their own. Cailey Hutchison scored Connecticut’s first goal of the afternoon just 1:37 after Keenan’s goal, and Emily Fluke made it 2-1 less than a minute later. Whale captain Shannon Turner picked up Connecticut’s third goal of the game at the 6:11 mark of the period off of a slick pass from Catherine Crawley. Just over two minutes after Turner’s goal, the Beauts pulled within a goal on a shot from the point by Marie-Jo Pelletier that was deflected in by Kennedy Ganser.

After the first ten minutes of the contest went by in a blur, both teams settled down and the game became more tightly contested. Both Ives and Buffalo netminder Carly Jackson made phenomenal saves in the latter half of the first period and the second period, and both teams entered the third frame with the score still locked at 3-2.

Kennedy Marchment gave the Whale back their two-goal lead near the midway point of the third period. Marchment walked into the slot on a Whale power play and sent a slick backhander past Carly Jackson, who replaced Lovisa Berndtsson earlier in the first period.

With just over three minutes to go in the third, Buffalo captain Taylor Accursi put the Beauts back in the game, crashing the crease and sending the puck past Ives to make it a 4-3 game. But the Beauts couldn’t complete the comeback; a minute later, Amanda Conway sealed the Whale’s win with a goal to make it 5-3 Connecticut.

Sunday’s game was a much different tale. The Whale’s defensive prowess was on display throughout the entire contest.

The Beauts were unable to get past Mariah Fujimagari, who made 18 saves to collect the Whale’s third shutout in franchise history.

Connecticut scored twice in the first period, the first Fluke's second goal of the weekend just over five minutes in, and the second a power play goal by Hannah Bates about three minutes later.

Up 2-0, the Whale added to their lead in the second period with a shot from Allie Munroe in the high slot. Hanna Beattie wrapped up the scoring for Connecticut with the team’s fourth goal just over four minutes into the final frame.

The Beauts will face off against Boston at home in their final series of the regular season next weekend. Saturday’s game will begin at 7 p.m. ET and Sunday’s contest will be at 1 p.m. ET.