The Buffalo Beauts shocked the Toronto Six with a 3-0 win in the Buffalo Believes Classic outdoors at Buffalo RiverWorks, handing the Six their first shutout loss of the Premier Hockey Federation season. Over the weekend, the Metropolitan Riveters and Minnesota Whitecaps split a pair of games in The North Star State.
Beauts Beat Toronto Outdoors
In a special Monday matinee, the Buffalo Beauts defeated the Toronto Six in an outdoor game at Buffalo RiverWorks by a score of 3-0. It's a big win for the Beauts, who beat the top team in the PHF and ended Toronto's impressive eight-game winning streak despite sitting last in the league standings.
Monday's game was Buffalo's second outdoor tilt in franchise history, succeeding the original Buffalo Believes Classic in 2019. For most of the players, it was their first professional outdoor game; only a handful of Beauts players from that 2019 team remain. For all of them, it was a chance to mix it up, show Buffalo fans how much fun Beauts games can be, and welcome a new audience in a different venue.
Of course, actually winning the game doesn't hurt, either. Goaltender Carly Jackson recorded a 36-save shutout, the first of her pro career. Claudia Kepler scored the only goal that beat netminder Tera Hoffmann, for her third goal in just six games. Overall, the sixty minutes weren't all easy, but they were certainly fun.
The Beauts did a good job of keeping pace with the Six through the opening period, limiting Toronto's high-danger chances, even on the power play. For the fourth straight game, Toronto's opponent scored the first goal in the game.
Kepler's game-opening tally came just 1:14 into the second period. The Beauts got the puck off a faceoff at the other end of the ice, and Cassidy Vinkle found Kepler with a backhand pass on a 2-on-1. She settled the puck down and shot it in blocker side; it bounced off the posts before going in.
As the game went on, Toronto had more zone time & possession, but Buffalo held strong and Jackson was particularly impressive in net. Time ticked down, and despite multiple power plays on both sides, the score remained 1-0.
Dominique Kremer gave the Beauts a little bit of security with 1:02 to play in regulation, potting an empty-netter just after a critical penalty kill. Autumn MacDougall added another empty-net goal with ten seconds left to further sweeten the win.
Monday's game marked the first time the Six were shutout this season, and just the second time in franchise history. It was also the first shutout for the Beauts franchise since March 9, 2019, when Shannon Szabados made 31 saves against the Boston Pride.
Whitecaps, Riveters Split
The Minnesota Whitecaps scored three goals in a span of less than six minutes in Saturday's second period that would eventually lead them to a 5-2 win over the Metropolitan Riveters.
After a scoreless first period in which Minnesota nearly doubled the Riveters in shots, Jonna Curtis opened the scoring just over six minutes in. She was in the right place at the right time, able to get her stick on the puck and deflect it in five-hole for her first of two goals that day.
Just 1:20 later, Allie Thunstrom doubled her team's lead. Allie Olnowich picked up the puck behind the net after a dump-in, but fumbled it thanks to good pressure behind her from Lexie Laing. The puck came loose, and Thunstrom rushed to it and put it in, top-shelf, far side. The Whitecaps went up 3-0 on another goal from Thunstrom minutes later, capitalizing on a bouncing puck in front of the net.
Despite the trio of goals, the second period was much more even-keeled between the two teams. The Riveters, however, were still searching for their first goal as the clock began to run out. With ten minutes left in the game, they were still down 3-0.
A chaotic few minutes began when Kelly Babstock scored on a 5-on-3 advantage with 9:21 left in regulation. Kendall Cornine put a bouncing puck in on the second power play, closing the gap to one. The puck came off Cornine's stick oddly, flew up in the air and found its way in behind Jenna Brenneman.
Lucky for Minnesota, those goals were all the Riveters could muster. The Whitecaps would add two of their own power-play tallies, at the hands of Curtis and Audra Morrison, in the last 4:05 to solidify the victory.
Ashleigh Brykaliuk had four points, all assists, in the win. Brenneman recorded 29 saves.
The Riveters got off to a better start on Sunday en route to an eventual 7-4 win. They scored two goals in a span of 4:18 to take an early lead less than halfway into the opening frame. Rebecca Russo tallied the opening goal, while Theresa capitalized minutes later.
To their credit, Minnesota didn't back down and scored three goals in the second half of the first period. Thunstrom rushed to the net and scored on the short side to break the game open; Haley Mack quickly tied the game, beating Brooke Wolejko in the top corner. Audra Morrison put Minnesota in the lead later in the period, picking up a pass from Mack and throwing it on the net from the far right of Wolejko, near the outside of the faceoff circle.
Just when it appeared that Minnesota had all the momentum, the game calmed down. The Riveters appeared to score with 1:07 left in the opening frame, but a lengthy video review reversed the call on the ice, presumably due to goaltender interference.
Captain Madison Packer tied the game midway through the second period, and the teams remained locked at three through the next 18 minutes of action. From there, the Riveters took charge.
Knutson scored her second goal of the weekend on the power play with under 12 minutes left in regulation. Babstock added her own power-play marker six minutes and change later, before Knutson made it 6-3. Brykaliuk would get Minnesota a little bit closer with a goal of her own, but the Riveters maintained the lead. Packer scored her second of the game with an empty-netter in the final two minutes of play.
Wolejko had 40 saves in the win. For Minnesota, Julie Friend stopped 30 of 36 shots faced in her first Whitecaps game action.
News & Notes
- PHF commissioner Ty Tumminia will step down from her position at season's end, as she has asked the Board of Governors not to renew her contract for "personal reasons." Also reportedly departing, but not official yet: deputy commissioner Lisa Haley; Katie Gardner, vice president of business strategy & marketing, and Tim McGhee, who leads partnerships & sponsorships.
- Jack Brodt, Whitecaps co-founder, is working to find local ownership for the team, according to Minnesota Post's Patrick Borzi. The team is currently owned by NLTT Ventures.
- The PHF has announced expanded roster limits (26 contracts, from 25) and gameday rosters (18 skaters, from 17). Teams are also now allowed to sign up to two players "from other professional leagues" and spend an additional $10,000 on salaries above the existing $300,000 cap for the current season. Historically, such new policies aren't put in place unless they're going to be taken advantage of – meaning it's likely at least one team has a player they're looking to add here. The league will also implement a roster freeze ahead of playoffs on March 14.
- Toronto Six (11-2-1, 34 points)
- Connecticut Whale (10-3-1, 31 points)
- Boston Pride (7-5-0, 18 points)
- Metropolitan Riveters (5-8-1, 16 points)
- Minnesota Whitecaps (5-10-1, 16 points)
- Buffalo Beauts (4-10-0, 11 points)
The Riveters host the Six for a pair of games (Saturday and Sunday, 2:00 PM Eastern). Elsewhere, the Boston Pride finally return to action, hosting the Beauts on Saturday at 7:00 PM and Sunday at 1:00 PM Eastern.
(Photo: Mike Hetzel/Buffalo Beauts)