PHOTO ESSAY: THE LABATT BLUE NWHL BUFFALO BELIEVES CLASSIC
By Mike Murphy
On Saturday, Dec. 28, the Metropolitan Riveters and Buffalo Beauts returned to hockey's roots in the Labatt Blue NWHL Buffalo Believes Classic Outdoor game. The game, which was held at the RiverWorks in Buffalo, marked the first time the NWHL held a regular season game outside in the elements. Players on both sides took to the ice with eye black on their cheeks and with clouds of frozen breath billowing out of their cages and visors to put on an unforgettable show for a sold-out crowd of over 1,200 fans and thousands more who were watching the game live on Twitch.
As expected, the two franchises put on an unforgettable show in a historic day for professional women's hockey. Buffalo Beauts star Taylor Accursi scored four goals in 7:29 in the third period to give get fans of every allegiance out of their seats and cheering, but ultimately the Riveters won the showdown by a final score of 7-4. The league had two photographers, Kate Frese and Mike Hetzel, on hand capturing history. Here are some of their best shots from Saturday's classic.
Credit: Kate Frese — Original NWHLer Ashley Johnston preparing for her first game of NWHL hockey since lifting the Isobel Cup as the Riveters' captain in 2018.
Credit: Mike Hetzel — Buffalo Beauts captain Corinne Buie walking down the tunnel to step onto the ice at the Buffalo RiverWorks.
Credit: Kate Frese — Riveters defender Rebecca Morse stepping onto the ice at Buffalo RiverWorks.
Credit: Kate Frese — Riveters captain Madison Packer standing on the blueline during the singing of the American and Canadian national anthems.
Credit: Kate Frese — The Riveters huddle around goaltender Sam Walther before puck drop.
Credit: Mike Hetzel — Beauts forward Cassidy MacPherson on the attack.
Credit: Kate Frese — The Riveters celebrating the second goal of the game, scored by Brooke Baker on the power play.
Credit: Mike Hetzel — Buffalo Beauts forward Kim Brown putting a shot on goal.
Credit: Kate Frese — Metropolitan Riveters forward Brooke Baker sent flying after a collision with a Beauts player.Credit: Kate Frese — Metropolitan Riveters forward Cailey Hutchison checking Beauts forward Cassidy MacPherson after a net-front scramble.Credit: Mike Hetzel — Buffalo Beauts forward Taylor Accursi celebrating one of her four goals in the third period.Credit: Mike Hetzel — Accursi strikes again.Credit: Mike Hetzel — The Riveters celebrating what would prove to be the game-winning goal, scored by Tatiana Shatalova.
Credit: Mike Hetzel — Beauts captain Corinne Buie using her body to shield the puck from Riveters forward Kate Leary.
Credit: Kate Frese — Riveters head coach Ivo Mocek talking with his team during a Buffalo Beauts timeout.
Credit: Kate Frese — The victorious Riveters.
Credit: Mike Hetzel — RIT alumnae Brooke Baker, Kandice Sheriff and Mallory Rushton posing together after the game.
Credit: Kate Frese — Riveters captain Madison Packer walking down the tunnel.