The Whale Are Looking to Return Favor Against Beauts
By Nathaniel A. Oliver
Heading into their weekend matchup, the Connecticut Whale are eager to resume their regular season after an early bye week, while the Buffalo Beauts are shooting for redemption after dropping two games in Boston last weekend.
The two squads will face each other for the second and third time this season. The first game this weekend, which takes place on Oct. 19 at 11:30 a.m. EDT, will be the Beauts home opener inside of the Northtown Center. On Sunday, the two teams will play again at 1:30 p.m. EDT. Following this weekend's action, the Beauts and Whale will meet two more times this season.
Both squads have signed new players since they squared off on the NWHL's opening weekend. The Beauts added defender Nikki Kirchberger on Oct. 14 and goaltender Tiffany Hsu on Oct. 15. Meanwhile, the Whale signed forward Haley Payne on Oct. 17. Haley is expected to make her NWHL debut this weekend.
The Whale have not played any games since they hosted Buffalo back on Oct. 5. Connecticut lost that game 3-1, but looked strong and managed to put a lot of pressure on rookie goaltender Mariah Fujimagari. Forwards Sarah Hughson and Sarah Schwenzfeier, and defender Shannon Doyle each put four shots on goal in that contest. Grace Klienbach scored the team's lone goal and had three shots of her own. Coming into "Fort Beaut", the Whale are looking to return the favor by spoiling Buffalo's home opener.
The Beauts, on the other hand, are looking to get back in the win column. After the 3-1 victory in Danbury, they suffered tough 4-2 and 8-1 losses in Boston last weekend. Now sitting at 1-2-0, they have an opportunity to push themselves to 3-2-0 by taking both games this weekend, but that will be easier said than done.
"We just have to show that we're really hungry," said Beauts forward Erin Gehen. "We have to really want to win going into the games. Because when we work really hard we're unstoppable, and we have a lot of talent on this team. So if we bring that into this weekend, I think we're going to make Buffalo really proud."
The most consistent positive for the Beauts has been rookie forward Brooke Stacey. She leads the team in scoring with three goals and one assist through Buffalo's three contests. Stacey has scored a goal in each game, including one on a penalty shot in the 4-2 loss on Oct. 12. She'll be looking to keep her goal-scoring streak alive against the Whale this weekend.
The Buffalo Beauts play the Connecticut Whale in their season-opening weekend at Northtown Center in Amherst. Start times are 11:30 a.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are just $15 and are available now at www.NWHL.zone/tickets and at the arena on game days.
Photo Credit: Bryan Johnson