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Connecticut snaps 9-game winless string with victory over Buffalo

Connecticut’s Haley Skarupa had a goal in Sunday’s win over Buffalo and has scored a point in the Whale’s last six games.

BUFFALO, Feb. 26 –Kelli Stack scored with 5:09 left in regulation to give the Whale an insurance goal and help Connecticut snap a franchise-record nine game losing streak with a 4-2 win over Buffalo Sunday in National Women’s Hockey League action. It was Stack’s tenth goal of the season, which is tied for second in the league.

The Whale (5-11-1) led from the start and did well on special teams. Connecticut had a power play goal from Nicole Kosta in the second period and a shorthanded goal from Nicole Connery that gave the Whale the lead in the first period.

Haley Skarupa scored her team-leading 11th goal to give Connecticut a 2-0 lead in the first period off assists from Shannon Doyle and Cydney Roseler. Skarupa and Boston’s Meghan Duggan lead the NWHL with 11 goals each. Skarupa has scored in the last six games for Connecticut (6 goals, 5 assists).

Connecticut goalie Shenae Lundberg made 23 saves in goal to earn her second win of the season.

The win kept alive Connecticut’s bid to finish third and avoid playing undefeated Boston in the one-game Isobel Cup semifinal on March 16. Buffalo needs to lose to Boston this weekend in regulation and the Whale need to beat Buffalo, also in regulation, at home in North Branford on Sunday, March 12 to move up third place and face the New York Riveters.

Connecticut 4, Buffalo 2
At Buffalo
Connecticut (5-11-1)                   1  1  2  — 4
Buffalo (5-9-1)                             0  1  1  — 2
First period
Connecticut 1, Nicole Connery (Meghan Huertas), 12:53 (sh); Penalties: Anya Battaglino (CT), tripping, 11:21
Second period
Buffalo 1, Megan Bozek (Corinne Buie), 7:35 (pp); Connecticut 2, Haley Skarupa (Shannon Doyle, Cydney Roseler) 10:44; Harrison Browne (Buff), tripping, 15:23; Kelly Babstock (CT), body checking, 17:36; Penalties – Babstock (CT) tripping, 5:39
Third period
Connecticut 3, Nicole Kosta (Sam Faber), 9:18 (pp); Buffalo 2, Emily Janiga (Megan Bozek), 15:26; Connecticut 4, Kelli Stack (Shannon Doyle, Meghan Huertas), 15:51; Penalties: Battaglino (CT) interference, 4:45; Devon Skeats (Buff) tripping, 8:13
Power play: Buffalo 1-for-4, Connecticut 1-2
Goalies: Buffalo — Brianne McLaughlin (W), 37 shots, 33 saves; Connecticut – Shenae Lundberg (W 2-5) 25 shots, 23 saves
Shots – Connecticut 37 (9-12-16), Buffalo 25 (11-7-7)

NWHL standings

x-Boston 14-0 28 60 22
New York 7-6-3 17 49 52
Buffalo 5-9-1 11 39 58
Connecticut 5-11-1 11 57 73

Friday’s result
Boston 5, Connecticut 4
Sunday’s game
Connecticut 4, Buffalo 2

Saturday, March 4
New York at Boston, 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 5
Buffalo at Boston, 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 12
Buffalo at Connecticut, 3 p.m.
Sunday, March 13
Boston at New York, 4 p.m.
Regular season complete

Isobel Cup playoffs
Thursday, March 16
Fourth seed at Boston, 7
Friday, March 17
Third seed at New York, 7
Sunday, March 19
At Tsongas Center, Lowell, MA, 6 p.m.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years.

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