Buffalo holds off late surge to hand Whale 3-2 loss in season 3 opener

Goalie Sydney Rossman stopped 34 shots in her Whale debut.

STAMFORD, Oct. 28 – The Connecticut Whale scored twice in 10 seconds in the third period but couldn’t overcome a three-goal deficit as the defending National Women’s Hockey League champion Buffalo Beauts opened the season with a 3-2 win over Whale at Terry Connors Rink Saturday.

It was the season-opening contest for both teams in the new home for the Whale, who played in North Branford last season. It was the first opening day win for Buffalo in the league’s three-year history.

Buffalo (1-0) took a 3-0 lead in the third period on goals from Taylor Accursi, Sarah Shureb and Hayley Scamurra. The Whale scored twice in 10 seconds in the third period to cut the lead to one goal, 3-2.

Grace Klienbach put the Whale on the board off assists from Kelly Babstock and Emily Fluke with 8:31 remaining in the game. Ten seconds later, Sam Faber got her first goal of the season with assists from Shannon Doyle and Jamie Goldsmith.

But Buffalo goalie Amanda Leveille was able to make 20 saves in net to secure the win. Connecticut goalie Sydney Rossman, the rookie from Quinnipiac, stopped 34 shots in her professional debut to take the loss.

Buffalo outshot Connecticut in each period and by a 37-22 margin in the contest. The Whale committed nine penalties but played well on the power play – allowing just one goal in nine attempts, killing off eight penalties.

Buffalo 3, Connecticut 2
At Stamford
Buffalo (1-0)                       1  1  1  — 3

Connecticut (0-1)               0  0  2  — 2
First period
Buffalo 1, Taylor Accursi (Sarah Casorso, Maddie Elia), 16:53 (pp); Penalties – Kelly Babstock (CT) interference, 2:06; Emily Fluke (CT), hooking, 10:07; Taylor Accursi (Bu) hooking, 14:34; Jamie Goldsmith (CT) holding, 15:10; Hayley Scamurra (Bu) holding, 19:38

Second period
Buffalo 2, Sarah Shureb (Kaylyn Schroka, Sarah Casorso), 12:07; Penalties – Babstock (CT) interference, 3:07; Anya Battaglino (CT), holding, 8:56; Accursi (Bu), cross checking 9:32; Rachael Ade (CT), tripping, 9:58; Sam Faber (CT), hooking, 18:04

Third period
Buffalo 3, Hayley Scamurra (Accursi, Elia), 5:54; Connecticut 1, Grace Klienbach (Kelly Babstock, Emily Fluke), 12:29; Connecticut 2, Sam Faber (Jamie Goldsmith, Shannon Doyle), 12:39; Penalties – Cydney Roesler (CT), slashing, 14:54

Shots — Buffalo 37 (10-13-14), Connecticut 22 (5-9-8)
Power plays —  Buffalo 1-8, Connecticut 0-3
Goalies: Connecticut — Sydney Rossman (L, 0-1), 37 shots, 34 saves; Buffalo — Amanda Leveille (W, 1-0), 22 shots, 20 saves

2017-18 NWHL standings

W L OTL Pts. GF GA
Metropolitan 1 0 0 2 4 1
Buffalo 1 0 0 2 3 2
Boston 0 1 0 0 1 4
Connecticut 0 1 0 0 2 3

Saturday’s results
Metropolitan 4, Boston 1
Buffalo 3, Connecticut 2

Saturday, November 4
Connecticut at Boston, 7:30 p.m.
Metropolitan at Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.

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