The Buffalo Beauts erased each of their first two deficits of the season, but the undefeated Minnesota Whitecaps ultimately prevailed 3-2 in the first half of a back-to-back series between the teams at a sold-out TRIA Rink on Saturday.
The first period brought an end to the Beauts' two-game shutout streak, as the Whitecaps burst out to a quick start, recording eight of the game's first nine shots. Minnesota's Katie McGovern beat Shannon Szabados, making her second start of the season for Buffalo, with the Minnesota's eighth shot at the 5:38 mark to take a 1-0 lead.
The Beauts settled in after the Minnesota goal, outshooting the Whitecaps 9-4 for the rest of the period, but former Beauts goaltender Amanda Leveille withstood the Beauts' efforts to take the Whitecaps' lead into the first intermission.
Buffalo got the better of the middle frame, more than doubling the Whitecaps with a 17-6 shot edge, and the offensive push paid off. Maddie Elia crashed the net to score her fourth goal of the season, keeping pace with McGovern and Minnesota forward Jonna Curtis for the league lead. Hayley Scamurra made the pass that set up the goal, maintaining the team lead with her seventh point of the season (3 goals, 4 assists).
The teams entered the third period tied at one, but Minnesota regained their lead less than four minutes into the period, as Kate Schipper capitalized on a 2-on-1 break. The Beauts answered less than two minutes later with a goal from Taylor Accursi, who got her first tally of the season to set up a tightly contested finish to the game.
Despite a huge effort from the Beauts defense, Curtis scored her fourth goal of the season to give the Whitecaps a lead they wouldn't relinquish for the rest of the game.
•For the second time in two days, the Minnesota Whitecaps defeated the Buffalo Beauts in a one-goal contest at TRIA Rink in Minnesota on Sunday. After losing 3-2 on Saturday night, the Beauts fell to the Whitecaps by a score of 2-1 to fall to 2-2-0 on the season.
Kate Schipper opened the scoring early for Minnesota, as the former Minnesota Golden Gopher snuck a shot between Shannon Szabados' left pad and the goal post just 19 seconds into the game to give the Whitecaps a 1-0 lead.
After the goal, most of the play in the first period was back and forth with both the Beauts and Whitecaps getting a number of good opportunities to score.
After a few solid Buffalo chances failed to produce a goal, the Beauts were given a prime chance to even the score with about five and half minutes remaining in the period. Whitecaps goaltender Amanda Leveille stopped a shot that bounced in the air and fell in the crease. Minnesota's Haylea Schmid covered the puck with her hand in the midst of a scramble in front of the net, giving Buffalo a penalty shot.
Minnesota native Dani Cameranesi capitalized on the penalty shot for the Beauts, beating Leveille with a low, hard snap shot to tie the game at 1-1.
The second period was much like the first; each team traded scoring chances and both goalies made their fair share of big saves. The Whitecaps outshot the Beauts 16-8 in the period, but neither team was able to tally a goal in the second period.
The Beauts had a chance to take the lead early in the third period when they were given a power play after Emma Stauber received a penalty for elbowing, but failed to capitalize.
Less than two minutes after the Whitecaps killed off the penalty, Amy Menke gave the Whitecaps a 2-1 lead by burying a backdoor pass from Kendall Schofield past Szabados on a 2-on-1 rush.
Menke's second goal of the season would be the deciding factor in the game as Leveille fought off every shot the Beauts put on net in the third period. With an extra skater, the Beauts kept the puck in the offensive zone for the final 60 seconds and peppered the net with chances. However, Leveille came up with the save of the game after sliding across the crease to stop a backdoor shot from going in with 5.5 seconds left to complete the weekend sweep.
The Beauts will be back in action on Saturday, Nov. 1,7 when they head to Boston to take on the Pride at Warrior Ice Arena.