Whitecaps, Beauts look to snap losing streaks this weekend

by Hannah Bevis

Both the Whitecaps and the Beauts are currently on five-game skids, and one of those losing streaks will come to a much needed end this weekend. Both teams sit at the bottom of the standings, with the Beauts at the bottom with two points, and the Whitecaps just ahead of them with three points. A strong performance from either team will give them a boost in the standings, and could put them up to fourth place, depending on how the other weekend’s games shake out.

The Beauts have the edge when it comes to scoring goals this season, scoring 16 goals in seven games and averaging 2.28 goals per game. The Whitecaps have scored just 11 goals in eight games, averaging just 1.35 goals per game and getting shut out twice this season. That said, it’s the Whitecaps who have the stronger defensive performance so far this season, allowing an average of just 3.00 goals per game and picking up a shutout against the offensive powerhouse Boston Pride. Meanwhile, the Beauts are allowing an average of 4.5 goals per game, and haven’t yet posted a shutout this year - but 14 of the 32 total goals they’ve allowed came in a pair of games against the high-flying Toronto Six.

The Whitecaps have struggled this year with a roster relatively intact from last year, a team that qualified for the Isobel Cup Final for its third consecutive season. Though they lost blue line anchor Amanda Boulier, who signed with the Pride, superstars like Jonna Curtis, Allie Thunstrom, and Amanda Leveille are still leading the way for the Caps. Curtis and Thunstrom, who were both named 2022 PHF All-Stars, currently co-lead the team in points with four apiece, and have been consistent offensive threats. Leveille sits third among all goalies who have started at least two games with a .927 save percentage, and has been a key factor keeping Minnesota in games all season long. If the Whitecaps can get more contributions from depth players like Haley Mack, Mak Langei, and Ashleigh Brykaliuk, amongst others, they will be in good shape against the Beauts.

In Buffalo, the Beauts have been streaky at times, with a lineup on paper that can play with the best teams but that sometimes struggles with execution. Four Beauts were initially named to the 2022 All-Star roster - Marie-Jo Pelletier, Dominique Kremer, Taylor Accursi, and Anjelica Diffendal - and then all four fan vote slots went to Beauts with the addition of Carly Jackson, Kennedy Ganser, Autumn MacDougall, and Cassidy Vinkle. It is clear that the Beauts have the depth and talent to be able to compete with the rest of the league - it is just a matter of time. The Beauts have not played as many games as other teams around the league - two of their weekend series were cancelled, once due to weather and once due to Covid-19 issues with their opponent. If the Beauts can use home ice to their advantage and put the Whitecaps on their heels early, it could be a good weekend for Buffalo.

The first game will start at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, and the puck will drop on the second game at 1 p.m. ET. on Sunday afternoon.