WHITECAPS SURGE PAST BEAUTS WITH FOUR-GOAL THIRD PERIOD
By Nathaniel A. Oliver
The Minnesota Whitecaps and the Buffalo Beauts had their first of two meetings this weekend. The contest was the Beauts' annual "Teddy Bear Toss" game, which has long been a fan favorite. Unfortunately for Buffalo - while the teddy bears did indeed fly - the Whitecaps played the role of spoiler. By game's end, Minnesota had earned themselves a 6-1 victory.
"It was a difficult game for a lot of reasons," said Whitecaps' goalie Amanda Leveille. "It was really physical, and that's really draining. We hadn't played a game for almost a month. We came together to battle through that and battle as a team to earn a 6-1 win. We stuck together as a team, and to come out with a win like that is huge."
The Whitecaps tallied their first goal at 2:55 of the opening period. Meghan Lorence got in down low and was left unwatched at the side of the Buffalo net. She would tuck one home in behind Buffalo goalie Tiffany Hsu. Nina Rodgers and Amanda Boulier earned assists on the play.
Buffalo struck back at the 11:16 mark of the first. With both Taylor Accursi and Kristin Lewicki threatening down low, it would be Lewicki who would put one home past Leveille. Lewicki's second of the season - and fourth point in three games - tied the score at 1-1 and sent the teddy bears flying. Accursi's assist on the play tied Buffalo's team record for career points, which is currently held by former Beaut Kourtney Kunichika.
Leveille shut the door on the Beauts the rest of the way. The star netminder finished the game with 22 saves, earning her 14th win of the 2019-20 campaign.
Meaghan Pezon potted what proved to be the game-winning goal at the 17:01 of the first. Pezon's first of the day was assisted by Audra Richards.
"We've just got to keep battling," said Pezon. "We know Buffalo is always going to come at us hard no matter what the score is. Just keep playing our game. Picking them up defensively. Not letting them get opportunities, and hopefully, keep getting opportunities at the other end as well."
Though neither team would score during the second period, Minnesota would open things up completely in the third with a four-goal output.
With Buffalo's Meg Delay in the box for elbowing, Jonna Curtis fired home her 12th of the season at 1:44 of the third. Shortly thereafter, Pezon scored her second of the game when she skated through the slot and beat Hsu through the five-hole.
The Whitecaps' never took their foot off of the gas pedal. Nina Rodgers and Brooke White-Lancette scored their team's fifth and sixth goals of the game, respectively. Rodgers' goal was her first of the season and first as a Whitecap, while White-Lancette's was her second of the year.
"It's fun," said Pezon. "It's fun to see everybody scoring goals and everybody contributing. The most fun is everyone on the bench supporting each other. Nina scores her first of the year, and everyone was pumped for her. It's always fun to see Brooke score goals. It's just fun, and it's good for us this time of year."
The Beauts and the Whitecaps will face each other again tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. EST inside the Northtown Center. Buffalo will be hosting it's "Hockey Fights Cancer" game, and their "Beauts Photo Day" for fans after the game. Tickets are available at beauts.nwhl.zone/tickets and the game will be streamed live on the NWHL on Twitch.
Photo Credit: Mike Hetzel