The Buffalo Beauts had their first win on home ice Sunday January 31st against the New York Riveters, beating them 4-2. Shelby Bram’s second goal of the year won it for the Beauts, and Erin Zach added an empty netter late in the third. Brianne McLaughlin made 20 saves. Kelley Steadman scored twice and added an assist, earning her a second NWHL Player of the Week nod.
Stats and Facts:
- Bram’s goal was her first in five games, dating back to Dec. 6 at Connecticut when she scored a power-play goal to put the Beauts up 2-0 (Buffalo would go on to lose the game 3-2 in a shootout after a late rally by the Whale).
- By getting Player of the Week for her play against the Rivs, Steadman becomes the first NWHLer to earn the honor twice in one season.
- Shortly before puck drop Sunday, Hannah Bevis of Today’s Slapshot boosted a piece she wrote about the chemistry between Steadman and Meghan Duggan in just five games played together. Ironically, the duo was split up for the first time this season against the Riveters. Co-head coach Shelley Looney said after the game that the aim was to create three strong lines, so Duggan played alongside Jessica Fickel and Shelby Bram, while Steadman was on a line with Hayley Williams in Tatiana Rafter’s spot. Of course, Duggan did manage to combine with Steadman on the power play for Steadman’s first goal of the game.
- The second line of Devon Skeats, Kourtney Kunichika, and Hailey Browne was untouched, due to what Looney called a “strong run” this season. Although the line didn’t have a point in last Sunday’s game, they cycled the puck well and crashed the net on multiple occasions, proving they still have plenty of chemistry.
- Kunichika on playing with Skeats and Browne: “It’s a fast pace. They’re both really strong and really fast, and we seem to just kind of know where each other [is]… When we get deep and start cycling it, we can be unstoppable.”
- Rafter, who was Princess Elsa for the day in honor of Disney on Ice being in town, was a healthy scratch. The forward has one goal and 12 penalty minutes in 13 games played. Earlier in the season, co-head coach Ric Seiling mentioned the purpose of practice players was to ensure there would be a full lineup in case of injury or outside obligation, but seeing as Rafter was healthy and present, it’s obvious the only thing keeping her from the lineup was lack of production compared with Steadman’s consistent success. So… the real deal regarding practice players remains to be seen.
- Also a result of Disney Day: old favorites and forgotten gems from Disney movies on the PA system throughout the game. I was super excited to hear “Be Prepared” before puck drop, not going to lie.